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About Us

Who we are

Founded in 2012, Sheldon Phillips is a niche Social Work recruitment agency supplying both locum and permanent staff into the Qualified Social Work sector.

With nearly 15 years experience in the Social Care sector, we focus our time on you. Your job search is personal and everyone is different, so our consultants are trained to ensure your job search is as unique as you are.

Not looking for a job right now? Our team are highly trained to deal with any questions you have, even if you just want some advice on where your career can go. From first year students, to experienced Heads of Service, we are here to answer any questions you might have.

  • Social Work

    Social Work

    Becoming a Qualified Social Worker can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. As a job a...

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Approved by hundreds of candidates and clients for our personal service

​Rhys is not like other recruiters you come across. He makes you feel like a human and not just a ‘number’ or a ‘KPI’. With other recruiters, I felt like I was just another social worker to place in a role that was going to be an “easy sell” and not too much work to convince the local authority who was hiring. They didn’t care about my individual professional experience and the next steps I wanted to take in my career. Rhys genuinely cares about the people he works with and wants them to feel fulfilled professionally. He also has...

Social Worker

​I would definitely recommend Sheldon Phillips, especially working with Fred Thomas. Fred is absolutely amazing at what he does, not only is he there for you professionally but he knows how to support you in whatever way needed (and for me that sometimes meant talking me off the ledge when things weren’t going as planned). I’m currently overseas (Canada) and moving to England.Fred has handled all the details for me, matched me with a great employer in my field of practice and had supported me through the hiring process and continues to support me through the moving process.Fred is always...

Social Worker

​Absolutely wonderful. Very proactive in finding permanent vacancies in the location and roles you want. Very good at being clear with managers about your profile and interests. I am so pleased I was able to get an interview and a job in under 24 hours. A personal thank you to Fred Thomas

Social Worker

​I have been quite picky with my search and Rhys was able to find me something that I wanted. Other recruiters in my experience would try to expand the search but Rhys and the staff at Sheldon Phillips were respectful of what I wanted and were patient and understanding. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a new role!

Social Worker

My consultant is Rhys and ​I have found all the staff at Sheldon Phillips to be really helpful at all times. They are personable and interested in getting me the right role and ensuring I continue to be happy in that role. If you want an agency that feels a bit like a family, or at the very least a group of really solid and nice people who are invested in your wellbeing and happiness, choose Sheldon Phillips.

Social Worker

News & BLOGS

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Why Go Permanent
Why Go Permanent?

​Why Go Permanent?Locum rates are at an all time high. Local Authorities are increasing rates time and time again to ensure they get the best available locum staff. So, you ask yourself, why go permanent?Because the bubble will burst – rates cannot stay this high and be sustainable. I’m not saying that to shock or sound dramatic, it’s just a realistic view on public finances, especially after the pandemic.So other than the money side of things, why should you consider going permanent and staying that way?Career Progression - This is a big issue for a lot of locum staff that come to us, who decide to go permanent. They have worked for years, honing their skills, but struggle to step up into a management role, because step up posts are very rarely handed out to locum staff. If you want to progress into management and beyond, the best way to do that is in a permanent role.Generous Annual Leave– We work with authorities that offer a minimum of 29 days PLUS bank holidays! As a locum, if you want to take time off, you will have to accrue TOIL and even then, it sometimes isn’t enough to take that well earned break with your friends or family.Maternity/Paternity & Sick Leave – At certain points in your life you may want/need to take time off for new arrivals and Local Authorities offer a fantastic Maternity/Paternity package for their permanent staff. As we all know, Social Work can be very hard and we all get sick sometimes. Instead of adding stress of no hourly pay, as a permanent member of staff you will be covered so you or family don’t face financial concerns. Training & Further Qualifications – Sometimes locum staff are lucky enough to receive critical training in the role they have started in, but the non-mandatory training, skills that will help you develop as a Social Worker will only be reserved for Permanent staff. Also, did you know that if you want to seek further qualifications like Practice Educator, PQ 1,2, etc you employer will have a fund specifically for your development! Recruitment & Retention – We all know this is hard in Social Work, but Local Authorities are offering some fantastic packages if you decide to permanent. Golden Hello’s of up to £5k plus annual retention bonuses; some will even pay them on a monthly basis, rather than in bulk so you see more of the money instead of the tax man! Furthermore, some authorities will even allow you a fully paid sabbatical AND a lump sum after 5 years of service! Who fancies 3 months full pay on an island drinking cocktails?....Continuation of Service & Pension Schemes - The longer you are a permanent member of staff for a Local Authority you will build up continuation of service benefits. This also includes adding annual leave days to your allowance where you work, so its pays to stick with a permanent role in the long term too! Also, continuation of service will help your pension plans too, so this is a great way of preparing for your future retirement.Stability & Security – Probably the first thing you will think of, but it really does make a big difference. Although locum seems secure, and in some cases it really can be, if you envisage a future outside of the front line services, locum roles are fewer and farther between. Going permanent will most likely be the only option if you choose to leave the front line.So why not have a think about what I’ve had to say here. This isn’t just a “New Year, New Me” call; it’s a stop and really consider your long term career plans call!I am working with some of the best Service Managers and Heads of Service out there, so get in touch to discuss your long term career plans.Give our permanent team a call on 01635 226350 and we can help you find that role that really excites you.

