Schools looking to take on supply teachers and agency workers can now find out how much different suppliers charge for their services.

A new online tool launched by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) allows users to find and hire a worker using an agency, hire a specific nominated worker, and identify a managed service provider to handle all their temporary staff needs.

Significantly, users will be able to see the rates that suppliers charge and a breakdown of the costs.

The aim, according to Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, is to help schools avoid paying higher agency fees than they need to. In order to be included in the database, agencies must provide details of their costs, he explained, so that schools can compare prices.

All agencies participating in the scheme are approved by the Department for Education (DfE) which says that it conducts rigorous background checks on staff.

The DfE is concerned that in 2016/17 schools in England spent £825 million with supply agencies. They are also spending some £75 million each year on advertising vacancies — another issue that the DfE is tackling, in this case by enabling potential applicants to identify teaching jobs through another online resource.

Announcing the fee-checking service which is available through the CCS website, Mr Hinds said that he wants to help schools use their resources as effectively as possible.

“There will always be a role for supply teachers within schools, but schools shouldn’t be ripped off when trying to recruit them,” he commented.

As one example, by finding a new supply agency, Merseyside-based Rainhill High School claims to have saved £2500 in three months — something the academy attributes in part to using the new online service.

Last reviewed 28 February 2019