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Hiring Rachel Silverwood (2/2)

I started working with Steve initially in 2015. I was looking for a more flexible way of working to allow me to be around for my young family. Previously I had worked for recruitment businesses that were London centric. I live in Harrogate! They required me to be in London weekly as well as developing business around the country. My children hated me working away from home and they are growing up so fast I felt I was missing out on that precious time. Steve and I initially made contact as he was setting up Melber Flinn. The work I initially did for him was on an ad hoc, part-time basis, as and when he needed extra help, contacting candidates whilst he was out at meetings. It helped me keep my hand in and helped him out when he was very busy. Having recruited in the NHS interim market for over 12 years I knew a lot of the candidates and understood the market, so it worked well.

Last October we started discussing a more permanent, client facing role, focusing on the Commissioning & STP market, freeing him up to focus on the provide side. I was due to start in January 2017. Then came the news that the IR35 regulations were changing and there was considerable concern as to how that would affect the market. We decided to delay my start until we were clear what the implications would be.

Roll on to October 2017…

I’ve just started working permanently with Steve and the rest of the Melber Flinn posse on a part-time basis. Whilst the changes to the IR35 legislation have had a huge impact on the way clients engage interims and the length of time it takes to get those contracts signed off, the market has remained reasonably buoyant. There have, however, been some significant changes since I was last working in it:

1) Lead time – It used to be commonplace that the time from getting the go-ahead from a client to the interim starting was within a week. Whilst the requirements are still as time critical as ever, the bureaucracy around contract sign off/ IR35 determination, even when these have been pre-agreed at the beginning of the process, is regularly taking weeks, sometimes months! It goes against the whole principle of interim management and is frustrating everyone.

2) Day rates – I have spent the last few weeks speaking with some new and many seasoned interim managers. Many are currently sat at home, desperate for news of potential assignments. Some are considering permanent roles. Most talk about day rates being pushed down further and further. I spoke to someone yesterday who has worked as an interim Programme Director in the NHS at £750 a day for many years, but is currently working on £450 a day. “Better to be working than not”. Flexibility is everything in this market.

3) The agency market – VSM + level interim roles which used to form a significant percentage of the roles handled by agents like Melber Flinn are now more commonly being resourced directly via NHSE/NHSI. Organisations are constrained by the day rate thresholds when they reach a level that triggers a requirement to submit a business case. This reduces our ability to help many of the most senior candidates to find new roles.

This may appear to be all doom and gloom. Conditions remain challenging, but there is still a requirement for interim managers at all levels to help drive change within the NHS. We remain cautiously optimistic!

As for me, I love working at Melber Flinn. As the Budweiser slogan goes, It’s refreshingly different! We all work from home but get together regularly. I can drop off and pick up the children from school most days, but also have the camaraderie I really missed from working within a team. It’s a fantastic model. You don’t all need to be sat in an office together to work as a team.