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New Year, New Targets!

​New Year, New Targets!​It’s no secret now that we decided last year to freshen up the Sheldon Phillips branding and logo. We capped that off with a stunning new website and colour palette that I’m really quite proud of. It rejuvenated our business and our outlook for the year ahead.That’s all well and good I hear you say, but service is what matters! And you are right – no one is more important to us than you, our candidates and clients who have worked with us more recently and over the last 9 and a half years! 2021 was a very strong year for us when you needed our services more than ever. Hopefully, the pressures that have come with the pandemic are starting to ease.Last year our locum desk grew substantially and we won some fantastic new contracts, including Local Authorities in London, Berkshire and on the South Coast, among many others. Huge credit goes to Rhys Rafferty, our locum consultant who has really put his stamp on the locum division this year. Towards the end of the year we welcomed Fred, our new consultant to tackle the permanent side of the business and he has made an impressive start to life with Sheldon Phillips. The permanent and locum divisions are growing month on month and we hope to roll out Nationally during 2022.As we approach our 10 year anniversary, I have set some pretty big goals for the business, including maximising our office space with an array of talented consultants all driven to providing the very best service and adhering to our company values.As we move firmly into 2022, you will see a lot of growth in terms of our offering as a business. Rolling out Nationally across the UK is the first goal and we have huge plans for our International offering for Local Authorities too.Come and join us for the ride, it’s going to be a great one!If you are a Qualified Social Worker or Manager looking got a new challenge, get in touch with our team on 01635 226350.

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Social Work   Flexible Working Blog
To be, or not to be…flexible

​To be, or not to be...flexibleTo say that the last 18 months have been difficult is probably the biggest faux pas since our very own Prime Minister quoted Kermit The Frog recently at a UN climate change conference. “It’s not easy being green” will now forever in my mind be linked to that awkward silence often attributed to a bad joke told by the best man at a wedding.The pandemic has changed the way that we work exponentially and in some ways for the better. For years as recruiters, we have tried to convince our clients to embrace technology and conduct video interviews to make processes more efficient and the fact we all had to lock down and limit contact with others has led to this monumental change. For Social Workers, this has opened up the opportunity to work from home, using video calls to attend meetings as and when needed; introducing a much more flexible lifestyle – something Social Workers have never been used to.As the UK vaccination program hit its peak and with far less impact on hospitalisations and deaths compared with 12 months ago, Local Authorities are now slowly starting to open up their doors again, bringing with it the question – stick or twist? Do they continue to be flexible and allow home working where possible, or do they bring everyone back into the office like its 2019 again?The answer is that most, if not all authorities are adopting a hybrid model, a rota style system to allow Social Workers to enjoy the best of both worlds, because lets face it, we are creatures of habit and we need social interaction. The jobs market is still as buoyant as ever and after a summer that has seen a huge jump in annual leave being taken, things are starting to settle and more candidates are deciding to make their moves before the darker nights settle in.​Are you happy with your new way of working? Speak to our experienced team to discuss your options and find the new role you deserve.

