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Guidance on the Use of Temporary Staff

A. Introduction
C. Glossary

A. Introduction

All vacancies should be filled using standard University procedures. There may, however, be certain situations where use of Temporary Staff is the most effective method of providing operational support or facilitating a specific task. Engaging Temporary Staff is an expensive option. The University has, therefore, assessed a number of options and decided to join the Home Office/OGC Framework Agreement. This Agreement gives us access to extremely competitive rates from six national agencies, all with branches in Cardiff and all of whom have a keen knowledge of the local labour market.

This document is designed to give clear guidance to all staff members within Cardiff University who are responsible for obtaining and/or supervising Temporary Staff.


1. When can Temporary Staff be used?

Circumstances in which use of Temporary Staff may be appropriate include: cover of holiday periods; cover of short to medium-term sickness absence; cover during staff shortages due to resignations and/or dismissals; cover over a period of recruitment; provision of specialist skills on a short-term basis; cover to ensure that customer service levels are maintained during peak periods of demand; work on small projects or particular tasks with a very limited duration (suggested maximum of 12 weeks).

2. When should Temporary Staff not be used?

Where there is a substantive permanent or fixed-term vacancy which has not or is not being advertised, or for any job likely to last in excess of 12 weeks.

3. Which roles can be filled by Temporary Staff?

The Agreement covers the following jobs: Clerical/Administrative Assistant; Clerical/Administrative Officer; Executive Officer (Junior Office Manager); Higher Executive Officer (Middle Office Manager); Senior Executive Officer (Senior Office Manager); Secretary; Senior Secretary; Executive Secretary/Personal Assistant; Support work (eg Receptionist/Messenger/Telephonist); Data Processor; Audio Typist; Call Centre Operator.

There may be occasions when the University will need to engage Temporary Staff to fill a role other than those given above. In this situation, you should contact any or all of agencies in the framework to determine if they can meet our requirements and, if so, to determine the potential cost. Only after all Framework Agreement agency options have been exhausted can the University look at using another agency. You should contact Human Resources or Purchasing for advice in this situation.

4. Who pays for Temporary Staff?

The relevant school/directorate is responsible for the cost of Temporary Staff.

5. How much will it cost?

In joining this Agreement the University is taking full advantage of the best possible prices available in this market. Different agencies will be more competitive in some areas than others and in order to determine which agency offers the best value for money option for your particular needs, you should refer to TARDIS (Temporary Agency Rates Discount Indicator System), available at

As well as comparing individual agency prices for specific grades, TARDIS also has a ’What If’ model that allows you to compare the old prices to the Home Office prices to assess the degree of saving to be made. Information on discounts for early payments, volume trade or for using e-trading is also available here.

6. How do I book Temporary Staff?

Firstly, you need to decide which agency to use. We recommend that you check TARDIS to find the most competitive rate available. Then contact your account manager at the preferred agency either by telephone or online (see question 22 for contact details). You will be asked for the following information:

• Purchase order number.
• Line manager contact details.
• Job requirements, including information on types and levels of skills required, specific experience and/or knowledge, language skills, and details of any other requirements.
• Start date and estimated duration of placement.
• Grade and pay rate.
• Any specific knowledge, eg where the Temporary Staff should report on the first day, etc.
• Hours of work.
• Any security matters (eg must sign in at reception on arrival).

7. What does the agency do next?

The Agency will evaluate the job criteria against the skills of Temporary Staff registered on its books. Temporary Staff meeting the criteria will be contacted by the Agency to confirm if they are interested in being put forward for the placement (there is no obligation for Temporary Staff to accept any placement) and, once this has been agreed, the Agency will contact you to confirm arrangements.

The role may have specific requirements which may make it more difficult to fill. Under these circumstances, the Agency may not have suitable candidates already on its books and will need to attract Temporary Staff, usually through their website, ‘shop window’ or some form of external advertising.

8. What checks are carried out on Temporary Staff?

All Temporary Staff will be eligible to work in the UK. In addition, they will have been required to declare any unspent criminal convictions and must sign a confidentiality agreement specific to Cardiff University. Temporary Staff will also be fully referenced, have been interviewed in person and tested on key administrative skills. All of these checks will be carried out by the agency prior to the first day of the assignment.

