Are they safe?
According to the Office of National Statistics an
estimated 137.3 million days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in
2016. This was equivalent to 4.3 days
Minor illnesses (such as coughs and colds) were the most common reason for sickness absence in 2016, accounting for approximately 34.0 million days lost (24.8% of the total days lost). This was followed by musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) at 30.8 million days (22.4%). After ‘other’ conditions, mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and serious conditions) were the next most common reason for sickness absence, resulting in 15.8 million days lost (11.5%).
Also, did you know that workplace absence costs the UK economy £18bn in lost productivity; there has been a year-on-year increase since 2011. Apparently the prediction is that the cost of absence will increase to £21bn in 2020 and £26bn in 2030. It’s not just about the cost of workplace absence, which also includes paying sick pay and someone else having to pick up the work of the employee who is off sick but high levels of sickness can also have a negative effect on those employees who are in work, affecting productivity and moral.
With these eye-watering facts are you managing and monitoring sickness levels?
Below are some reasons why holding a return to work interview may be beneficial:
Revisit your sickness absence policy and check if you have set trigger points for unacceptable levels of short and frequent sickness absence.
Review the last 12 months’ attendance record and make sure that the employee is actually fit to return to work, if you do have any doubts then ask them to provide a fit for work certificate from their GP before they return to work.
When you sit down to conduct a return back to work interview best practice like most companies is to do these after every absence and one the day the employee returns to work.
To make sure that you are following the same process as well as being fair, consistent and treating employees equally use a standardised form for all return to work interviews.
Some of the things you may want to include in the schedule may include:
Whatever you do, and I have seen this happen, don’t hold the return back to work interview in a public open place; hold it in a private room. Any personal information you document / collate must be kept confidential and in line with the Data Protection Act.
Keep a record of the notes from the interview and ensure that as an employer you undertake any action points you need to. Ensure that both the person carrying out the return back to work interview and the employee sign and date the form, so there are disputed things later.
As an employer you have a legal obligation and requirement to check the right of new employees to work in the UK; if you don’t obtain this evidence then you could be liable to pay a penalty of up to £20k – ask yourself….is it worth ignoring and I hope the answer is no!
As well as
doing the right to work check it is also worth looking at other pre-employment
checks to ensure that you are not only protecting but not risking your company’s
finances and reputation. Plus, more importantly you stay on the right side of
the law but also confirming the new employee does have the required
qualifications and experience they have stated.
have seen in the papers or on the internet where applicants have lied about
their qualifications, experience and capabilities and if you have seen ‘Trust
Me’ on BBC. The drama is about a nurse who
fraudulently works as a senior doctor in A&E, which is a scary thought in
itself because when you go to A&E who out our trust in the doctor knowing
that s/he is appropriately qualified and competent in doing their job but had
the pre-employment checks been carried out this could have been avoided.
Some checks can include:
However, this doesn’t mean you complete every single check mentioned or anything else you can think of; you need to get the right balance. A background check should only be carried out if it is relevant – e.g. for a care worker you would carry out checks to include references, DBS, verification of qualifications but you wouldn’t to an adverse credit check as this wouldn’t be relevant for the worker to undertake their duties unless you can justify why it is necessary.
let’s look at some do’s when carrying out checks:
And some Don’ts
Background checking should be applied at all levels not just senior positions; we all work in positions of trust so make sure that your employee(s) don’t risk or damage you financially or reputation-wise. Experian found that that it’s not uncommon for as many as 15% of applicants to drop out when made aware that a thorough background check is used in the recruitment process – removes time wasters and potential fraudsters.
In 2004 an unqualified gynaecologist Dr Henry Akpata and the forced resignation of NHS Trust chief executive Neil Taylor for awarding himself a non-existent degree were part of a string of revelations concerning employees claiming to be something they are not.
Ian Huntley, double child murderer, is a chilling case where he was given a job as school caretaker despite police awareness of prior convictions.
