A framework on non-clinical staffing
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The framework, which is part of the NHS Workforce Alliance, runs from 25th April 2023 to 24th April 2027 and is available for all public and third sector organisations.

These include NHS contracting authorities, central and local government, universities, charities and emergency services.

Organisations can hire a variety of quality non-clinical workers through a range of engagement types including fixed-term, temporary positions and contractors across the UK.

The roles include, but are not limited to administration and secretarial, finance, accounts and audit, IT technicians, analysts and technical engineer specialists, digital workers and lawyers. Environmental and scientific roles, caterers, drivers and security, estates and maintenance roles are also included.

Organisations have the option to hire the roles they need directly from a supplier as and when they need to or they can set up a managed service.

If they set up a managed service (MS), the MS provider will manage all workforce needs by either filling roles directly or through their supply chain. You can also arrange for suppliers to manage projects on your behalf, and take responsibility for providing your desired outcomes through output-based delivery.


The framework offers several benefits. Firstly, it uses an NHS England approved route to market for non-clinical temporary staffing.

A wide range of experienced suppliers are included in the framework, such as Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), specialist niche suppliers and managed solution options.

Maximum agreement rates are also fixed and are also limited in line with the NHS England agency price caps.

Additionally, you can achieve larger savings using the built-in discounts (you can access discounts for length of placement, by nominating a worker, or by hiring large volumes of workers at the same time).

There are also transparent rates and costs for both pay-as-you-earn systems and limited company temporary workers, including fixed-term appointments.

The CCS said they carry out quality assurance audits to make sure worker pre-employment checks for NHS roles follow the NHS Employers Check Standards and Skills for Health policy.

Non-NHS contracting authorities can specify what pre-employment checks they need: for example, Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS).  

How to buy 

Direct award is available and supported by the NHS Workforce Alliance to enable quick access to workers when needed, as well as a range of tools to help you select suppliers including rate card, and an award support tool.

The framework is also free to use, so organisations don’t need a membership and framework fees are collected straight from suppliers.

Additionally, suppliers under Lot 7 of this agreement have agreed to comply with the Procurement Policy Note 06/21 entitled ‘Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts’.

The policy sets out how to take account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major central government contracts.

If a supplier has published a carbon reduction plan, you can find it on their individual supplier details page.

All 208 suppliers have agreed to follow this same policy.

Organisations can procure the services on the framework through a variety of avenues. 

For those hiring single or small groups of workers, you should direct award if it is clear from the contract documents that there is one supplier who can meet your needs and provide you with the best value for money.

Direct award contracts occur when a contract is awarded to a contractor without a competition, or where there is a material change to an existing contract.

Requirements need to be fully covered by the framework specification.

Use the lot descriptions and the Rate Card and Award Support Tool to identify suitable suppliers.

The CCS’s tool will help match the types of staff needed to the suppliers offering them. Organisations can then rank the suppliers according to their offers and value for money.

If you would like to use their tool, email the CCS for a copy.

Another way to buy is to use further competition.

This is a procurement process in which suppliers on a framework produce a tender that outlines how they can meet the customer’s needs.

The CCS said they do not recommend this route for single or small groups of workers. Suppliers may choose to not take part in competitions for smaller requirements. 

The NHS Workforce Alliance can help customers to work out their requirements and best route to market.

To run a further competition you will need to identify which suppliers can meet your needs, invite all capable suppliers to bid and send E F further competition documents to all capable suppliers.

When completing the latter step, organisations must leave enough time for suppliers to return their tenders.

Once this is complete, you can then evaluate the returned tenders against the award criteria, and adjust their evaluation plan and weightings within the range limits.

You can then award to the supplier who can provide the best value for money (the supplier with the highest score).

If the supplier is unable to meet the organisation’s needs, you should award the supplier with the next highest score, and so on, until your needs are met.

The final way to buy the services on the framework is a rate card. There are two versions of the rate card for customers. One is for NHS customers and includes the NHS England price caps, and the other is for the rest of the public sector to use. 

Organisations can enter the worker pay rate and the rate card will calculate the full charge for whichever supplier is selected. It will also include all costs for hiring a temporary worker using this agreement.

The rate cards will also provide information on costs for hiring a fixed term worker and costs for transfer fees where applicable.

The CCS has included an award support tool which will help find suppliers who can provide different roles in different regions.

NHS staffing

This framework comes during calls for urgent action to improve staffing levels across the NHS.

According to The King’s Fund, the NHS in England currently employs around 1.4 million people (on a headcount basis, counting each individual member of staff) and 1.3 million on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis.

These figures include staff in ambulance, community, mental health and hospital services, as well as those in commissioning roles and central bodies like NHS England, making it the largest employer in England.

Vacancies remain a big concern, with an estimated 112,000 posts currently unfilled substantively. 

Although the NHS workforce has been growing, demand for NHS services has been growing faster, and the health service hasn’t been able to recruit and retain enough staff to keep up. 

Although some substantive posts are filled temporarily by bank and agency staff, this can be costly to the NHS.