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Superman Logo Blog
Social Workers - Unsung Heroes

Social Workers - Unsung Heroes​In general, Social Workers get a bad reputation in the media, but in this day and age with Social Media being such a big influence in many people’s lives, there are countless ways that social workers and us as professionals working in the sector can sing the praises of what you do every single day. As a sector I think we need to get better at saying “I’ve done a great job here” for this young person or familyI’ve been working with social workers for nearly 12 years and I’ve lost count of the many stories of positive outcomes for children and families that have been shared with me when meeting professionals. I am in a privileged position to hear these stories but unfortunately the general public only hear the negative stories. They don’t see you in the office until late in the evening trying to complete those court reports or taking a child out for a bite to eat. They don’t understand or recognise the fact that as a Social Worker, you put your own life on hold sometimes to help those that need you most.In 2018, Channel 4 aired the drama series “Kiri” to mixed reviews. Of course, the negative reaction towards social work raised it’s ugly head yet again however there was a really lovely moment for “Miriam” (Sarah Lancaster) when she was faced with four young people who she had helped as younger children. They all had the same message: I am who I am today, because of you and we are so grateful for that. I think it would be brilliant to see more stories like this in Social Work publications and across Social Media in general.The COVID19 pandemic tested us as a nation. It tested our resolve, our freedoms and it tested and stretched our basic human be close to others. However, as a sector, Social Workers, their managers, front line workers were all pushed to limits and boundaries we never thought possible. So from me personally and from our team, thank you for all of your hard work each and every day.

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Uncompliant Umbrella Companies: A Change in Law

​Uncompliant Umbrella Companies: A Change in Law​Uncompliant ModelsWhen the IR35 changes were made in the public sector in April 2017, many public sector workers including lots of Social Workers felt that a huge weight had been put onto their shoulders.  The weight of HMRC trying to make up a huge void in unpaid or avoided tax which was created in part by the confusion around IR35 and running a PSC when it was first introduced in 2000.  After months of finding their feet, after these changes, another very real threat has emerged - Umbrella Companies appearing as if by magic, offering the holy grail.....90% take home pay!  Now you might be thinking, "Yes! My prayers have been answered!" but believe me, this couldn't be further from the truth.Most people know, or should, that the UK basic rate of tax is 20% and so the more you earn, that banding moves into a higher rate of tax.  So how on earth can an Umbrella Company tell me I only have to pay 10% tax?  One answer......Tax Avoidance.  These schemes come in many forms with "grey areas" and "loop holes" touted to try and uphold their compliance with HMRC.  The truth is, if you are using an Umbrella Company that pays you a small hourly rate or weekly wage, which is then topped up by a bonus, commission or even a loan - you could be in trouble.  If any of this sound familiar, head over the HMRC website and search "Spotlight" where you can find more information.The safest way to work and ensure that you are paying the correct taxes (and avoid a tax bills and penalties) is to use an FCSA accredited Umbrella Company.  These Umbrella's have been audited to ensure they are making the right decisions and that you pay all of the right taxes to the Government.  Here at Sheldon Phillips, we have created a small PSL of FCSA accredited Umbrella companies, so you can be sure that whatever money you take home at the end of the week, is yours to spend without fear of any wrong doing.A Change in the LawYou may have noticed that Recruitment Agencies have recently started to create PSL's of Umbrella Companies and have even asked you to change your current Umbrella.  This is because from 30th September 2017 a new criminal offense: Failing to prevent Tax Evasion was introduced.  Simply put, and without getting into too much legal jargon, this focuses on Recruitment Agencies or intermediary's in the chain to ensure that the contractor is paying the correct tax and national insurance contributions.  So in short, if an agency allow you to knowingly use a provider that evades paying correct taxes, they can be subject to huge fines and even a prison sentence!Our StanceAt Sheldon Phillips, we have taken the decision to create a small PSL of FCSA accredited Umbrella Companies, to ensure that all of our contractors are safe in knowing that all of the correct deductions are being made.  This list has been created through years of good service and plenty of due diligence done by Managing Director, Jamie Trick.  So when you work with us, you can sleep soundly, knowing that you are 100% compliant, 100% of the time.

