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Professional services


  • Managed service programme


  • Migrated more than 850 contingent workers over from the outgoing provider 

  • Processed more than 90,000 timesheets over the contract 

  • Completed thousands of police checks on candidates 

The challenge

Our client, a large blue-chip consultancy and accountancy business, and a major user of contingent workers, took the decision to switch to a contingent workforce managed service programme (MSP). They were hoping to bring about changes including improving: 

  • the candidate experience and brand engagement throughout the recruitment and onboarding process. 

  • contingent worker background checking – most of which required BPSS/FCA level vetting, as well as making cost savings associated with bringing the service in-house and reducing the previous screening time by more than 50%. 

  • management of the contractor workforce and mitigating the number of escalations or grievances being raised. 

  • internal processes and reporting - for example, contingent workers often provided billable hours services to our client’s clients, resulting in requirements for multiple time and expenses capture (one for the MSP provider and one for the billable hours worked). This consistently created issues around poor worker and manager experience, including duplicate completion and approvals of timesheets, and finance issues around reconciliation and allocation of costs. 

The client also wanted to create a situation where direct sourcing would be managed through a newly created in-house contingent worker talent acquisition team, agency supply chain management would also be brought under the client's roof, and they wanted to develop a technology solution to manage the end-to-end recruitment and time capture process that also integrated into their existing SAP platform to capture billable hours - thus creating a single version of the truth for time and expenses.

To support the MSP provision, the client required a partner who could manage the contracting, onboarding, payrolling and assignment management of their contingent workforce, as well as the background checking for newly sourced and incumbent workers. 

The solution

Reed Talent Solutions was appointed to deliver both contingent worker onboarding, management and payroll, and the background checking service for newly sourced and incumbent contingent workers. 

Due to the negative experience the client had with their previous provider of background checks, they originally believed it would not be possible to source a provider who could cover all elements of the service. 

However, our expertise in both contractor management and screening not only demonstrated our ability to onboard, manage and payroll large volumes of contingent workers, but also to manage background checks quickly and accurately for these workers. 

Being able to deliver this as a ‘one-stop-shop’ service, ensured a consistent, high-touch, and highly-transparent service to both client and their contractors, and enabled a high-quality candidate experience with a single point of contact. 

We deployed a dedicated talent engagement team to manage contingent workers from the point they accepted a job offer. The team ensured the following: 

  • Upon notification of offer acceptance from the client, our team engaged the candidate to capture necessary screening information and evidence. Our proprietary screening portal enabled easy online capture of background screening data tailored to the screening level relevant to the role. Additionally, the screening portal was adapted to host the clients mandatory financial probatory checks, a pre-requisite for all new hires. Our talent engagement team were on hand to support the candidate with any queries they had and to ensure information was provided in line with screening service level agreements. 

  • Once screening data was captured, Reed Screening completed the checks. They work24/7, 365 days a year, and have direct integrations with DBS/Disclosure Scotland, credit referencing agencies and fraud checks via CIFAS, meaning screening cases were turned around in an average of less than eight days. 

  • In terms of contracting, our talent engagement consultant engaged workers directly, either via PAYE, umbrella or Ltd company contracts 

  • We ensured contractors had access to, and had read and signed - where required, all client policies 

  • We paid all contingent workers via a weekly payroll following receipt of authorised timesheets, as well as paying all authorised expense claims. The range of contingent workers included contact centre agents on less than £15 per hour, to senior consultants on more than £2,000 per day. As the contract engager for the contingent workforce, we managed all contractual elements across the lifetime assignments. This included query management, extensions, weekly virtual drop-in sessions, re-vetting for timebound checks, engagement and wellness surveys, contractor satisfaction surveys and - for PAYE workers -any required human resources interventions. 

Throughout the contract, we have provided added value to the client. This included supporting them with the development of an in-house technology solution. We provided a considerable contingent worker recruitment process and technology development expertise to ensure the final product was fit for purpose. 

Although it was not part of the original specification, towards the end of the implementation phase it became apparent the client would not be able to manage payments directly to the agency supply chain as had been the intention. 

Our team quickly developed a solution where we would take on management of supply chain payments in addition to payment of contingent workers sourced directly by the client. 

Within a week of ‘go live’, a large division of the client’s organisation urgently needed to put a retention payment scheme in place to retain business critical contractors. As this was not scoped out in the technology workstream, a manual payment process was stood up within four weeks. In all, over 400 contractors are paid under this scheme. 

In the first months of the service, the client also requested a solution outside of the existing timesheet and payroll process to pay contractors whose timesheets had not been authorised in time. As a result, an emergency payroll process was created within two weeks. 

Additionally, the client required a solution to manage Visa processing for overseas contractors and their families. As this was a service we provided into other clients in our contingent worker portfolio, we quickly deployed a solution saving the client valuable time, money, and resource. This service was stood up in just six weeks from initial conversation. 

Our client also went to market for a new screening provider for their permanent hires. Up against all other providers in this market, Reed Screening were awarded the contract which went live in December 2022. 

Due to the success of the screening service, Reed Talent Solutions was approached to create a similar service for our client’s Malta office. That service went live less than four weeks after the initial ask. 

As a knowledgeable partner, we’ve also been asked to advise and support on the need for contractors to travel and work overseas for extended periods of time. Our relationship with an international contract management consultancy provided the perfect solution. We were able to offer the client the ability to gain business permits/right to work documents for UK citizens to work abroad, adhere to in-country tax legislation and be covered by business insurance. 

The results

When the contract commenced, we successfully migrated and contracted more than 850 incumbent contingent workers from the outgoing MSP provider. 

Then, within six months of the contract starting, we were faced with a significant increase in new hire contractor volumes, up from around 70 hires per month up to 350. As a result, we had to rapidly scale up our team across talent engagement, screening, and stakeholder management. 

The account has now grown to a point where we now contract with and payroll a contingent population of more than 1,600 people.

Over the course of the contract, we have:  

  • processed over 90,000 timesheets 

  • completed 1,300 UK and 450 international police checks for contractors 

  • completed 3,900 UK and 2,682 international police checks for permanent hires 

  • undertaken 2,600 reference checks for contractors and 14,000 for permanent hires 

  • created an average time to screen of 10 days 

  • completed 2,300 Visa applications 

  • had zero formal contractor grievances 

On top of that, all service key performance indicator results have been green since the commencement of the partnership, while customer satisfaction for hiring managers and contractors is positive.  

We have had a number of positive comments from both clients and candidates, including: 

From contractors:

“You have been very responsive to my emails from start to finish. You’ve explained things when needed and offered plenty of support along the way. It’s a complex area and I felt you were knowledgeable and capable, as well as keen to help me determine the right thing for me and then you actioned each step promptly.” 

“I would like to express my gratitude and thank you for your time and effort, and particularly your patience in regards to the recent screening. Judging from the recent contact we have had I have no shadow of a doubt that you find yourself in your element within your role and you are a credit to the team. You presented yourself professionally and you delivered exemplary communication skills, these qualities are overshadowed by your personality.” 

“Everyone I have dealt with has been super helpful and has dedicated time to explain everything that I asked them. You should feel proud to have such a professional team.” 

From our client’s hiring managers:

“I have developed a strong professional relationship in a short space of time, which has helped us to resolve some difficult recruitment issues, such as deciding to withdraw offers for certain candidates who we collectively had concerns about.” 

“With regards to the screening service offered by Reed, we are happy with the update calls and information offered, even more so now that members of the talent engagement team join the calls to provide more detailed updates when required.”

Find out more about our managed service programmes, or get in touch with one of our experts to talk through your needs.