FAQs

Q. What is Opus?

Opus is an in-house recruitment agency based in Endeavour House, Ipswich, who specialise in recruiting to all temporary and interim roles within Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils. Opus consultants can also assist you with your permanent recruitment if required.

Opus develop close working relationships with our clients to understand their needs and challenges to provide a high-quality cost-effective service and work with both candidates’ and managers’ best interests in mind.

Q. Do you have offices in any other locations?

In addition to Suffolk County Council and Babergh & Mid Suffolk, Opus recruits temporary workers for Cambridgeshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council, through our joint venture company, Opus LGSS.

Opus candidates have access to jobs across all of our locations. If you would like to receive job alerts from any of our other counties, please call us on 03301 242800 or email Opus at recruitment.opuspeoplesolutions.co.uk and they will be able to arrange this.

Q. What are the benefits for a manager hiring a temp?

As a manager there are huge amounts of benefits to hiring a temp. These include:

• Temporary workers provide quick, short term solutions
• You only pay if a placement is made
• After 12 weeks, there is no charge for a temporary worker being made permanent. This is a good opportunity to see if someone fits the role before inviting them to apply permanently
• We have our own candidate pool, access to multiple jobs boards, our own established website and social media and (if required), a registered supply chain who are regularly audited and signed up to a fixed pricing structure.
• Opus returns am annual dividend to Suffolk County Council so that money is reinvested back in to the organisation
• Many contractors, interims and temporary workers have specialist skillsets and can support specific projects for a set period

Q. What are the benefits of being a temp with Opus?

As a temp with Opus there are lots of benefits. These include:

  • Opus candidates hear about jobs first
  • Opportunity to apply for a permanent position as an ‘internal candidate’
  • Gain experience to support permanent job applications
  • Registration interviews include CV guidance and interview prep

 

 

Q. What are the benefits of using Opus instead of agencies?

As a manager, it is more cost effective to hire a temporary worker directly through Opus as you do not have to pay costly agency fees.

For a temporary worker, working through Opus instead of an agency means that you have a close point of contact for all queries- financial or otherwise. Payroll is administered in-house at Endeavour House with guaranteed weekly payment if timesheets are submitted and approved on time.

Q. Where is your office based?

Opus People Solutions are based in Endeavour House.
You can find us at:
8 Russell Road,
Ipswich
IP1 2BX

Within Endeavour House, you can find us on the third floor, purple.

Q. Can I meet someone to discuss my role in more detail?

Of course! You can meet any of the recruitment consultants or seek assistance from the admin team.

We are based in Endeavour house, third floor purple and someone will be available to meet with you between 8am and 6pm. Alternatively, please feel free to call us on 03301242800 to arrange a meeting.

Q. Is approval needed? What is the process for each directorate?

You may require approval to recruit temporary workers (see below). In line with internal council policies, without this approval, Opus consultants are unable to set up placements.

• Adult and Community Services: Approval to recruit from either Assistant Director or Director.
• Children and Young People: CYP DMT approval to recruit.
• Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils: HR approval to recruit.

Q. What job categories do you recruit to?

We recruit to all areas within the local authorities. The list below outlines the possible job categories a role will fall in to:

  • Admin, Clerical and support roles
  • Building Services & Maintenance
  • Catering/Hospitality
  • Driving
  • Education- Consultancy
  • Education – Supply
  • Engineering & Surveying
  • Facilities & Environmental Services
  • Finance (Qualified/P/Q)
  • General Industrial
  • Health
  • Housing, Benefits & Planning
  • Human Resources
  • IT
  • Legal
  • Leisure
  • Procurement
  • Property
  • Sales/Marketing & Comms
  • Social Care – Qualified SW
  • Social Care – Unqualified
  • Technical
  • Professional
  • Senior Interim

Q. The job title I require isn’t available, what do I do?

All job titles are pre-populated by us so you should be able to select the correct one when creating a new job order request.

If you cannot find your job title, please contact a member of staff at Opus who will set a new one up for you. You will need to confirm the job category (see Job categories) and pay grade. Once this has been completed, you will be able to select it and follow the next steps to place an order for a temp as per the usual process.

Q. How do Opus source candidates?

The majority of temporary workers are Opus candidates, this means a consultant has met, interviewed and conducted full compliance checks.

