North East London NHS Foundation Trust accesses recruitment support via Jobcentre Plus


01 / 02 / 2013

The organisation

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) provides healthcare services – mental health and community health – for people in South West Essex and those in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, and Havering. 

What they did and why

Since becoming a foundation trust on 1st June 2008, their workforce has seen a dramatic increase from 1800 to 6000 staff. The partnership between NELFT and Jobcentre Plus (JCP) began in December 2010 to help with their ongoing recruitment.  The organisation partnered with JCP in order to recruit, shortlist and assess suitable long-term unemployed candidates for their band 2-4 posts. The emphasis was on choosing people from diverse backgrounds who may not have previously considered a career within the NHS or who were not familiar with the NHS Jobs application process.

How they did it

The NELFT recruitment team spent time building strong working relationships with JCP so that colleagues from this organisation fully understood the requirements of the trust.  JCP were heavily involved with the recruitment process from start to finish; they sifted applications, shortlisted candidates, and assisted with literacy, numeracy, and competency-based tests which were held at JCP premises. 

Only those candidates that attained minimum pass marks were invited to attend interviews at the trust, whilst JCP were able to provide additional support to those customers that were identified as having literacy and/or numeracy concerns. Furthermore,  JCP provided candidates who were unsuccessful at interview stage with comprehensive feedback and supported with future applications.

David Bray, Senior HR Manager, NELFT, said of the process:

"The application of independent JCP standards resulted in the recruitment of a higher calibre of candidates overall - this helped to reduce losses and prevented any requirement for repeat recruitments". 

Results and next steps

Partnership working between NELFT and JCP brought about a number of benefits including:

  • Higher standard of applications
  • Improved ability to recruit high-quality staff from diverse backgrounds
  • Shortened recruitment timescales and reduced workload for recruiting manager and recruitment team
  • Support throughout the application process for long-term unemployed candidates.
Carla Ah-Mane, Employer Relationship Manager, JCP, commented:

"JCP can sift over 400 applications in 2 days. Over 12 months we received only one challenge from an applicant and we reduced the sift speed timescale from 4 weeks to only 2 weeks from launch to interview - this included testing". 

Tips for other trusts

  • Start slowly and spend time building close relationships with JCP
  • Spend time showing JPC colleagues how to use the NHS Jobs website
  • Develop template letters to transfer your organisation’s brand
  • Agree timeframes for processes and create a service level agreement
  • Be honest if things are not working, identify and implement changes to processes if required
  • Keep managers informed throughout the process as they may initially be resistant but should be reassured when the benefits to partnership working become clear.

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