Using a recruitment agency means we can get workers quickly and find people with particular skills or qualifications, and it can be a simpler process too.

Before recruiting an agency worker you will need to get approval from your Corporate Director using the Recruitment Approval Form before any agency recruitment activity starts.

Corporate Director approval is also required where an agency or interim assignment is to be extended past the scheduled end date.

When to recruit via an agency

Recruitment agencies already have many workers on their books, so it’s generally much quicker to find the right person and the process can be simpler. It’s also easier to find someone with very specific skills.

Here are some situations when it may make sense to use a recruitment agency:

  • When you need to fill a position for only few weeks or months
  • When you need to find someone with unusual skills, for example a translator
  • When you urgently need to fill a position

We use an agency called Pertemps for all our agency recruitment. They act as a one stop shop and co-ordinate the supply of agency workers through a number of other specialist agencies carrying specialist safeguarding checks and references, and there’s no need to raise a limit or purchase order for a new recruit, all of which saves time.

How to recruit an agency worker

  • Make sure you have the agreement of your Corporate Director
  • Ensure the job has been assigned a Buckinghamshire Council grade through job evaluation
  • Submit a vacancy approval form in SAP with a summary of the role.
  • Pertemps will contact you to discuss the role and start looking for candidates.
  • Once CVs start arriving, give Pertemps your feedback within 48 hours.
  • After an interview, give Pertemps your feedback within 24 hours.
  • Once you’ve chosen the individual, fill in a new starter form in SAP.
  • After the person starts, you’ll need to approve timesheets and any expenses each week. Make sure you check their hours carefully.

If the worker is expensive

More senior people and those with specialist skills will be more expensive than typical agency workers. If the daily rate is more than £350 they’re considered a High Cost Interim, and you’ll need to talk to your HR Business Partner or the Head of Recruiting to get approval and submit a High Cost Interim Business Case. High Cost Interim Business Case.

Deciding on IR35 status

Recent changes to tax rules mean that if someone on a temporary contract is working as if they were an permanent employee, they need to pay the same tax as a permanent employee. This is called being inside IR35.

It’s the council’s responsibility to decide if someone is inside or outside IR35, and we can get fined if we make the wrong decision. The majority of contracted workers bought in to Buckinghamshire Council will be deemed to be inside IR35. Particularly if they are filling an existing role within your team or have line management responsibilities.

If you’re recruiting an agency worker, you’ll need to make this decision, but you can get guidance from the HMRC website.

How to decide IR35 status

  1. Fill in the IR35 Programme of Works form.
  2. Fill in HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) – you’ll then be told if the worker is inside or outside IR35.
  3. Send these two documents to resourcing@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

If you decide the worker is outside IR35

  • Fill in an ‘Access to the network for non-BC staff that do not require SAP access’ form via the Service Desk Portal
  • Arrange equipment and access for the new worker on the same page on the portal.
  • Contact your business support to request that the worker is set up as direct vendor.

You’ll need to tell the worker the decision regarding IR35. If they dispute it, they will need to discuss it directly with HMRC.

How to treat an agency worker

Once agency workers have been here for 12 weeks, they’re entitled to the same basic employment and working conditions as anyone else. This includes things like annual leave and rest breaks.

They should also be set objectives and they will also get a pay review each year. Pertemps will contact you about this. Interims and Specialist Contractors are a bit different. They will have key deliverables and their pay rates will be agreed as part of their individual contracts.

Useful contacts

If you have any questions about a Pertemps contract, please contact Lorna Fisher via Lorna.Fisher@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or 01296 387857