A Trusted Alternative

Most care homes rely on recruitment agencies to supply temporary staff. This can result in:

  1. Lack of visibility and control
  2. Varied standards
  3. Burdensome administration
  4. Inflated expenditure

There is an alternative to how you approach your non-permanent staffing needs.

Since 2001, some of the UK’s best-known care home groups have outsourced the management of their recruitment agency relationships to GRI.

This is why.

Let’s frame our solution around the needs of an organisation we’ll call Penthia Care*, a specialist in elderly care, running 14 homes across Cheshire.

With an average home size of 48 beds (mainly single occupancy), Penthia Care is uncertain of the exact amount spent on recruitment agency costs. There is little head office visibility but it is estimated at £2.5 million per annum and rising. 

Following a number of recent incidents, Director of Care Services, Cath Milne, is growing increasingly concerned about continuity of care, safeguarding and the quality and reliability of staff provided.

The administrative drain is also becoming difficult to manage, with some Penthia staff taking an hour to call around their agency list before a temporary worker can be found.

Conversations with Cath reveal that a full-time member of staff is employed just to match PO numbers to agency invoices.


Penthia Care’s challenges are exactly the sort which GRI’s service offering solves.

GRI is not a recruitment agency. Nor do we own any recruitment firms. We are, instead, what is known as a ‘neutral vendor’. Completely independent workforce management experts who transform commercial arrangements with recruitment agencies, improve their service delivery, drive up standards of care and even reduce reliance on agency staff.

We achieve this in six steps.

1. Consultancy on Current Situation

GRI analyses four weeks of invoices from Penthia’s existing supplying agencies (a piece of no-obligation consultancy). This reveals certain agencies are charging up to 206.7% per hour more for a healthcare assistant than the average charge rate. The figure for supplying RGNs is 146.2% more.

GRI prepares a white paper with our findings and recommendations, calculating a cost-saving figure should our model be adopted, and a detailed plan of how it would be up and running within 8-12 weeks.

2. Agency Renegotiations

Once Penthia contracts to work with GRI, we engage with them to draw up a list of preferred, high-performing agency partners from their existing agencies. We then renegotiate fairer commercial costs for supply and impose higher standards amongst these agencies, through the form of SLA agreements. GRI has a track record of onboarding, on average, 95% of an organisation’s existing, preferred agencies. This means if a home has carers they like using, they can almost always continue to do so.

Should an agency decline to supply under the new terms, GRI can recommend a replacement from our network of over 3,500 trusted and contracted agencies.

3. Setting up e-tips®

e-tips® is GRI’s easy to use online portal through which Penthia can alert agencies to vacancies, and check any candidates proposed (including compliance items and CVs) before choosing whether to book them.

We configure e-tips® for the needs of each individual client. A bespoke drop-down menu is created for every Penthia care home, so when a hiring manager wants to post a job to the agency panel, they simply click a couple of times on pre-populated lists of roles and requirements and all the agencies are alerted.

Required compliance items are also agreed and mandated in the system for each job – meaning no candidate can be proposed without having the requisite documents/certificates in place. These can be easily checked.

Agency charge rates and rates of pay for workers are ‘locked down’ in e-tips® so agencies can not deviate from this when a candidate is booked and the cost of a temp is known ahead of time.

Cath Milne opts to add an authorisation layer to any recruitment – which means Penthia HQ receives an alert when a home wants to hire someone.

Finally, e-tips® can be set-up to run any bank management recruitment through its systems, ensuring that Penthia has full 360 visibility across its entire non-permanent recruitment.

4. Establishing the fulfilment hotline

Recognising that care homes may have urgent requirements out of hours, we establish a dedicated fulfilment number for Penthia, which allows home staff to call in to our fulfilment team, who then chase the agencies to ensure vacancies are filled. This frees up even more time in each care home. The fulfilment team can also assist ahead of time – booking shifts further in the future.

5. Training

GRI’s implementation team then offers guidance on how to roll out the new GRI process, e-tips® use and fulfilment hotline number to Penthia’s homes and hiring managers. We also run user training via web-ex. It takes a trained user just a few minutes to add a job, check a candidate’s compliance items and book that worker via our e-tips® system.

Training is also run on the timesheet and invoicing process – which is extremely simple as e-tips® creates just one invoice, so there’s very little admin for a care home. Users can also be set-up as timesheet approvers. This means they receive a notification via email and can easily click to approve.

6. Creating Management Information Dashboards

Every field in e-tips® can be reported on ensuring in-depth Management Information is recorded throughout the entire e-tips® recruitment process. From why the vacancy arose in the first place to which homes typically book the most temp staff, or whose bank performs best, MI dashboards are built depending on Penthia’s objectives. We also confirm who can access these dashboards within Penthia, and train and set these people up as super users.


Every field in e-tips® is reportable on which means that superior management information can be produced. Typically, the most popular reports are agency spend per location, fulfilment levels and timesheet approval percentages. However, there are no limits to what can be reported on and MI is completely bespoke.

Penthia have access to all this management information through self-serve dashboards and reports on e-tips®. Penthia also has a dedicated GRI contract & performance team, managed by a GRI Account Director and this MI plays an integral part of regular Penthia/GRI account reviews, with the GRI team offering guidance to help Penthia meet their objectives.

For example, if the MI shows that Penthia’s care home in Winsford spends more on temporary workers than other locations (for reasons of consistent sickness levels amongst permanent staff) the GRI account team can help provide strategic advice to Cath Milne to fix the root cause of the issue.

GRI can also help clients to work-out where best to open their next home, how to forecast and manage winter pressures, or create a plan to quickly staff up and down as occupancy rates flex based on local competitor activity/pay rates. The possibilities are infinite and instantly elevate Cath Milne, and the rest of Penthia HQ, from a position of minimal visibility to a helicopter view.

GRI's Influence

Our neutral vendor influence

GRI is a neutral vendor, not an agency. It’s how and why we can transform your agency recruitment strategies for temporary and contingent workers.

A neutral vendor means we are independent workforce management experts, with no affiliation or association to the recruitment agencies that supply staff. This means we are not influenced by the agency agenda in our strategic delivery of a client’s key objectives and goals.

Instead we opt for, and have built, an influential voice across the UK’s recruitment sector as a whole, with 20% of the UK’s agency suppliers contracted to GRI terms.

Our account management teams are on hand daily and oversee your agency relationships. Whilst e-tips® offers a round the clock leading-edge recruitment solution.

Together, our people and technologies deliver savings of between 8% to 12% to our social care clients, whilst improving their visibility, control and compliance.

It’s why we are the solution care providers are increasingly using.

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*The Penthia Care and Cath Milne example is a composite case study based on the typical experiences of our client organisations, their head office teams and individual home managers and is provided here for illustrative purposes only. Any resemblance to actual people or actual organisations is not intended.