• Quick Order
  • Wishlists
  • 0
    £0.00 ex VAT
Back
Menu
Close
early years essentials
Shop everything you need for your early years setting with our handpicked collection of essentials.
Shop now
early years new in
Refresh your early years settings with 100s of new and exciting early years products to choose from.
Shop now
Little Learners banner
Subscribe to Little Learners, our free early years magazine packed full of ideas and inspiration to help your setting flourish.
Subscribe now
YPO range
Switch and save with our YPO range, with hundreds of products to choose from.
Shop now
YPO cosy collection
We're excited to be working in partnership with Cosy, a renowned supplier of high quality and imaginative products. Shop the full collection!
Shop now
  • Animated image for Facilities Management Facilities Management

    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

  • Ingredients and cooking pans Food and Catering

    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

  • person working at a desk Furniture

    Helping you create inspiring spaces.

  • Computer screen and printer ICT

    Technology and communications to help you stay connected and current.

  • certificate and books Professional Services

    Supporting your people and professional services.

  • School bus Transport

    Help get your students from A to B.

  • light bulb Utilities

    Review your energy contracts to help save money.

school exercise books varied colours
Discover our complete range of exercise books.
Shop all
Blue school exercise book with ruled pages
Ruled paper exercise books for a range of subjects.
Shop ruled
Red school exercise book with squared paper
Squared paper exercise books, perfect for maths.
Shop squared
Always in stock essentials
Explore our large range of always available products and get what you need, when you need it.
Shop now
Making life easier for MATs
Explore the benefits YPO can provide to Academies and Multi Academy Trusts across the country.
Find out more
YPO range
Switch and save with our YPO range, with hundreds of products to choose from.
Shop now
YPO cosy collection
We're excited to be working in partnership with Cosy, a renowned supplier of high quality and imaginative products. Shop the full collection!
Shop now
  • Animated image for Facilities Management Facilities Management

    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

  • Ingredients and cooking pans Food and Catering

    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

  • person working at a desk Furniture

    Helping you create inspiring spaces.

  • Computer screen and printer ICT

    Technology and communications to help you stay connected and current.

  • certificate and books Professional Services

    Supporting your people and professional services.

  • School bus Transport

    Help get your students from A to B.

  • light bulb Utilities

    Review your energy contracts to help save money.

school exercise books varied colours
Discover our complete range of exercise books.
Shop all
Blue school exercise book with ruled pages
Ruled paper exercise books for a range of subjects.
Shop ruled
Red school exercise book with squared paper
Squared paper exercise books, perfect for maths.
Shop squared
Always in stock essentials
Explore our large range of always available products and get what you need, when you need it.
Shop now
Making life easier for MATs
Explore the benefits YPO can provide to Academies and Multi Academy Trusts across the country.
Find out more
YPO range
Switch and save with our YPO range, with hundreds of products to choose from.
Shop now
  • Construction worker Buildings and Construction

    Our expert team can help with building, construction, repairs and alterations. Browse our frameworks.

  • Meeting Corporate and Financial Services

    Help to increase efficiencies and provide better support to your people.

  • Energy frameworks YPO Energy

    Find ways to reduce your energy consumption with our energy team.

  • Cleaning equipment Facilities and Waste Management

    Providing safe and cost effective working environments.

  • Fleet of white vans Fleet

    Whether you're looking for fleet hire or purchase, speak to our specialist team.

  • food and catering worker cooking Food and Catering

    Ordering food and catering couldn't be simpler with our UK Food Deal.

  • food and catering worker cooking Furniture

    Create environments that are tailored to your unique needs.

  • fleet and highways worker Highways

    Providing specialist industry knowledge to help meet your needs.

  • Corporate meeting HR and People

    Our team are here to help with all of your recruitment and training.

  • Woman using technology Technology and Communication

    We can help you source cost-effective solutions with a range of frameworks.

  • Construction worker Buildings and Construction

    Our expert team can help with building, construction, repairs and alterations. Browse our frameworks.

  • Meeting Corporate and Financial Services

    Help to increase efficiencies and provide better support to your people.

  • Blue light Emergency Services

    A dedicated team set up to support you and offer tailored frameworks.

  • Energy frameworks YPO Energy

    Find ways to reduce your energy consumption with our energy team.

  • Cleaning equipment Facilities and Waste Management

    Providing safe and cost effective working environments.

