International recruitment of health and social care personnel: Scottish Code of Practice - August 2022 (revised)

Update to the Scottish Code of Practice for the international recruitment of health and social care which ensure that all international recruitment undertaken in Scotland is ethical.

7. Ethical Recruiters List

7.1 NHS Employers organisation updates and maintains a list of recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations which operate in accordance with the Code of Practice. Health and social care local employers and contracting bodies should only use recruitment organisations, agencies or collaborations who are on the Code of Practice Ethical Recruiters List.

7.2 Although the ethical recruiters list is maintained by NHS Employers, the list should be used by all health and social care organisations engaged in international recruitment, both in the public and independent sectors.

Application procedure

7.3 Recruitment organisations, agencies or collaborations 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) and a knowledge test of the Code of Practice. The application form confirms:

a) the organisation's commitment to fully adhere to the Code of Practice and comply with the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and associated conduct regulations.

b) the business practice of the organisation.

c) a declaration of all associated business activities and references relating to the recruitment of health and social care personnel.

d) permission for the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate to share details with DHSC and NHS Employers of any inspection and remedial action taken.

7.4 After submitting the online application form, applicants will be sent a link to a knowledge test to complete. This will consist of 15 questions, requiring a pass rate of 13/15. This will confirm that test the applicants have read and understood of the code of practice and how it is applied in different settings.

7.5 If, after assessment of the application, knowledge test and resolution of any queries, an organisation is not successful in being placed on the ethical recruiters list, they will be advised of the reason in writing via email. The organisation has three attempts at the knowledge test, with increasing levels of intervention to support their understanding of the code. It is does not pass the third attempt, it must wait three months before it can re-apply and must show that it has changed its business practice to be placed on or back on the list.

7.6 The organisation responsible for processing applications and monitoring the ethical recruiters list reserves the right to introduce a fee for recruitment organisations, agencies or collaborations to be on the ethical recruiters list for the code of practice at a future point in time.

How the ethical recruiters list is monitored

7.7 This section outlines the abridged version of how NHS Employers monitors recruitment organisations on the code of practice. Detailed processes are housed by NHS Employers.

Review of the ethical recruiters list

7.8 The procedure for monitoring recruitment organisations, agencies and collaborations for their adherence to the principles of the code of practice is as follows:

7.9 Every year, when the code of practice is reviews by DHSC NHS Employers contacts all recruitment organisations, agencies and collaborations via email (allowing them 10 working days to respond) asking them to:

a) review any changes to the code and renew their commitment to its guiding principles and best practice benchmarks,

b) check that their contact details are correct

c) complete a knowledge test

d) supply two referees from health or social care employers to confirm that they use the recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration and that they comply with the code of practice.

7.10 If an organisation does not respond to the timeline outlined in the letter, they will receive a second letter asking for the same information and will have a further period of time to respond.

7.11 If NHS Employers does not receive a reply to the second letter within a specified time period, this will result in the organisation being removed from the list. If removed, an organisation 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.

7.12 Health or social care organisations are encouraged to make a note of this procedure and ensure that their recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration complies with it when they receive their initial letter.

Spot checks

7.13 NHS Employers conducts regular spot checks to monitor compliance with the code of practice. Organisations can be spot checked if they are selected by a random number generator, if they are on a list for regular monitoring, or if NHS Employers has been made aware of a potential breach. The spot checks include but not limited to:

checking information available on Companies House

checking the organisation's website can be reached and all activities align with the code of practice

checking the organisation's social media presence and all activities align with the code of practice

7.14 Information on the numbers and outcomes of spot checks are routinely shared with the DHSC.

Removal from the Ethical Recruiter List

7.15 A recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration will be removed from the ethical recruiter list if, following an investigation, it is found to be breaching the principles of the code of practice. Each case will be investigated on an individual basis and an abridged version of the escalation process for informal and formal investigations can be found in Annex B. This process includes an appeals procedure. Detailed processes are housed securely by NHS Employers.

7.16 Information on any breach will be shared with the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate.

Use of the NHS Employers logo

7.17 NHS Employers logo is protected and recruitment organisations, agencies and collaborations, even those that are successfully placed on ethical recruiters list are not permitted to display the logo on their business materials, documents, websites or social media accounts.

7.18 Recruitment organisations, agencies and collaborations 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 does not guarantee they will be engaged by health or social care organisations to recruit on their behalf.



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