We also have an overview of all agency workers and verify their compliance. To attract candidates, we combine a variety of marketing techniques which include but are not limited to:

• Referrals
• Job boards
• Job fairs (local & national)
• Social media
• Opus website
• Marketing campaigns

Q. How do people register with Opus?

Candidates can register with Opus by filling in the online form on our website or sending their CV to [email protected]

A consultant will determine if the CV has relevant experience and will contact the individual to discuss the next steps.

The registration process includes online skills testing (if applicable), compliance checks and an interview with a consultant. Once this has been completed, candidates will be notified of suitable vacancies.

Q. How do I appoint a ‘known candidate’?

If you would like to fill a temporary vacancy with a known candidate instead of going through a selection process, please notify Opus of this when completing a new order request and include the individual’s name.

You will need to refer the candidate to Opus to register, a consultant will then conduct a registration to gather compliance and set the placement up as per the normal process.

Appointing known candidates is an excellent way of filling your vacancy quickly, with someone you know you will be able to rely on. Opus regularly place known candidates throughout the summer months when students have a break from studying.

Q. How do I receive CVs to review?

Once your job order has been accepted by Opus, a consultant will contact you to notify you of this and request further information if it is required. The consultant looking after your vacancy will send your suitable CVs via email as soon as possible for you to review.

If the CVs are unsuitable, you will need to provide feedback to Opus advising why, so further CVs can be sourced for you.

Q. External agency process and prohibited contact

As master vendor, Opus is responsible for filling all temporary vacancies. We have a vast specialist supply chain that can support with temporary vacancies should they not be able to fulfil your requirement directly. Please note, only agencies who have signed up to supply via Opus will be contacted and can submit CVs.

All registered suppliers / agencies sign a ‘supplier agreement’ and confirm that all contact will be made via Opus, direct contact between a hiring manager and an agency is strictly prohibited. The agreement also confirms CVs are not to be submitted directly to hiring managers unless this is through Opus.

If you have a temporary vacancy, please contact Opus in the first instance. If an agency contacts you directly, please forward their details to us and we will manage communication on your behalf.

If you have an agency worker temping for you, Opus still manage the placement for you. If you have any questions relating to your temp, a member of our team will be able to assist you.

Q. How do I arrange interviews?

Once you have reviewed CVs and decided who you would like to interview, you will need to contact your consultant at Opus who will book the interviews for you. You will need to provide your availability and the type of interview you would like to hold so the candidates can be fully prepared before attending.

We strongly advise you provide feedback and arrange interviews as soon as possible to ensure candidates do not accept offers elsewhere. Temporary recruitment is fast paced and strong candidates usually have multiple applications for jobs at one time.

Q. Appointing a temp and the next steps

Once you have completed your interviews and made a decision, please notify your Opus consultant of the candidate and include your preferred start date.

You will also need to provide feedback for the unsuccessful candidate(s) so we can share this with them. Feedback is a vital component of the recruitment process and constructive and honest feedback is always welcomed.

We will contact your preferred candidate, confirm acceptance and agree a start date with them for you, this may include negotiating rates on your behalf.

Opus is responsible for compliance checks and we will ensure your candidate is compliant before starting work. Once we have confirmed your candidate is compliant and ready to start work, you will need to request IT access and an ID badge.

Q. Compliance checks

Opus has a thorough compliance process and all checks are completed and signed off by the compliance manager prior to your temporary worker starting.

Compliance checks include:

  • Three year employment history
  • References
  • Proof of right to work in the UK
  • Declaration form
  • Registration form
  • Temporary worker checklist
  • Signed terms of engagement
  • LTD company documents (if required)
  • Enhanced DBS (if required)
  • HCPC (if required)
  • NMC (if required)
  • Driving licence & certificates (if required)

This means you do not need to conduct compliance checks yourself.

Q. ID Badge & IT Set Up

Vertas arrange building access, ID badges and parking for your temporary worker. Please contact them at [email protected]

B&MSDC – Please speak to your HR department, they request IT access for you via the IT Self Service.

SCC – Please request access through IT Self Service.

Q. Health & Safety

Opus is committed to making sure all temporary workers have a safe working environment. When a temporary worker starts an assignment, the hiring manager will receive an Opus health and safety form to complete with their worker. This needs to be completed on the worker’s first day and sent back to us.

Q. My Learning

When your temporary worker’s IT access has been approved, this will automatically prompt your worker’s access to My Learning.

Q. Timesheet Approvers

We suggest having at least two people listed as timesheet approvers per worker. This ensures that someone is available to approve timesheets in times of absence.