In 2010 a woman faked her qualifications to secure a £23k a year job was jailed for 6 months – she wrongly claimed to have two A-levels and also made up references. Suspicions were raised about her performance and she admitted lying on her CV. Her reference was forged and signed using her partner’s name. She was apparently the first woman in the UK to be imprisoned for lying on her CV.
Also in 2010 a man was jailed for 3 months after he lied about his qualifications to land a top job NHS job in Stoke-on-Trent. He claimed he had a doctorate and Masters degree when it transpired he only had a second-class science degree.
Earlier this year a former builder and probation officer was jailed for two years after it emerged that he had lied on his CV in order to gain a very senior management role in the NHS that netted him more than £1m over ten years.
YouGov found that 1 in 10 Brits have lied on their CV, and that lies about education and qualifications are the most common.
When you search the internet you will find a whole host of cases like the ones above so in order to avoid being prosecuted as an employer make sure that you are carrying out the necessary checks that I stress are relevant for the job the applicant is applying for. For applicants make sure that do actually have the qualifications, experience, right immigration status etc. because if caught you could find yourself sacked and or prosecuted.
The higher the contract value the more demanding the whole tender process can be. To tender for a contract, you may have to go through a qualification process or pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) however this is not always the case.
The PQQ is
written for the purpose to persuade the reader that you have the prerequisite
experience, knowledge and capability to take on the work you are bidding
PQQ has been successful you will be shortlisted and move to the next stage of
the process which is, the invitation to tender (ITT).
We have worked a number of clients, working closely with them to complete full and partial writes for tenders and something that has been highlighted to us is that we need to offer some sort of checklist to help our clients know what they need to have in place or able to get in place. So we have complied a generic checklist, which hopefully will give you an idea of what information and documents that you need to have in place when considering or applying for a tender.
In addition to the checklist you also need to ask yourself some questions; such as:
Is this the right tender for me?
The tender process is in place to help buyers to choose the right supplier(s) who offers the best value for money, deliver the contract with minimal risk, has the relevant experience, skills etc.
Is my company too big or too small? This is about making sure that you are able to deliver the contract – no buyer will award a £400k contract to a start-up who is delivering a small number of hours.
Can I meet the contract’s needs? Always read the tender documents, can you deliver what the specifications of the contracts are (always check the mandatory elements) if you can’t then your chances of being successful can be low. A tender that one of our clients wanted to apply for had a mandatory requirement that they must have achieved a ‘good’ or above CQC inspection but the client had not to date yet had an inspection, so you then have to ask yourself the question, is it worth applying for and the answer has to be...not at this stage.
What is my experience? When applying for a tender you need to show that you have the relevant experience e.g. references; if you are unable to provide this then you need to demonstrate that you have the necessary transferrable skills.
Are my accounts and trading history long enough? When you look at the checklist below you will see we have put 2 years’ accounts; this is because most buyers will request this. If you are a start-up, then you will need to provide a detailed cashflow forecast. However, saying this read the tender documents first as the buyer may be looking for an established company with a long enough trading history and may want 10 years trading history.
I know we all want to grow and secure contracts but don’t see a tender and rush to apply for it, be realistic and just because someone you know in your business circle is applying for that tender doesn’t mean you have to as well. Wait for the right opportunity for your company – sometimes it is best to grow steadily, be secure and stable. Until then grow your business and build your history and creditability. Another option is to work in collaboration with other businesses, a consortium, this way each business can complement each other and reduce any gaps.
You’ve received notification (if you are
lucky) that you are due a CQC inspection – rather than panic and increase your
stress levels keep calm and see this as an opportunity to showcase what you are
achieving on a day-to-day basis.
You may have one inspector or a team and as you will already know each service is evaluated on 5 key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) that look at whether the service is:Safe – service users, staff and visitors are protected from abuse and avoidable harm
This is not an exhaustive list but things to consider when preparing for your inspection / visit:
Hope this helps with helping you prepare for your inspection / visit – good luck!