Fixed-term contracts: NHSScotland PIN policy

This Partnership Information Network (PIN) policy aims to ensure that fixed-term contracts are only used where necessary and appropriate, and that (unless objectively justified) those employed on fixed-term contracts are treated no less favourably than permanent employees.

This document is part of a collection

Annex A: Needs Assessment/Review Process (Individual or Group)

By completing the needs assessment process, managers will be able to make an informed decision as to whether a permanent or fixed-term appointment may be made. Managers should also use this needs assessment process to review the status of fixed-term contracts periodically, to see if it might be possible to make any fixed-term posts permanent.

Any success in ensuring the necessary and appropriate use of fixed-term contracts depends on robust workforce planning processes. However, the checklist below may additionally help managers to identify if fixed-term contracts are necessarily the most appropriate means of filling a post.

Local workforce planning processes will identify areas of recruitment and retention difficulty. Such processes will allow managers to look at issues beyond their own service boundaries and take a more corporate and proactive approach to ensure best practice in staff recruitment and retention, using fixed-term contracts as appropriate.

The checklist below can be used to review individual vacancies. However, at a corporate level an annual risk assessment for individual staff groups should be carried out by the Area Partnership Forum (or equivalent).

In weighing up these factors, managers should apply knowledge of their service and any recruitment and retention issues which are unique to their area. The following points are core, but managers may wish to include additional points to suit local circumstances.

Needs Assessment Checklist

High Medium Low
Turnover for staff group
Vacancy factor
Average time to fill posts
Contributory factors (e.g. geography, market and contract duration)
Ability to recruit
Proposed service developments
Impact on service of failure to recruit
Secondment opportunity
Cost of post/financial impact
Consideration of clinical and corporate risk


Email: Darren Paterson

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