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Headhunters cut costs

PRIVATE schools and universities will be offered significantly reduced recruitment costs after being included in the State Government’s centralised recruitment structure for the first time.

The move could result in more recruitment work being shifted to the government’s discount rates, with industry speculation that the total centralised contract could blow out by as much as 60 per cent to $20 million.

Contract and Management Services director government buying services John Tondut said the contract for the provision of temporary personnel was previously used by State and local government, the government’s trading enterprises like the Water Corporation and Western Power, and public benevolent institutions.

“Traditionally it’s been used by State Government and State Government agencies but what we’re doing now is asking suppliers to open up to universities, Commonwealth departments, third party providers and private schools to provide the benefits of the contract to a wider group,” Mr Tondut said.

For the 1999/2000 period the contract was worth $12.4 million to the 21 recruitment firms included on the preferred provider panel.

Contract and Management Services were unable to comment on a possible increase in this figure as they claim the level of expenditure is determined by the individual agencies seeking temporary employees. Recruitment businesses that tender for the preferred supplier panel offer a lower fee rate because of the high volume of work the contract gives them the opportunity to access.

“About 20 companies are on the current panel and I assume there will be a fairly large number again, I think it’s a good outlook for the industry,” Mr Tondut said.

However, as the contract is non-mandatory, inclusion on the panel is not a guarantee of work.

A recruitment industry source said by allowing more businesses access to the reduced rates, more clients expected to be charged below standard market rates.

“You have to tender lower to get the volume, but then we might have previously had a relationship with these institutions,” an industry source said

“If you’re going to give the tender to everyone, more and more people expect lower rates.”

A tender to select the panel of preferred suppliers from recruitment businesses will be announced in the next month.

Audrey Jackson, executive director of the Association of Independent Schools, was unaware that private schools would have access to the common use contract follow-ing the announcement of the supplier panel.

“Where it might be useful is on the business administration side if they needed help or they might use it for administration for clerical work but they’re not going to use it for teachers,” Ms Jackson said.

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