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Key learnings from the webinar: Demystifying Direct Engagement for the temporary staffing challenge of today

Want to find out what we learnt on our recent webinar? Keep reading to discover all the key learnings Hannah Brooks (DE Subject Matter Expert) shared. If you’d like to watch the full webinar on-demand, click the link below.

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What is the future of Direct Engagement (DE) and what does the model offer the NHS?

  • There has been a lot of discussion recently around the future of Direct Engagement for the NHS and whether it’s still a suitable way of sourcing temporary staff for NHS Trusts. Ultimately, there is a chance that HMRC could change its guidance around Direct Engagement and make all non-nursing shifts VAT exempt. However, this potential change has been in discussion for many years now and a change to the guidance has yet to be made. As guidance may never change, we recommend utilising a Direct Engagement model for as long as it’s applicable, maximising the savings your organisation can make now.
  • By employing a Direct Engagement model right now, NHS organisations have the opportunity to save up to 19% on all non-nursing agency costs.

What are the key tips for creating a successful Direct Engagement model?

Whether you are thinking of introducing a DE model at your organisation or you are a long-term user of the model, there are 6 key ways to set yourself up for success:

1. Agency Engagement: Ensure agencies receive training and are fully aware of the change in process. We also suggest setting up regular meetings with your key agencies.

2. Weekly Payroll: Help make DE more attractive to workers by offering a weekly payroll, on the same day each week.

3. Streamlined Booking Negotiation: Create a clear booking policy, including who can sign off agency bookings. Make clear rate cards and caps, per grade and specialty if possible.

4. DE Only Policy and Approval: Set a DE only policy, with clear communication of this to workers and suppliers. Set an exception approval process for any non-DE requests, which should sit with a high-level approver.

5. Knowledge Share: Make sure to share information about what DE is and why you are implementing it across your organisation. Once staff understand the full savings and management benefits, it will help with compliance.

6. Positive Experience: Ensure weekly deadlines are met such as timesheet approvals, bookings sent to agency ahead of start dates and payroll number assignments. Meeting these deadlines will help to avoid worker delays.

How to increase DE compliance

Firstly, what is ‘DE compliance’? It’s the percentage of shifts being processed compared to non-DE. We recommend a two-phase approach to boost compliance:

Phase 1: New Booking Requests – DE Only Policy

  • Agree on an external communication to be shared with all suppliers, confirming Standard Placement (SP) will no longer be accepted at your organisation.
  • Set up an SP exception approval process and questionnaire.

Phase 2: Ongoing SP Bookings Migration

  • Export data for all long-term SP workers. RLDatix will then review and provide a list of all names, agencies, start and end dates and the workers DE status at other organisations.
  • Reach out to all agencies and request detailed reasoning for SP decision. Set up review sessions with agencies, which a member of RLDatix can also attend. Request your agencies encourage workers to migrate to DE.
  • Keep track of all workers who haven’t moved to DE by a set deadline.
  • Review progress, lessons learnt and repeat any unsuccessful tasks until 90% compliance is achieved.

To get the most out of your DE model, make sure you are processing all applicable workers via DE, including Medics, AHPs and Non-Medical Non-Clinical. Below is the average savings you could make per staffing group:

How to track Direct Engagement at your organisation

1. Track your DE compliance

Keep track of the percentage of shifts being processed compared to non-DE or the percentage of total DE spend vs total non-DE spend.

Higher DE compliance = increased savings / reduction in agency spend.

2. Utilise data and reporting

Allocate StaffDirect offers several reports helping you to track DE and agency spend. The Savings Report provides an interactive view of all agency spend. You can easily see which agencies and departments hold the highest non-DE spend.

3. Invoice auditing

Regularly check with finance to validate all agency invoices. Check whether agencies have been invoicing directly for shifts that should have been processed via DE.

4. Utilise the RLDatix Customer Success team

Our Customer Success team are here to help. There are a couple of key areas we can support with to help agency management and boost compliance:

  • Data showing DE % and analysis and trends
  • Regular DE compliance support sessions
  • Help understanding Allocate StaffDirect system functionality
  • Support undertaking process reviews

Book a savings assessment

Not yet using a DE model at your organisation and want more details on how much your organisation could save? Get in touch and we can provide you with a personalised assessment.

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