You can have more than two approvers listed per worker, to add or remove an approver, email [email protected], with their full name and email address.

Q. IR35 checks & job status

IR35 legislation will not apply to most temporary vacancies, however on occasions, for highly skilled roles, it will. Your consultant at Opus will let you know if a check needs to be completed as part of the recruitment process.
IR35, also known as ‘Intermediaries Legislation’ was introduced in April 2017 and applies to workers within the public sector that work through an intermediary such as a limited company. As these workers are paid through an intermediary, they pay income tax and national insurance in a different way to an employee. The legislation was introduced to ensure all workers’ pay the correct income tax and national insurance contributions. – It is the responsibility of public authorities to determine if IR35 applies to an engagement, a helpful online tool is available for you and all consultants at Opus have been given appropriate training to support you with determining the status of a worker. If the check confirms the legislation does apply, either Opus, the worker’s agency or umbrella company are responsible for making sure income tax and national insurance contributions are deducted correctly.

The tool asks several questions about the engagement including whether the worker will have office holder duties, if a substitute would be accepted and general working arrangements.

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-employment-status-for-tax/setup

For more information, please speak to a consultant at Opus who will be happy to help you.

Q. Memorandum of Co-operation – Social work engagements only

The Memorandum of Co-operation (MOC) is an attempt to work more collaboratively across the East of England initially, and then with bordering councils, to manage the demand and supply of children’s social workers. Suffolk County Council have also taken the decision to adopt this approach for the recruitment of adult’s social workers.

This means qualified social workers that have been permanent within one of the councils listed below within the last 12 months, are unable to work as a locum until a 12 month period has passed. Opus and its registered supply chain are aware of the MOC and will not send you candidates that breach it.

The MOC also regulates pay rates for social workers to ensure consistency across the market. A consultant at Opus will be able to advise you of the correct pay rate, depending on the seniority of the post and payment method chosen.

• Bedford Borough Council
• Cambridgeshire County Council
• Central Bedfordshire Council
• Essex County Council
• Hertfordshire County Council
• Luton Borough Council
• Peterborough City Council
• Norfolk County Council
• Southend Council
• Suffolk County Council
• Thurrock Council

For more information, you can view the link below:

http://adcs.org.uk/assets/documentation/ER_MoC_demand_supply_of_childrens_social_workers.pdf

Q. Manager and temp feedback

For both managers and temps, during the first week of placement Opus will send out a survey to receive your feedback on the placement. This is a short survey which will allow us to gain an understanding of how our service has been and what we can improve for the induction/start of placement process. Additionally, at the end of the placement we will send a similar survey out to assess the success of the full placement.

All feedback is important to Opus as we are constantly looking to improve our service, therefore please feel free to provide feedback throughout the placement if necessary.

Q. Timesheet Approvers

Opus suggest having at least two people listed as timesheet approvers per worker. This ensures that someone is available to approve timesheets in times of absence. You can have more than two approvers listed per worker, to add or remove an approver, email [email protected], with their full name and email address.

Q. How can I reset my Matrix password?

To reset your password press the forgotten password hyperlink on Matrix’s homepage.

You will receive a temporary password email from Matrix. Please check your junk mail if you haven’t received it.
If your Matrix account has been disabled, please get in touch with the admin team either on 03301242800 or [email protected]

Q. What are the timesheet deadlines?

Timesheets for direct workers MUST be submitted and approved by 12:00pm on Mondays. It is the workers’ responsibility to submit their timesheet in enough time for it to be approved by their manager- therefore we recommend that the timesheet is submitted by 17:00pm on Friday. It is also the workers’ responsibility to ensure that their timesheet is approved on time- please contact an Opus administrator if you have any queries regarding timesheet deadlines. The deadline for Agency, Ltd and Umbrella workers’ timesheets is Tuesday at midnight.

Q. Temp sick pay

Temporary workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are off sick for 4 or more days- but this must be entered into their timesheet for the corresponding week. A doctor’s note will be required after 7 days. For assistance in the submission and approval of a timesheet including sickness please contact the Opus administration team.

Q. Compassionate Leave

Any period of compassionate leave is not paid. You may be able to cover this using your accrued holiday balance

Q. Bank Holidays

The deadline for submission and approval of timesheets over bank holidays changes. Please look out for a communication sent to all managers and workers prior to the bank holiday detailing exactly when the deadline will be.

