Monday night’s BBC Panorama: Nursing Homes Undercover made some shock revelations about two homes in Cornwall. Reporter Janice Finch posed as a resident and secretly filmed the conditions of the home whilst another Panorama team member, Lucy, posed as a carer who had not received completed DBS check.

There’s no doubt that the images recorded were graphic, emotional and upsetting and the conditions that residents were living in were completely unacceptable. We can all take solace in the fact that the company had decided to close one of the featured homes down, with residents moved to more suitable accommodation.


Our Talent Director, Dave Beesley,  was especially moved by this episode but not for the reason you might think. I asked him about his take on BBC Panorama Episode.

BBC panorama care homes

Dave Beesley, Talent Director:

“It is a shame that more often than not we hear about the extremes, the bad and the ugly in the social care sector. There are plenty of exceptional providers and care workers that rarely take to the spotlight.

The programme exposed staff that who weren’t caring and examples of new starters working without DBS checks and references in place.  “At Cohesion, we have a precise recruitment and onboarding process. Carers with the right values are hired, and where we manage pre-employment for our clients, our rigorous process means that candidates only start when they are DBS compliant and their references have been fully checked.

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There are so many examples of exceptional care that I really wish we’d hear more about in the media. In fact, if you have a look at the CQC Map of Care Home Ratingsyou can see that most Care Homes in the UK are rated “Good.”

As of November 10th 2016, CQC had rated 19,010 active adult social care – over 14,000 were good or outstanding but nearly 5,000 required improvement or were deemed inadequate. Who’s to blame for this – the organisation? The CQC? The councils who commission the service? I’d argue all have a responsibility, especially if we’re ever going to change the perception of working in care as it currently stands.

I am hopeful that we can continue to paint a positive picture of working in care for those who are thinking of joining.  My message  is simple – don’t be put off by the horror stories.  On the whole, we have a fantastic health and social care system and if care is your calling, you will thrive!”

So what do you think? Without doubt, the social care sector needs reform but we also shouldn’t forget about some of the great social care providers we have in the UK.



The world is still reeling from the news of Donald Trump becoming President of The United States. Me? I’m still busy laughing at this meme. It’s especially funny for recruiters. You know when you have clearly stated 2-5 years’ experience in your advert but somebody with 0 years will just apply anyway?

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Well, this got me thinking about the values based recruitment model that we implement for some of our social care accounts. In a sector that’s difficult to recruit for, we noticed that stating ‘previous experience necessary’ in our advertisements could be restrictive. Some roles require genuine passion for looking after people and making a difference to other peoples’ lives and it’s these values that we look for. Foregoing the previous experience requirement has meant that we can now access a wider talent pool, and we’ve seen some great results.

What has values based recruitment got to do with the Presidential election?

Despite my political leanings, it’s still interesting to consider why Donald Trump, with no experience whatsoever, was preferred to Hilary Clinton.  The outcome indicates that the American people voted on values as opposed to relevant experience. All we can now assume is that they saw values in him that they thought would make him a good President – whatever they might be. I know first-hand that values-based recruitment works for us, but I can’t pretend to know if this implementation will have the same results.

So whilst Trump doesn’t have the qualities that we would look for in a Carer, the question I’m trying to get at really is – did the American people ‘values-based recruit’ Donald Trump? Lee mentioned in his post that the values-based recruitment model should be adopted elsewhere, but I’m not entirely sure this is what he meant!

In a previous blog, we talked about what a Neutral Vendor Managed Service model is. Now you know what it is – you need to know why it’s so good.

The way a Neutral Vendor is delivered can vary between providers. However, the variance comes in the process – not in the benefits. It’s a well-known fact that using a Neutral Vendor Managed Service provider, instead of agencies, will reduce your costs.

Download our eBook to find out how to manage your temporary workforce to ensure maximum productivity!

So, I’m going to discuss some of the other, lesser-known benefits:

Always receive the best candidates

In the previous blog, we discussed the differences between each Managed Service model. One of the key benefits of a Neutral Vendor Managed Service model is that it creates a healthy competition between all agencies involved.

As a result, all agencies will put their best candidates forward because they know that they aren’t guaranteed to have theirs chosen.

Reduce your risk

Every supplier working under a Neutral Vendor Managed Service model should be signed to consistent service levels, and submit to regular audits to ensure they’re meeting the necessary compliance standards.

You should never be at risk of receiving temporary staff from a supplier who doesn’t meet the compliance standards.

Solutions made-to-order

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for temporary staffing. Different companies will have different goals, different workflows, and different volumes of temporary staff that they require.

Your Neutral Vendor Managed Service provider should analyse all of the above, and design your solution to fit exactly what you need. Not only this, but your solution should be completely transparent to you – you should know exactly what’s going on, every step of the way.

Consistent procurement

You should never be in a situation where you need temporary staff, and don’t receive them. Because a Neutral Vendor Managed Service goes out to market to a number of different agencies, there should always be ample opportunity to source suitable candidates.

This takes the pressure off of your permanent staff, because they won’t have to work excessive hours. This also contributes to morale and work ethic.

There are a number of benefits associated with a Neutral Vendor Managed Service model, on top of the massive cost-savings. These should all be taken into consideration when you’re deciding how it would be best to deal with your temporary staffing needs.

Take a look at the solutions we’ve provided for some of our clients:


Managed Services is a concept that was implemented in temporary recruitment over 15 years ago, in the form of a Master Vendor model.

A Master Vendor model meant that one single recruitment agency was the provider of all temporary members of staff. Since then, Managed Services has adapted to the changes in the market and temporary solutions – a Neutral Vendor Managed Service model being one of its adaptations.

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So, what is a Neutral Vendor Managed Service?

