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Finding Emergency Staff Cover


HappyMaz
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This term I have a rather large staffing problem - myself and my deputy supervisor are the only qualified members of staff in a team of six. Provided everyone remains hale and hearty I can just about manage, but I need to find a proper solution to the problem of finding suitable emergency cover for when staff are sick.

 

I have a lady on maternity leave and would ideally like to find someone who is prepared to take on a short-ish term contract to cover her until she's ready to return. At the moment I'm covering this and to be honest I'm exhausted already! xD But if I could find someone to do this for me then I would be free to do the staff cover everyday which would greatly reduce my problem.

 

A local agency that was recommended offers emergency staff but in reality you need to book at least four days in advance so I am looking for other agencies to see whether they can offer a true emergency service.

 

I am also going to email everyone I know to see if I can use up some spare capacity on their days off (or if they know of anyone looking for part-time temporary work). I shall also send details again out to my friends who are childcare tutors to see if that turns up any students who may be looking for some extra work.

 

So, dear friends: my question is have you ever used an agency for emergency supply cover (especially if you are in a sessional group) and if so, would you be able to recommend one? People such as Reed and Capita have very good websites but I would really like a good recommendation from someone who has used them and is happy with their services. Also, have you ever recruited for a longer term position through an agency? I'm wondering if that would be a better bet than re-advertising in the local paper which hasn't proved successful to date.

 

Or should I just give up the whole idea, sell up and register with one of these blessed agencies myself and earn some proper money? :o

 

Maz

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Hi Maz

 

Do you not have a staff pool where you have relief staff that are avialible when needed? Just a thought as we had one and one had a level 3 on relief when needed.

 

Hoping someone will come soon with a good answer.

 

 

Beth

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Do you not have a staff pool where you have relief staff that are avialible when needed? Just a thought as we had one and one had a level 3 on relief when needed.

Our Borough keeps talking about setting one up - but nothing has materialised yet. Perhaps I should try to set one up!

 

Maz

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Sorry but never needed to use an agency..

just lucky with enough part-time staff to cover..

but we did get response from local job centre when advertising for staff.. and local college was helpful too..

but with our younger staff we have at moment it is usually word of mouth.. not much help is it?

 

But in the past we did have an agreement with another setting and had a pool of staff for emergency use between us.. staff willing to be registered to work at both and fill in if available.. they invoiced us with the wages bill or us them... so I suppose it was a sort of staff pool..

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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we looked into this but the agencies wanted so much money per hour, we were quoted £18 per hour, which is triple what we pay a member of staff..... instead we advertised for emergency cover staff, so i do have 2 people i can call on in an emergency, they didn'twant the committment of a permanent job.... they also didn't want to do the early starts because they wanted to drop their children off at school... so this works well for us... ok they do arrive as the children arrive and leave just after the children but when you need cover we do become very flexible... good luck

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This is a real problem, isn't it? I'm not aware of any pool here in Lincolnshire, either.

 

We have a few people who are CRB checked through us and are available - in theory - for relief. In practice it often works out that tey can't do the shift at short notice. Also I often find, when I've interviewed etc as usual, that the proposed relief staff have found other jobs in the meantime! Then I feel I've wasted time, which, as we all know in early years, is at a premium.

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we looked into this but the agencies wanted so much money per hour, we were quoted £18 per hour, which is triple what we pay a member of staff.....

This is entirely another problem, simcity: I would be bankrupt in fairly short order if I had to resort to bank staff too often! I would be very interested to know how much the staff get paid out of the £18 you were quoted - probably not a great hourly rate, I shouldn't think!

 

Perhaps I should advertise the maternity cover and also some emergency bank staff at the same time. Advertising rates are so expensive: might as well get my money's worth, I suppose!

 

Thanks!

 

Maz

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Hi M - im sure you have already done this but what about CIS? Or ring Teresa ee if she knows of any students???? :o

I will update my existing ad on CIS, hali - and Teresa was on my list of people to email! Can't you pass me any of your ladies on their days off? xD

 

Maz

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Hi

Well you are asking an expert on agency staff here! Our supervisor is the only one qualified as we have been advertsing for deputy since June :o (still not got one!). Since then have been using agency staff. Originally cost £18 but negotiated down to £14 per hour xD:( :(

 

Anyway we use capita. The girl covering deputy job is ok and kids are now used to her (although she cant do meetings etc as costs too much....thats down to supervisor, myself and other unqualified assistant).

