Changing the mould will build trust in education recruitment
Once again the actions of a few teacher agencies has hit the education headlines. Just before Christmas a Times Education Supplement investigation reported allegedly “unscrupulous” agencies involved in exploitative practices including suppressing wages and pushing higher costs onto client schools. Cold calling of teachers at schools has also recently come under criticism.
Whilst the majority of teacher recruitment agencies provide a good service, filling a clear need, there is no smoke without fire. The Crown Commercial Service is working hard with the Department of Education to try and change the landscape so that agency actions better meet education client expectations. So what can recruitment agencies do to hold back the flames?
Embedding and demonstrating good practice
Ensuring that good practice and compliance are at the heart of their business culture must be the right starting point. This involves buying into the principles, establishing consistent compliant processes throughout organisations, and then delivering accordingly. Many agencies may already be doing this yet the complaints continue, meaning that perhaps the few who aren’t compliant are bringing down those that are. Logically something else is needed to help the genuine quality businesses demonstrate this quality and their credentials; relying solely on trade association membership simply hasn’t worked.
SiR has the answer
The answer is to become accredited to a recognised standard that is not conflicted and is designed with client expectations at its core. Having a flag to fly can differentiate the good from the bad, but only if the standard achieved is set and approved by industry stakeholders. The Crown Commercial Service was not wrong in recognising Standards in Recruitment (SiR) as a suitable accreditation for entry into its tendering process, not least because it breaks the old mould of trade association membership by being entirely independent. The absence of any conflict of interest leaves SiR accreditation in a unique space of its own.
Promoted by the NAHT, and recognised by TEAM, the SiR accreditation highlights genuine quality businesses, whether within the education sector or elsewhere. The result is to build trust in place of criticism.
To discuss further please call me on 0845 450 4415.
John Randall, Engagement Director, Standards in Recruitment