Publication - Advice and guidance

Health and social care personnel - international recruitment: code of practice

This Code of Practice sets out the principles and practices for the ethical international recruitment and appointment of all international health and social care personnel in Scotland. This demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to ethical recruitment and protecting the healthcare systems of developing.

Health and social care personnel - international recruitment: code of practice
2. Scope

2. Scope

2.1 There are 3 elements to the Code of Practice:

(a) The Code of Practice;
(b) The list of countries;
(c) The list of agencies

Remit of the Code of Practice

2.2 Each Devolved Administration adheres to the common aims, objectives and guiding principles of the UK code of practice, but holds its own code of practice to reflect the different organisational structures in each nation.

2.3 This Code of Practice applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in Scotland, including all permanent, temporary, agency and locum staff.

2.4 The following organisations must adhere to the Code of Practice when undertaking international recruitment activity to appoint health and social care personnel:

(a) All health and social care organisations (public and independent);
(i) NHS boards and local authorities should ensure that there is compliance when they are setting up local contracts with independent providers.
(ii) Where national contracts are signed with the independent sector to increase capacity in the NHS or social care sector, compliance with the Code of Practice is a contractual obligation.

(b) Any recruitment agency that wishes to supply health and social care personnel to the NHS, social care organisations or any other Scottish health and care provider.

Definition of "Active Recruitment"

2.5 For the purpose of this Code of Practice 'active international recruitment' is defined as the process by which health and social care employers and contracting bodies, agencies and sub-contractors target individuals, either physically or virtually, to market Scottish employment opportunities, leading to employment in the Scottish health or social care sector. This can include, but is not limited to, advertising to candidates through all types of communication mediums, incentivisation activities such as referral bonus schemes, and referring candidates to specific vacancies in Scotland in return for a fee from the employing organisation. Recruitment organisations are not allowed to charge fees to the individual employee.

2.6 The only exception to this definition is where a candidate has already been appointed by a Scottish employer following a direct, independent application and selection without the support of a recruitment agency. In this case an employer, if required, can use the services of a recruitment agency to support and facilitate the employee's passage to the UK. In such cases, it is the agency's responsibility, if challenged, to evidence that the services they are providing are permitted under this exception.

Roles and responsibilities in relation to the Code of Practice

Scottish Government

2.7 Works with the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and the other Devolved Administrations to set the policy for the Code of Practice.

UK Department of Health and Social Care

2.8 Works with the Devolved Administrations to set the policy for the code of practice, leads on government to government agreements and maintains stakeholder relations with the WHO on international recruitment matters including exchange of information and reporting.

NHS Employers

2.9 Although NHS Employers is the employers' organisation for the NHS in England, its work in relation to the Code of Practice is carried out on behalf of the whole UK, including the Devolved Administrations.

2.10 NHS Employers hosts information about each of the UK Codes of Practice, and the WHO list of countries on its website, and undertakes communications activity to promote the Code of Practice.

2.11 Provides a dedicated advice and support service to health and care organisations throughout the UK to help them to follow the guiding principles of the Code of Practice in all their recruitment activities.

2.12 Provides a mechanism for stakeholders across the system to promote the Code of Practice, assess activity and, if necessary, address poor practice with employers.

2.13 Manages and hosts the list of agencies that adhere to the Code of Practice to help employers with their selection process.

2.14 Undertakes routine checks of agency compliance with the Code of Practice and responds to complaints or other information with regards to breaches of the Code. NHS Employers also takes necessary action as set out in the process for Code of Practice contraveners at Annex B.

Local health and social care employers (NHS, local authority and independent)

2.15 Ensure that all recruitment of international health and social care personnel to fill vacancies or to take part in exchanges or education initiatives, is carried out in line with the Code of Practice.

2.16 Work with partner organisations to form a comprehensive plan for induction, pastoral and professional support and ensure international migrants are signposted to appropriate organisations for further support, advice and guidance on their arrival and induction.

2.17 Exclusively use recruitment agencies on the recruitment agency list, that operate in accordance to the code of practice. The list is maintained by NHS Employers.

Recruitment Agencies (supplying health and social care personnel)

2.18 Should appear on the recruitment agency list and operate in accordance to the code of practice. The list is maintained by NHS Employers.

Health Education England

2.19 On behalf of DHSC and the Devolved Administrations, establishes effective government-government partnerships and exchange schemes as agreed by the Cross Whitehall International Recruitment Steering Group, to ensure recruitment is managed and mutual benefits are derived.

Cross Whitehall International Recruitment Steering Group

2.20 Chaired by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with membership from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Department for International Trade (DIT), Home Office (HO), Health Education England (HEE), NHS England/Improvement (NHSE/I), Department of Health for Northern Ireland, Welsh Government's Department of Health and Social Services and the Scottish Government.

2.21 Provides national policy oversight on implementation of the Code of Practice and collaboration on international recruitment supply activity, ensuring consistent ethical practices across health and care.

2.22 Provides oversight of diplomatic and development relationships related to international recruitment and training with partner countries, including new bilateral partnerships, exchanges and programmes, using expert advice from across government.

2.23 Approves any updates and changes to the Code of Practice, in consultation with the WHO. The Code of Practice will be reviewed one year after publication.

World Health Organisation

2.24 Provides guidance through the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel and, in collaboration with its Member States, periodically reviews the Code's relevance and effectiveness. WHO, as recommended by its Member States, has a list of the countries with the most pressing universal health coverage related health workforce challenges, which is subject to review.

2.25 The Scottish and UK Code of Practice refers to these countries in the context that there must be no active recruitment of health and social care personnel by UK recruiters from countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List, 2020 unless there is an explicit government to government agreement with the UK to support managed recruitment activities that are undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.


Contact

Email: healthworkforcehub@gov.scot