A Neutral Vendor is just that – a neutral, unbiased provider of temporary staff.

Let me put this into the context of Cohesion’s Neutral Vendor model:

A client would come to us with their temporary roles. Utilising our own Preferred Suppliers List (PSL), and also integrating any local or trusted agencies you are keen to use, they are thoroughly audited to ensure they comply with all rules and regulations. Once we have spoken with the hiring manager and identified the requirements for the temporary position, we would notify all agencies on our PSL of the vacancies, and each would put their best candidates forward. We then screen the profile of each candidate, and ensure the most relevant candidates are passed to the manager.

When you work with a Neutral Vendor Managed Services Provider, you are also working with all of the best agencies with the highest quality candidates, without having to commit too much time.

Why is a Neutral Vendor Managed Service useful?

First and foremost, you will always receive the best candidates possible. As a Neutral Vendor model raises the vacancies with a number of agencies, they’re in indirect competition with one another to fill as many of the vacancies as possible with their candidates. This means that they will only send their strongest candidates available.

Secondly, we will ensure that all agencies and agency staff are fully compliant with all temporary worker legislation. As part of a Neutral Vendor Managed Service, audits of agency suppliers will be carried out regularly. All agencies who don’t pass the audit would be suspended until they become fully compliant. We also ensure that all candidates are compliant with Agency Worker Regulations (AWR).

The Neutral Vendor Managed Services team is a single point of contact for you. We will be in direct contact with the agencies on your behalf, freeing up the managers time to focus on their day to day job and not have to listen to agencies selling their candidates and services.

Once the role has been raised, the candidates will be screened and passed to the hiring manager. All they would need to do is confirm who they would like to see and when. Once the interviews have been completed, the team will then submit any feedback to the agencies, including any offers.

Finally, you would have access to a fully-integrated online system. This should record all temporary vacancies to allow full visibility of all temporary workers within the business, including the financial implications. You should never be kept in the dark, or unaware of your current situation.

Are there any other Managed Services models?

Besides the Neutral Vendor and Master models, there is also the Tiered model.

The Tiered model is used more often by agencies as opposed to by RPO’s. For example:

A client would raise all of their roles with one agency. This agency would then fill as many of the roles as they could with their own candidates, regardless of quality. If they are unable to fill the position themselves, they will then reach out to other agencies to fill the small amount of roles that are left.

This model is often used at the detriment of candidate quality and also can cause delays in filling urgent roles.

So, a NVMS Provider would speak to ALL agencies to source our candidates?

Given the fact that there are hundreds of agencies – we don’t speak to every single one. We decide, based upon your requirements, which ones will be able to provide you with the highest-quality temporary workers, or any agencies you may favour.

For example:

  • Spectrum Housing, a niche housing group, require candidates with specific skills and capabilities. As a result, we use around 10 agencies to supply their candidates.
  • Fremantle Trust, a much larger Social Care organisation, require a greater range of candidates. As a result, we use around 30 agencies to source and supply their temporary staff.

To conclude – a Neutral Vendor Managed Service is an unbiased, neutral provider of your temporary workforce. By using such a service, you will have access to the best candidates from each agency, without having to contact them yourselves. You can save yourself time and money, whilst being confident in your temporary staff.

It won’t be long before the new Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect in April 2017.

For affected businesses, this is a great opportunity to tackle looming talent challenges such as skills shortages in key industries.

The Government want to see 3,000,000 Apprenticeship starters by 2020. So, the big question – are you ready? 

If you feel as though you’re going to be affected, you need to get on with your planning. Everyone will receive the call for contribution, so you may as well get something out of it.

Download our eBook on how to run the best Recruitment Campaign, ever!

Do you know what you need? If you don’t – here are a few considerations from Cohesion.

  1. Skills Gaps

Do you know where your skills gaps are? Do you know where an ageing workforce may cause you problems? What types of skills will you need in the near future? Are these skills currently covered by the apprenticeship framework? All of the above are relevant, important questions that you should be deliberating.

Currently, the Levy only covers England. But it may also be used across group companies; so, think about your current and future Talent cold spots!

  1. Existing Talent

You can use the Levy to offer Apprenticeships to your existing workforce. It can even be used to fund Graduates who are acquiring new skills.

This is your opportunity to take a good look at your existing workforce and inject some future proofing!

Apprenticeships are due to become a legally protected term under the Enterprise Bill so that companies cannot use the Levy to pay for existing training. Investing in your existing team will also help you to retain talent, so make sure your development value proposition is easily accessible for your current employees, too.

  1. Local Profile

Working with local schools is a great way to begin to develop a Future Talent pipeline and build your business profile. 75% of career advisors say they are happy to be contacted at any point during the term by employers and more than 80% of subject teachers wish they knew more about options open to their students (**). Students and their parents want to know more about early career opportunities and how individuals can progress within the organisation offering the apprenticeship – so make sure to make information clear and easy to find.

  1. Carefully assess your Future Talent programmes

Many employers are now putting a more equal emphasis on school leaver recruitment as they are graduate recruitment. Don’t switch off existing channels but give consideration to new ones that may have different entry points and levels. UK rents are high and relocation is expensive. Entry level talent is much more likely to live at home during the early years of their career so think about local versus national pressures.

  1. Longer term market development

For businesses that need skills in their supply chain there is talk of allowing (subject to a value-for-money assessment) some funds to be directed to other employers from 2018. This could help you to tackle future barriers to success in your industry.

The Apprenticeship Levy is coming, regardless of how prepared or unprepared you, as a Company, are. The better prepared you are – the lesser the impact.

How will you prepare yourself for the Apprenticeship Levy?

* “School and College Leaver Careers Market 2016”

** “School and College Leaver Careers Market 2016”