APSCo responds to launch of Government tool to match schools with recruiters.

Warning against 'race to the bottom'.

The Government Department for Education has launched a new online tool to help schools to avoid recruitment firms that charge ‘excessive’ fees. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has voiced support for greater transparency around supply teacher recruitment – but warned that a race to the bottom in terms of rates has the potential to impact standards.

Talent providers which are searchable through the new portal were awarded positions on the Crown Commercial Service framework for Supply Teachers and Temporary Staff in Educational Establishments in August 2018. APSCo’s Compliance+ for Education accreditation is one of just three industry standard certificates to be recognised by the framework.

“Schools are often reliant on supply teachers amid the ongoing staffing crisis in education,” Samantha Hurley, director of operations at APSCo, noted. “However, there is often a misconception that the fees that professional recruitment firms charge for sourcing, attracting and vetting candidates in this talent-short and highly-regulated sector are disproportionate – which in the majority of cases, simply isn’t true.

“The launch of this new tool is reflective of a wider trend towards improving transparency and quality standards within education recruitment, which APSCo wholeheartedly supports,” she continues, “However, it is crucial that moves such as this do not create a climate where the sector becomes too commoditised – and standards and safeguarding are impacted as a result – as we have previously witnessed in social work recruitment.

“In terms of fees, hiring managers will be able to compare breakdowns of overheads, management charges and margins so that they can be better informed when choosing a recruitment partner,” added Hurley. “However, most importantly, end user clients can be assured that the recruiters they source through the tool have been audited by an accredited industry body, and that they uphold the highest standards with regards to compliance and safeguarding.”

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