Frameworks… What do they mean?

It has been part of supplying to the NHS for years and years… So why has no one still managed to get it right?

Why are there frameworks in place?

The main point of a Framework is supposed to be to ensure that costs of buying are kept as low as possible and so that agencies supplying staff are audited to ensure locum compliance is in place.

The false sense of security:

Trusts are promised that if they use a framework agency, all the locum staff they get will be fully compliant to NHS standards and they will be covered for clinical negligence claims. They then make it Trust policy to only use framework agencies…

The reality:

A trust or any NHS body cannot assume that the relevant pre-employment checks have been carried out by an agency whether they are framework or not.


Direct from NHS Websites:

Who is responsible for pre-employment checks when using agencies?

Pre-employment checks may be undertaken by an agency, however the ultimate responsibility remains with the employing NHS organisation.

Another reason why the framework is and was never going to work:

To tender to be part of, for example, the GPS (now crown) framework, we, as an agency had to complete a massive tender document. One of the key points was that you had to be able to supply every single staffing type across every single part of the UK. It clearly states on the tender that if you cannot supply to a field you will be automatically rejected from the frameworks tender process.

Result: A load of agencies being awarded to supply specialist staff that they have no way of being able to supply, and do not even have registered with them. So, the result, framework agencies who can’t fill a bath or agencies who are only able to cater to the generic areas, leaving the specialist area needs drowning.


Departments cannot get the specialist staff they need and seek it from non framework agencies to avoid patient safety issues, and then are held over the barrel and pay through their teeth for the staff, while the actual staff going to the hospital are probably not getting much more than they normally would.

Way around this mess?

It would be far better for Trusts to sign an individual SLA agreements. For example, with us, we can provide all the required pre employment checks for staff at the point of booking.

  • criminal record checks
  • verification of identity checks
  • right to work checks
  • professional registration and qualification checks
  • employment history and reference checks
  • occupational health checks.

This is not an AGENCY SHEET with a load of info scribbled on. We can provide you with copies of the actual documents.

  • We charge a fair and competitive price with transparent commissions
  • We supply specialist staff that can do the job