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4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Social Work Recruitment Agency

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​Locum social work is an attractive career path for social workers looking for flexibility in their role and a chance to gain experience with different teams and service users. The first step to starting your career in locum social work is finding a recruitment agency who will help to find you locum jobs that match your needs.

Here are our top things to look out for when choosing a social work recruitment agency.

1.  Research

Social work is an area of high demand and there are hundreds of social work recruitment agencies operating across the country. As well as looking into the types of roles an agency offers, also look for key information such as the registration process and any added benefits the agency offers its workers.

It’s also important to look beyond their website for things such as reviews or social media mentions to gauge an idea of their reputation from other candidates and clients.

Sadly, some agencies can be unscrupulous and often if they sound too good to be true, they usually are!  If an agency cuts corners around key issues like compliance and tax legislation this could place you at significant risk.

2.  Understanding your pay

It is important to understand that pay rates are often fixed by the hiring local authority and therefore no agency can offer more money than another.

Take time to understand what pay method is right for you.  PAYE? Via an Umbrella Company? Or perhaps a deemed payment to your LTD company?

Be wary if an agency is trying to push you to work with a particular Umbrella Company. This can be because the agency are getting kickbacks from the Umbrella Company.  If one Umbrella Company is offering you a higher take home pay than the rest this is likely to be due to a tax avoidance schemes. More information on this can be foundhere.

It can be a minefield, however at Opus, we are wholly owned by the public sector and will provide open, honest and transparent advice on your payment options.

3.  Honest communication

Once you have found a few agencies you like the look of, contact them to have a chat about what you’re looking for and how they can help. A good recruiter will be honest about the types of roles they have available and the application process . You can also use this as an opportunity to understand more about the agency’s relationship with its clients and the knowledge they have of the organisations they work with. Your consultant will be responsible for finding vacancies on your behalf, so it’s important that they understand your requirements and that you can trust that they have your best interests in mind.

4.  Availability of vacancies

Some local authorities will have a designated agency that they work directly with to source candidates. This means that vacancies are released to this agency first and candidates registered with this agency are therefore first to hear about available jobs in that authority. In this instance, other agencies act as suppliers to the main agency. In many cases, jobs will only be released to the supplier agencies if the main agency doesn’t have a suitable candidate.

Before registering with any social work recruitment agencies, it’s always worth checking if the organisation you wish to work in has any existing contracts or relationships with certain agencies. This can help you to make sure you register with an agency that has access to the most jobs and is focused on working with the best interests of both candidates and clients in mind.

Ready to take your next steps in locum social work?

At Opus, we work directly with several public sector organisations in the East of England to manage their locum social work recruitment. By registering with us you’ll be first to hear about locum social work jobs in Suffolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, the Northamptonshire Unitary Authorities, Milton Keynes Council, and the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust.

For more information on how we can help you find the perfect social work role, contact a member of our dedicated social work recruitment team today on 03301 242 800 or .