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
7. Agency List

7. Agency List

7.1 NHS Employers organisation updates and maintains a list of recruitment agencies which operate in accordance with the Code of Practice. Health and social care local employers should only use agencies who are on the Code of Practice Agency List.

Application procedure

7.2 Recruitment agencies wishing to apply for inclusion on the Code of Practice Agency List are required to complete an online application form (available on the NHS Employers website). The application form confirms:

a) the agency's commitment to fully adhere to the Code of Practice
b) the business practice of the agency
c) a declaration of all associated business activities relating to the commercial recruitment of health and social care personnel.
d) If, after assessment of the application and resolution of any queries, an agency is not successful in being placed on the list, they will be advised of the reason in writing via email. The agency must wait three months before it can re-apply and must show that it has changed its business practice to be placed on the list.

How the list of agencies is monitored

7.3 The procedure for monitoring agencies for their adherence to the principles of the Code of Practice is as follows:

7.4 On a bi-annual basis NHS Employers writes to all agencies via email (allowing them two weeks to respond) asking them to:

a) check that their contact details are correct
b) confirm their compliance with the principles of the Code of Practice
c) supply two referees from health or social care employers to confirm that they use the agency and that the agency complies with the Code of Practice.

7.5 If an agency does not respond to the first letter within two weeks, they will receive a second letter asking for the same information and will have a further two weeks to respond.

7.6 If the agency does not reply to the second letter, a third and final letter will be sent, requesting the same information and they will be given a further two weeks to reply.

7.7 If NHS Employers does not receive a reply to the final letter by the specified period, this may result in the agency being removed from the list. If removed, an agency will only be allowed to re-apply after a period of three months and will need to demonstrate that they will remain fully compliant with the Code of Practice and the operating practice.

7.8 NHS organisations are encouraged to make a note of this procedure and ensure that their agency complies with it when they receive their initial letter.

Removal from the Agency List

7.9 A recruitment agency will be removed from the list of agencies if, following a thorough investigation, it is found to be breaching the principles of the Code of Practice. Each case will be investigated on an individual basis and further detail on the escalation process for informal and formal investigations can be found in Annex B. This process includes an appeals procedure.

Use of the NHS Employers logo

7.10 NHS Employers logo is protected and commercial recruitment agencies who are successfully placed on the list of agencies that adhere to the Code of Practice are not permitted to display the logo on their business materials, such as documents, websites or on social media accounts.

7.11 Agencies are also reminded that inclusion on the list does not imply that they belong to a group that are either preferred suppliers or recommended by NHS Employers. It also does not guarantee they will be engaged by health or social care organisations to recruit on their behalf.