9. Can I see CVs or interview potential Temporary Staff?

Excellent candidates are placed very quickly, so you need to be aware that if you take the time to do any sifting and/or interviewing there is a strong possibility your preferred candidate will receive a booking elsewhere. The agencies on this Agreement interview all candidates and are in the best position to ensure a good fit with your requirements.

10. What do I need to do on the first day of the placement?

You could start by providing a brief introduction to the school/directorate and the University, followed by information on: location of facilities; housekeeping arrangements; health and safety issues, such as fire alarm procedures; arrangements for breaks; security arrangements; IT facilities; job duties; training and/or support.

11. What if I know a member of Temporary Staff?

As with all other forms of recruitment and employment within the University, any conflict of interest between the line manager and Temporary Staff should be declared and wherever possible the appointment of family and friends to the immediate work area avoided.

12. What are my responsibilities during the placement?

You will be required to assign duties, assess workload and monitor performance (this does not include carrying out assessments such as probation, which will be conducted by the agency). Specific on-the-job training will need to be provided if necessary. Any concerns relating to performance problems and/or contractual matters should be discussed with the agency.

13. Can I contact the agency at any time?

You can contact the agency at any time to discuss performance or other issues and the majority of agencies are happy to participate in site visits where appropriate.

14. Will the agency contact me?

The agency will contact you to confirm that they have filled your placement. Most agencies will contact you on the first morning of every assignment to confirm that the Temporary Staff have arrived in a timely manner and to deal with any queries you may have. Contact is usually maintained via a weekly phone call, although you can request more or less frequent contact as required.

15. What happens if Temporary Staff are unsuitable?

You have the right to request a replacement member of Temporary Staff at any time. It is advantageous to all parties if you can provide feedback on your reasons for this decision.

16. What about sickness absence?

All Temporary Staff are required to report any sickness absence directly to the agency.

17. What arrangements will be made for annual leave?

Temporary Staff are eligible for annual leave, which is paid by the agency. Temporary Staff will book their leave directly with the Agency who will then inform you and make arrangements for a replacement, if necessary.

18. What happens if Temporary Staff are dissatisfied with any placement?

Temporary Staff are not under any obligation to continue working in the placement, so, following discussion with the agency, they can decide to terminate the assignment.

19. What happens if Temporary Staff leave a placement?

The agency will endeavour to replace Temporary Staff with a suitable alternative. You will be advised if this is not possible and should then contact one of the other agencies on the Agreement.

20. Will I be asked to give feedback on Temporary Staff?

You will be asked to provide feedback both on the Temporary Staff and the service provided by the agency at various stages during the process. The majority of agencies will make contact once a placement has finished to measure satisfaction with the candidate and some will make contact on a quarterly basis to gauge overall satisfaction with the process. Some agencies will forward email surveys whilst others prefer telephone contact. It is extremely useful for feedback to be provided when requested as this is the primary way in which the University can determine the level of success of this initiative. You are welcome to give feedback on this agreement or the overall performance of the participating agencies to Purchasing (Karen Wontner , extn 74402) or HR (people@cardiff,ac,uk, extn 79777).

21. Can I appoint Temporary Staff to a regular or fixed-term post without going through the recruitment process?

No, all regular and fixed-term posts must be filled in line with the University’s Recruitment and Selection process. If a member of Temporary staff successfully applies for an advertised job then an introduction fee will not be payable by the school to the agency, providing the University can demonstrate that it has held a full and fair competition.

22. How do I pay Temporary Staff?

Temporary Staff have a contract of employment with the agency managing the placement and as such are paid directly by the agency. Temporary Staff will need to complete a hard-copy or online timesheet on a weekly basis, which then needs to be verified by the relevant school/directorate before payment can be made.

23. Which agencies can I use?

Brook Street; Hays; Kelly; Acorn; Office Angels; Reed Employment. Contact information for all agencies is available at

24. What if I have always used another agency, can I carry on doing this?

No, that is not possible under this Agreement.


‘Temporary Staff’ refers to an agency worker engaged by the University on a short-term placement or to undertake a specific piece of work.

‘You’ refers to the member of staff responsible for procuring the Temporary Staff and/or for supervising them during the placement.

‘Agency’ refers to one of the 6 agencies available under this agreement.