Then we have days like yesterday when Supervisor had to go on SENCO course so we had to have agency in to cover her too :( :wacko: xD . No wonder the committee have no money eh? Supervisor been on 3 of these course recently and the good thing is that we have managed to request the same lady back in each time. I am just hoping they sort this staff issue out oon

 

The agency girl who cover deputy applied for the job (this was the second time committee interviewed) but she didnt get it. The chair said she wasnt confident on policies/procedures. However she is allowed to retry when they interview next. If she gets it there is some talk that the comm would have to buy her out of the agency contract?

 

One thing I was going to ask re agency staff was about crb checks. We know they have them but last time we were OFSTED in April we had agency then (only supervisor, agency and 2 parent help in) and OFSTED were not keen on agency staff taking to toilet!! Supervisor said there was no way she could toilet, hand wash, be in the same room and never leave alone etc for 20 kids. So where does this crb specific to each setting only stuff fit in with agency staff? Do you allow agency staff to toilet?

Edited by marley
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I work for a supply agency. I get £7.00 an hour but I know they charge the nurseries in excess of £12.

 

I have always toileted children and changed nappies, except for at my friends nursery where no-one but staff can do it because she doesnt think its fair on the children to have a stranger changing them.

 

The nursery I'm currently at on long term, have had an inspection recently, the inspector told the manager she should ask to see proof of CRB's and proof of qualification, so maybe thats a new thing? I've never even been asked for ID over the last 3 years!

 

I've done day to day cover and also a few long term placements. Both have the good and bad points as far as I'm concerned!

 

The agency I'm with are small, privately owned. So I cant comment on the big ones you mentioned. They only recruit for nurseries and occassional TA positions. In 3 years I've only come across 1 person from the agency who I felt like telling them about, lazy mare she was. All the others have always been really enthusiastic and good at their jobs.

 

Do you have any small agencies near you? They might be a better bet than the big ones, although how much they'll charge is another matter.

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Your joke with hali about sending spare staff might be a kind of answer. A couple of years ago we were friendly with another setting and both of us had short staff numbers. We did plan to organise a scheme whereby we had priority for the staff we employed but on the days they weren't working they were available to work (at same rates, etc) at the other setting. Now for various reasons this never came about, but is it something you could consider?

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I've just started with an agency

 

I am mainly in schools though so get £50 per day sometimes more, or £30 for am and £20 for pm

 

I have been in three different settings and only one has asked for CRB but all have asked for ID which I guess is good practice

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Your joke with hali about sending spare staff might be a kind of answer. A couple of years ago we were friendly with another setting and both of us had short staff numbers. We did plan to organise a scheme whereby we had priority for the staff we employed but on the days they weren't working they were available to work (at same rates, etc) at the other setting. Now for various reasons this never came about, but is it something you could consider?

I think this may well be the way forward, holly35. I am missing out on a very good trip tomorrow because I can't get cover and was speaking to our training manager about it today. Perhaps someone needs to take the matter into her own hands and just set up a register of practitioners who are available to work at short notice. It would be a fairly easy database to set up - but of course would take a lot of effort to update.

 

In the meantime I just have to keep plugging away!

 

Maz

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Our pre-school is registered with our local SureStart who have run a Staff Bank but fortunately we have never had to use them. I can't remember anything about a charge either. Could this be something your local Children's Centre could develop?

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Our pre-school is registered with our local SureStart who have run a Staff Bank but fortunately we have never had to use them. I can't remember anything about a charge either. Could this be something your local Children's Centre could develop?

Now that is a good idea - none of our CCs have childcare though - but they might provide a good 'clearing house' for staff/equipment/resources etc!

 

Maz

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Now that is a good idea - none of our CCs have childcare though - but they might provide a good 'clearing house' for staff/equipment/resources etc!

 

Maz

 

Our local CC's do not have childcare either. Went to a stakeholder meeting a couple of weeks ago (took some motivation on a Monday afternoon I can tell you but they did have chocolates) which was about working in partnership with all support services.

 

Have you been invited to anything similar in your area?

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Have you been invited to anything similar in your area?

I went to a training about the Childcare Act and the Children's Centre agenda last week which was mildly interesting - we found out where our next children's centres are going to be. Feedback from the floor was that groups aren't always kept informed about what's going on in the CCs. I have to say our local CC's manager visits us from time to time with new timetables for our parents, and I volunteer at the stay and play sessions so I feel I'm very well informed. I really like the idea of a bank staff listing and I think local groups and childminders should be able to look at the list of resources which seems to be growing ever longer. It would really help supplement our own provision because now matter how well resourced a group is there is always something on the 'wish list'.

 

And Deb: I'm jealous. We got tea and biscuits - but no chocolates! :o

 

Maz

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