A collaborative approach to international recruitment

This webinar focused on how Devon Alliance and Kent and Medway ICB work as collaborations with other trusts to recruit internationally.
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General information

18 July 2023 11:00 - 12:00 GMT
Open to all


  • Tracey Collins External link icon
    Head of International Nursing & Workforce Devon Alliance
  • Carly Boyce External link icon
    Deputy Head of International Nursing and Workforce Devon Alliance
  • Tara Laybourne External link icon
    Deputy Chief Nurse NHS Kent and Medway ICB

Tracey Collins and Carly Boyce from Devon Alliance shared its journey of becoming a lead recruiter of the collaboration over the last two years and what they have achieved. Some of the achievements highlighted were:

  • over 1000 healthcare professionals deployed
  • savings of over £40m for the system
  • a 99.8 per cent retention rate.

Tara Laybourne from NHS Kent and Medway ICB shared the organisation's journey of international recruitment. It has recruited over 2000 international nurses over the last two years as a system but wanted to provide a more rounded approach to system working. The ICB began looking into collaborative working in October 2022 to be fully integrated as a system. 

  • Questions


    Do you give sponsorship to care workers?

    Yes, Devon Alliance does.

    Could you please share the flipbook link for pastoral passport?

    Please email devonalliance@nhs.net to find out more about the digital passport.

    How do you evaluate your pastoral support? Is there a questionnaire or tool that you will be able to share with us?

    Devon Alliance evaluates the pastoral passport as part of their three months evaluations.

    In Kent and Medway, this is currently undertaken by each of the providers, however, this is inconsistent hence the focus on the collaborative. They have pastoral care leads and champions who have been internally recruited nurses and they also have questionnaires.

    Are the 1000 nurses split across your 24 providers or are they just your own recruits?

    In Devon, the 1000 Nurses are split across our NHS providers, however we're also developing ways to support Nurses in social care.

    With your direct recruitment, is that omission of use of UK agency but keeping the host country agency?

    Devon Alliance use a small number of overseas partners that compliment our direct pipeline. They don't use UK agencies.

    What approach do you take for third time OSCE fails?

    In Devon, nurses that fail OSCE three times are minimal due to the amount of support and top up teaching that takes place in between OSCE sittings. When this has happened and due to Visa implications, providers work with the nurses to find the best outcome for them, this may involve returning to the country of origin.

    Kent and Medway have had minimal third time fails. They currently do not take a collaborative approach yet but will work with each case to try to find a suitable solution. Third time fails is part of our scoping within the newly formed task and finish groups.

    Do either of you recruit Learning Disability nurses?

    No, Neither Devon Alliance or Kent and Medway have been asked to recruit learning disability nurses.

    Do you provide accommodation yourselves or do you use private landlords?

    Across Devon, the providers manage accommodation and use a mixture of hospital accommodation, host families and rental properties in local Universities.

    Kent and Medway use both. They have linked with Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to understand how they use their housing hub to learn from them.

    Are all your interviews conducted remotely or have there been some face to face?

    Devon Alliance mostly are virtual however during our recruitment drives overseas these are face to face.

    What are some of the constructive criticisms you’ve received regarding pastoral support?

    As part of Devon's three monthly evaluations, constructive feedback is used to develop our processes including pastoral support. Accommodation appears to be the biggest challenge and we work alongside our providers to support the candidates with this.

    In Kent and Medway, some constructive feedback has been on inconsistent offers from trusts locally (which should improve due to the new collaboration) and assumptions being made.

    How can you ensure overseas agencies meet the standards and requirements of domestic ones, or partnerships with governments and other relationships?

    In Devon, all partners have had full due diligence carried out and are on the ethical framework.

    In terms of Midwifery recruitment, are applications made through your normal job advert? Or do you use a recruitment company in another country or have a separate advert?

    Devon Alliance recruits midwives directly.

    Is Pastoral support nurse an Internationally Educated Nurses(IENs)?

    In Devon some of their pastoral support nurses are IENs but not all.

    In Kent and Medway they do in some trusts but not all.

    Have you explored learning disability and mental health nurse recruitment?

    Devon Alliance recruit Mental Health nurses but have not been asked yet to recruit Learning Disability nurse.

    Kent and Medway have undertaken mental health international recruitment, not Learning Disability. They are working with NHS England to join a mental health collaborative.

    Do you have a generic relocation package or is it different for each trust you work with? What do you offer in terms of packages?

    Devon Alliance offers a generic relocation package which is the same across all of our providers.

    Kent and Medway are working on making this consistent and this is currently being worked through.

    Do you give sponsorship for health care assistant?

    As part of the Devon Alliance pilot for social care, they have recruited 120 carers which have been offered sponsorship.

    Are relocations packages only offered to nurses, or do AHPs also receive this?

    All staff recruited through the alliance are offered relocation packages.

    Is pay offer in your region standardised?

    In Devon pay is standardised as the One Devon Offer.

    This is something Kent and Medway are working on, so it will be in terms of recognising previous service.

    Do you have a repayment clause in the contract if the IEN leaves the Trust? If yes, does this assist with your retention rates? Do you claim back 2nd and 3rd OSCE examination costs?

    Devon Alliance has a repayment clause over the 2 years if the nurses move outside of Devon. If they change trusts but stay within Devon there is no repayment clause. Repayment is only of the fees that are stipulated in the code of practice.

    They do not pay for second or third OSCE attempts, the nurses pay for this themselves.

    In Kent and Medway they do in some trusts but not all. This is in discussion regarding the collaboration but no decision made as yet.

    Do you have guidance on how you calculate pay for Band 5 taking into account previous experience?

    50 per cent of previous experience is recognised in Devon Alliance.

    We've got several very large Trusts in our patch, often with lots of experience in IR and not always as keen on adopting a System approach. How did you build the collaboratives to start with, and how did you overcome some of the resistance to working with larger considerations?

    Please contact Devon Alliance directly for support on building a collaboration. devonalliance@nhs.net

    In Kent and Medway, last year one of the trusts recruited the highest number of IR's in the South East. Working with stakeholders it was clear that there are benefits of doing things at scale and those who are very experienced are leading this for our system in some areas. We purposely didn't put things in the 'too hard' box otherwise we would have made no progress. We also done some efficiency saving scenarios and quality improvement.

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