Direct engagement, explained

Everything you need to know about direct engagement.

Direct engagement vs traditional agency employment

Direct engagement is a workforce management service, utilised by some NHS organisations when engaging Pulse workers. When your employment is on a direct engagement basis, this means the NHS trust we place you with will directly facilitate your contract, your timesheets, and payroll.  

There are a number of direct engagement models, and generally you access all of these online. Depending on which NHS organisation you are working with will depend on the direct engagement online portal you will use.   

This is what we’re here to explain.  

Using direct engagement portals

We’ve detailed everything you need to know about the direct engagement portal you’re using. Don’t worry, we will let you know which one of these is relevant to you when discussing your upcoming placement.

Allocate StaffDirect

NHSP Connect


How does direct engagement work?

There are various different direct engagement models being used by NHS trusts. Generally, a direct engagement model offers you access to an easy-to-use online portal, where you manage the terms of your employment, submit your timesheets, access pension schemes and receive payments, all directly with the NHS trust you’re working with. However, not all direct engagement models are the same, which we will explain to you.

Using a direct engagement portal means you will agree to the NHS trust’s terms and conditions for the duration of your placement.

As you are paid directly by the NHS trust, there is potential for a more regulated pay system as the NHS has influence over healthcare professionals’ rates of pay. Also, every hour worked through direct engagement saves your trust money that can be reinvested into the NHS.

Frequently asked questions

If I’m employed through direct engagement, will I lose contact with Pulse?

Simply put, no you won’t. Our NHS clients use Pulse to find and place expert healthcare professionals, whilst also using our services to manage compliance checks. We will fully support you with contract negotiations, training and development, and of course you will still have access to all the great benefits we have on offer. So, even when you are employed through a direct engagement service, you’re still part of the Pulse team.   

Do I need to work via direct engagement?

If the NHS trust we are placing you with is utilising a direct engagement model, then yes. We will make sure you are fully aware of the NHS trust’s direct engagement model and terms. If you’re not sure, speak to your consultant who will be able to advise on your situation specifically. 

Do I have a choice between direct engagement portals?

No, you will only have access to the specific direct engagement model for the NHS trust you are working with. There are various direct engagement models, and therefore different online portals, so depending on which NHS trust you are working with will determine which online portal you use.  

Our comprehensive guides around each direct engagement portal will ensure you have all the information you need before you commence your placement. 

How do I find information about the online portal I need to use?

If your placement requires you to work through direct engagement you will find everything you need to know about your specific portal by clicking on the links above.

Further support

If you have further questions about direct engagement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our specialist teams: