Interserve Support Services – Nightingale Hospital
Nightingale Hospital
Interserve Company Overview

Company Background

Interserve is a world leading international support services and construction company. They employ over 50,000 people worldwide, providing a wide range of advice, design, construction, equipment, facilities management and frontline services to more than 7,500 public and private sector clients.

Their support solutions are designed around people and spaces, and always put the end-user at the heart of the matter. They therefore must be agile to respond to the exact and changing needs of their clients, their people and the communities in which they work. This has never been more relevant than during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

cleaner mopping the floor in a hospital

The Challenge 

Interserve were awarded the facilities management contract for the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West in Manchester in March 2020. They required a new temporary workforce including 400+ cleaners to work around the clock to keep the facilities in a clinical clean state.

The high staffing demand during a pandemic combined with the criticality of immediate response made this an unprecedented project for everyone involved. Furthermore, positive cases and deaths related to Covid-19 were continuing to grow, and the entire purpose of these temporary hospitals were to house patients suffering from this highly contagious virus. Despite safety systems being put in place, many temporary workers would be working in or around areas where patients had Covid-19 symptoms. 

The Solution

Our national Account Manager and Manchester recruitment lead immediately started to identify and qualify candidates. Our technology platform built on Jobscience played a powerful role in automating many of the candidate matching steps such as skills, location, availability etc. It also enabled us to find laid-off workers in other professions who were locally based and may have the appetite to seek alternative employment. For example, many of our catering candidates with enhanced-DBS clearance were keen to support the Nightingale effort as Cleaners while the UK food and hospitality sector had shutdown. 

Person typing on a laptop with an overlay depicting an online network
Bar graphs on a desk

The Journey

We knew very early on that an increased pay rate was needed to immediately attract the right volume of workers for the environment. Part of our consideration was the dramatic reduction in public transport, particularly at night, meaning increased travel costs (taxis) for some workers.

We proposed a new rate card to the Interserve Procurement Manager ahead of the project kick-off call, which was accepted as the standard for all agencies to abide by. We also had to be completely upfront and thorough with candidates when qualifying in terms of their working environment – we could not afford to have people dropout through late discovery of personal safety concerns.

The Results

We provided 96 qualified cleaners within 24 hours. At the end of the initial 4-day lead-in we had provided 225 qualified candidates – more than twice as many as all other suppliers combined. 15% of our candidates were from non-cleaning backgrounds but received onsite training and were able to continue working despite the economic impact of Covid-19. Such was the scale of our delivery; we filled the first 3 days of site inductions. We became a familiar, but socially distanced, presence on site, supporting the arrival of new inductees. Despite the enormity of the challenge, NHS Nightingale Hospital North West got the cleaning staff needed. We remained its principal supplier, later expanding support to include catering and portering.

COVID-19 Vaccination Workforce

We have partnered up with Medacs Healthcare to provide both clinical and non-clinical contingent staff for the mass vaccination programme. If you or your colleagues are part of the extraordinary NHS team leading the region’s vaccination programmes, please share news that we can help with the provision and management of both additional clinical and non-clinical roles as needed.

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