  • Fleet of white vans Fleet

    Whether you're looking for fleet hire or purchase, speak to our specialist team.

  • food and catering worker cooking Food and Catering

    Ordering food and catering couldn't be simpler with our UK Food Deal.

  • food and catering worker cooking Furniture

    Create environments that are tailored to your unique needs.

  • health and social care workers Health and Social Care

    Help to support independent living by sourcing aids and equipment.

  • fleet and highways worker Highways

    Providing specialist industry knowledge to help meet your needs.

  • Corporate meeting HR and People

    Our team are here to help with all of your recruitment and training.

  • Woman using technology Technology and Communication

    We can help you source cost-effective solutions with a range of frameworks.

net zero 2023
To provide current perspective, expertise and guidance on the role of procurement in meeting net zero targets, public sector buying organisation YPO and local public sector innovation partnership iNetwork have come together again to host a series of free online webinars. Watch the series here.
Watch now
Energy hub
We know that securing energy contracts can be a complex and difficult process, but we are here to help you. Explore our Energy Hub to find help and guidance, latest updates and more.
Explore now
Price freeze
Discover prices frozen on 50 school essentials, with prices guaranteed until 2025. Get stocked up on your classroom essentials for less, and help support the NSPCC with every purchase!
Shop now
1000s of products dropped and locked until 2025
Discover 1000s of products dropped and locked until 2025! Shop now!
Shop now
New-In-Updated
Kit out your classroom and shop 100s of new products at great value prices.
Shop now
Clearance-Banner-Updated-2
Once they're gone... they're gone! Shop clearance here and save on a range of essentials.
Shop now
Banner
Make your budget go further with our collection of classpacks, and save on a range of classroom essentials.
Shop now
YPO range
Switch and save with our YPO range, with hundreds of products to choose from.
Shop now
Products
Close
Frameworks
Close
  • Construction worker Buildings and Construction

    Our expert team can help with building, construction, repairs and alterations. Browse our frameworks.

  • Meeting Corporate and Financial Services

    Help to increase efficiencies and provide better support to your people.

  • Blue light Emergency Services

    A dedicated team set up to support you and offer tailored frameworks.

  • Energy frameworks YPO Energy

    Find ways to reduce your energy consumption with our energy team.

  • Cleaning equipment Facilities and Waste Management

    Providing safe and cost effective working environments.

  • Fleet of white vans Fleet

    Whether you're looking for fleet hire or purchase, speak to our specialist team.

  • food and catering worker cooking Food and Catering

    Ordering food and catering couldn't be simpler with our UK Food Deal.

  • food and catering worker cooking Furniture

    Create environments that are tailored to your unique needs.

  • health and social care workers Health and Social Care

    Help to support independent living by sourcing aids and equipment.

  • fleet and highways worker Highways

    Providing specialist industry knowledge to help meet your needs.

  • Corporate meeting HR and People

    Our team are here to help with all of your recruitment and training.

  • Woman using technology Technology and Communication

    We can help you source cost-effective solutions with a range of frameworks.

The Local Government Association 2022 Workforce Survey revealed more than nine in ten councils are experiencing staffing issues. 71% of local authorities are struggling to recruit adult social care workers and eight in ten councils are having difficulties recruiting children’s social workers. The survey also found that 58% are struggling to recruit planning officers and more than a fifth are experiencing recruitment difficulties for HGV drivers.

Nearly half of councils which run environmental health services were having difficulties recruiting environmental health officers and 43% were having difficulties recruiting building control officers. At the same time, local authorities are also squeezed in terms of budget, so they do not have endless funds to spend on recruitment, advertising, and training new staff.

It is for this reason that more local authorities are looking for a smarter way to access the contingent workforce that they need to run their services cost effectively, efficiently and to the highest standards. Balancing recruiting employees in low supply skill areas with the need to keep costs down is challenging, but it can be achieved with the right approach and partners.

Establish and control your costs

Most local authorities have a high-level overview of their total spend on contingent workforce through financial reporting against specific budgets or cost codes. Unfortunately, without a granular-level view of how total spend is broken down across their business it makes ensuring value for money significantly harder to achieve. To get this information, local authorities need to go back-to-basics and understand the supply costs of a contingent worker. Granular aspects to look at initially include:

Benchmarking for value for money and compliance

When a local authority has this information, they should benchmark these contingent worker wages/salaries and expenses in the same way they do with permanent staff. Aligning contingent and permanent worker pay rate reviews is even more important than ever, to remain compliant with Agency Workers Regulations (AWR).