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IR35 - The Facts

Explanation of the new IR35 Legislation, our thoughts and what Sheldon Phillips are doing to help you with the new changes.Following a lengthy consultation period in August of 2016, HMRC have confirmed that their planned legislation change to IR35 will go ahead, taking effect on 6th April 2017. Sheldon Phillips have been heavily involved with the consultation meetings with HMRC and our industry body, the REC. As well as a written letter to HMRC, we also took the opportunity to directly write to the Chancellor of The Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Education and Child Protection. You may have seen our letter on our website and also on Linkedin. In short, anyone falling “inside IR35 legislation” will be subject to deemed employment dedications which will be made by the entity that pays the worker using their own Ltd Company (PSC) which in most cases will be the Recruitment Agency, i.e. Sheldon Phillips. Off Payroll Explained Off payroll describes anyone who is paid out side of normal PAYE processes; so anyone using their own Limited Company (PSC) would be categorized under this term.Current ProcessUnder the current legislation, the liability to pay all deemed employment taxes falls on the Ltd Company – Income Tax, National Insurance and Employers NI contributions. If you fall outside of IR35, you would traditionally take a lower salary via payroll and then take dividends from the company, therefore paying less tax. Falling inside IR35 means that your income is deemed as employed income, therefore income tax, etc should be paid to HMRC in the normal way. HMRC estimate there are more than 200,000 Limited Company’s in the UK and by their own admission, cannot allocate enough resource to investigate whether each company is operating in the correct way.​Moving ForwardFrom April 6th 2017 when the new legislation is introduced, HMRC will move the liability to make deemed employment payments for workers operating their own Ltd Company to the entity who pays the invoice; Sheldon Phillips. There are a number of criteria that would place a worker within IR35 legislation but the main parameters for this would be if the worker is providing a personal service, if they are subject to supervision, direction and control and also the right to provide a substitute. Due to the Professional code of practice and criteria from both BASW and the HCPC it is our belief that all social workers will be subject to the new changes within IR35 legislation. Receiving supervision or working in a controlled way is something all social workers are subject to and as a contractor, you cannot simply send a substitute worker to carry on with your allocated cases should you not be able to attend work in your assignment. That person would be subject to an interview process, compliance checks and it would not provide continuity or stability to the service users of the authority, therefore it would not be accepted.Local Authorities and MSP’s In the coming weeks, once official communication has been received by HMRC, Local Authorities and MSP’s (Matrix, REED, De Poel) will need to decide on their own action regarding these changes and in some cases, may mean that using a PSC (Ltd Company) will simply not be allowed. Other options available will be to use a compliant Umbrella Company and for your agency to put you through their own PAYE processes. In practice, going through agency PAYE will dramatically reduce your hourly rate and so it is our understanding that you will be better off using a compliant Umbrella Company, through which you will be eligible for employment rights like holiday pay, sick pay, etc. Our Commitment To You To ensure that these changes are handled correctly and to avoid any disruption to your assignments, we at Sheldon Phillips are here to help guide you through every step of the way. We will be arranging an event in London for all of our Social Workers to attend, along with any colleagues who would be interested to talk about the legislation face to face and provide you with viable options for compliant Umbrella Companies. There will be a dedicated Q&A section to try and put any concerns you have to rest, so you can concentrate on your busy working lives. This will be communicated shortly via email, our website and on Linkedin.

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Image 2021 06 15 T03 14 25
Image 2021 06 15 T03 14 25

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At Sheldon Phillips, we pride ourselves on our personal service for both candidates and clients. We work differently to other agencies be getting to know you. Listening is our best skill because we want to hear what you have to say!