Q. Nest pension scheme

Temporary workers are automatically opted-in to our chosen pension scheme- Nest. This is not the same as LGPS. They will be sent a Nest welcome pack when they start their placement which will provide them with all the details needed to log in to their Nest account. They are able to opt-out of Nest during the opt-out period (the one month period that starts three working days from their Nest enrolment date). More details regarding Nest can be found here: https://www.nestpensions.org.uk/schemeweb/nest/members.html

Q. AWR

The AWR are designed to give temporary agency workers equal treatment like permanent employees regarding pay and working conditions. After 12 weeks in the same role, workers will be afforded equal pay and employment conditions as if they had been hired directly into that role by the Hirer at the start of the 12-week period. For most temporary workers this may mean an increase in their hourly rate after 12 weeks to bring them in line with permanent staff and/or an increased rate of holiday accrual. If you have any questions regarding AWR please speak to your consultant.

Q. What is an Agency, Ltd or Umbrella worker?

Agency: An agency worker is one who is supplied by an agency that is fulfilling an Opus placement. The worker will be paid by their agency and the agency will be paid via our self-billing process on 30 day terms.

Umbrella: An umbrella worker is an Opus worker who has chosen to be paid via an umbrella company. The funds for these workers are paid to the umbrella company who then pay the worker- this is also completed through our self-billing system on 7 day terms.

Ltd: A Limited Company worker is one who works and is paid through their own limited company. This is usually paid on 7 day terms and through our self-billing process.

Q. Compliments, Comments & Complaints

As an organisation, we are committed to providing a quality service for our customers, workers and suppliers. Compliments, comments and complaints about the service provided are of great value. All complaints are taken very seriously, and any feedback is greatly appreciated as it provides Opus with an opportunity to improve standards.

If you wish to pay a compliment or comment or make a complaint, please contact Opus using the appropriate contact details set out below including a reference to the nature of your contact (e.g. Compliment, Comment, Complaint):

T: 03301 242800

E: [email protected]

Compliments, Comments & Complaints Policy

Q. How are temporary workers paid?

If temps work directly through Opus they are paid weekly on their agreed rate. So long as their timesheet is submitted on Matrix (Find out how to do this here) and approved (Find out how to do this here) before the deadline of 12pm on Monday they will be paid the following Friday- this is always one week in arrears. If the temp works through an agency or umbrella company, they will have their own agreement regarding payment.

Q. How do temporary workers get payslips?

Each week you will receive a password protected PDF file to your personal email address. The format of your password will be outlined in your placement confirmation email.

Your email address and password can be amended at your request.

Q. How will Opus charge me?

The worker will submit a weekly timesheet that will generate the charges. Opus will then produce an invoice to be sent to Suffolk County Council weekly in arrears, this will be recharged internally to your budget code.

Q. Mileage and Expenses

Mileage and expenses can be claimed on timesheets with prior agreement from the client and/or manager. The standard mileage rate is 45p per mile, or 23p for social workers.

Q. Temp to Perm

If your temporary worker is offered a permanent job within 12 weeks of their start date, there is likely to be a charge – please speak to an Opus consultant to confirm details.

Q. Charge rates (including pre and post candidate rates)

Opus pay rates reflect the council’s set pay scales. During the recruitment process, you will be notified of the relevant charges for a temporary worker.

Pension, NI and holiday are included in your overall charge rate. If you have a query regarding a timesheet and/or the rates charged, please contact an Opus consultant.

Q. Negotiating rates

Our consultants can advise on current market rates and expected salaries and will be able to negotiate costs on your behalf.

If your vacancy doesn’t fall within a set grade, a consultant will be able to provide you with some guidance on this and what you can expect to pay so please make them aware of your budget.

Q. Temporary Worker Leaver Process – Worker

On your last day please return your ID badge and any additional equipment used throughout your temporary placement. Once we have been informed of your last day, we will make you a leaver on our systems. This will ensure any outstanding accrued holiday will be paid to you with your final payslip.

You can find details of your current accrued holiday cash balance on your most recent payslip. Additionally, your P45 will be sent electronically to your personal email address and will be password protected. The password to access your P45 is the same as your payslip password.

If you would like to look for another temporary role with us please contact [email protected]

Q. Temporary Worker Leaver Process – Manager

On your temporary worker’s last day, please escort them out of the building and return their ID badge to Vertas Security. Please also ensure you have informed us of the worker’s last day. This will ensure their IT access is closed down, and their P45 is issued.

Q. LADO

If a temporary / agency worker has an allegation made against them, we will assist the LADO with any relevant information that is requested of them.