AWR aims to ensure that contingent workers are given a comparable pay rate to permanent workers carrying out the same or similar role. AWR also entitles contingent workers to have access to facilities and benefits that permanent workers have. Expenses such as travel costs, accommodation, food and subsistence can be a hidden cost not taken into account, so it’s recommended that a standardised expenses policy is implemented and enforced to prevent this from becoming a considerable additional cost.

Local authorities should regularly compare contingent worker pay rates and benefits against the local employment market. This will give them an idea of if they are getting value for money.

Smart data and forward-thinking suppliers

Position your local authority as an employer of choice to avoid paying over the odds in wages

The recent 2022 Workmonitor survey showed that the key areas employees are looking for when assessing an employer include job stability, flexibility, a good work/life balance, and alignment with their values in terms of social and environmental issues.

By working with a forward-looking contingent workforce management partner, you can ensure that you are communicating the right messages to the right candidates that support your local authority’s strengths in terms of benefits of employment, efforts in reducing environmental impact, and social initiatives carried out.

The right partner will not only get these messages out there, but they will get it in front of an audience that contains high quality, engaged candidates that will respond positively. This will help to a local authority stand out as an employer of choice, giving them an advantage over the private sector where benefits and values might not align as well, and negate the need to pay over the odds to compensate for the incorrectly perceived “disadvantage” of working in the public sector.

Data driven suppliers

Suppliers within local authority frameworks will be able to predict trends and upcoming skills requirements. Smarter use of data in this way means you aren’t relying on last-minute hires from agencies who are charging over the odds for short notice.

Smoother induction processes to implement skills faster

Even after you have candidates onboarded, long, drawn out induction periods means that in the short term – as new employees are settling in – that skills shortage still exists, even if that’s for a relatively short period of time. Even validating qualifications, compliances and references, ensuring information such as health and safety is provided, and organising payroll in advance will significantly reduce an induction period by days.

Smarter contingent workforce management means a shorter and smoother induction process, ensuring new employees are working at optimal levels as fast as possible, bridging that skills gap right away.

Understanding and maintaining supplier margins

Understanding how supplier margins are calculated will help local authority workforce leaders see what margin is being paid for each role and potentially make some quick savings with recruitment agencies that are charging more than the average with no apparent cause.

Insisting on transparency from suppliers regarding their margins as well as their approach to pricing Working Time Regulations (WTR), National Insurance (NI) and other costs will ensure that spend isn’t being unnecessarily wasted on unwarranted comparatively higher fees.

Fair negotiations to maintain good relations with suppliers

No one wants to turn a working relationship into a bazaar style bartering session, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t instances where it would be fair to negotiate a discount.

A recruitment agency’s cost of sale is standardly linked to winning new business and placing a contingent worker on a work assignment. Their pricing model will reflect that and so if there are circumstances where this is not the case – for example a contract or project is being extended, or an existing worker is just being moved to a new project – then it would be fair to ask for a rate that reflects this reduction in time spent by them, to get better value for money from your contingent workforce.

Although competition among suppliers is beneficial, it is also important that local authorities reach a ‘win-win’ situation where suppliers feel that the relationship is worthwhile. If reducing margins ends up equating to unhappy suppliers, they may not invest enough of their time in sourcing suitable candidates, which will cost more in the long run.

Easy to use check list to ensure value for money on a contingent workforce

If you’re working at a local authority where you are concerned that you’re not getting the best value for money from your contingent workforce, download this easy-to-use checklist to find out where you might save money and optimise efficiency.

 Local authorities maximising your workforce checklist

Click here to download the checklist

 

Comensura’s approach to benchmarking

Comensura uses a balanced scorecard approach and a supplier tiering (or league table) system that places downward pressure on price and upward pressure on improving quality. Benchmarking like this can be based on a number of factors linked to your contingent labour requirements, such as a supplier’s:

Comensura has supported hundreds of organisations with analysis, benchmarking, and discovery processes, either as an initial consultation process or as an objective third party. If you would like to find out more, please contact us at [email protected]

 

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Managing Temporary and Permanent Recruitment framework and how YPO can help, please get in touch with the team!

No Image Available
Author

Comensura

No Image Available
Author

Mary Nichol

Director of Sales
Comensura