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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

​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

​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

​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

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

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Interview Tips   L As And Trusts
Social Work Interview Advice: LA's and Trusts

Interview Tips - Local Authorities and TrustsHere we have a list of some great tips and ideas to make sure that you really sell yourself at interview with Local Authorities and Trusts. You need to prepare whether it is a locum or permanent role, but always remember......BELIEVE in your own experience and do everything you can get that across.​​1.       Understand the Local Authority or Trusts mission and values: Before the interview, research their mission and values. Be prepared to speak about how your personal values align with those of the client. 2.       Be prepared to talk about your experience: Prepare specific examples of your experience working with diverse populations, managing difficult situations, and using evidence-based practices. 3.       Demonstrate empathy and active listening: Social workers need to be able to empathize with clients and actively listen to their concerns. During the interview, demonstrate your ability to do so by reflecting back on what the interviewer has said and asking thoughtful follow-up questions. 4.       Highlight your communication skills: Social workers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, and other professionals. Be prepared to give examples of how you have communicated effectively in past work experiences. 5.       Show your commitment to ongoing professional development: Social workers need to stay up-to-date on best practices and be committed to ongoing professional development. Be prepared to talk about your continued education and how you stay current in your field. 6.       Address self-care and burnout prevention: Social workers are at risk of experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue due to the emotional demands of the job. During the interview, be prepared to discuss how you address self-care and prevent burnout in your work. 7.       Demonstrate cultural humility: Social workers need to be able to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds. During the interview, demonstrate your cultural humility by discussing your awareness and respect for cultural differences and how you have worked with diverse populations in the past. 8.       Discuss your knowledge of community resources: Social workers need to be knowledgeable about community resources that can help clients. During the interview, be prepared to discuss your knowledge of community resources and how you have connected clients with those resources in the past.We like to offer candidates and clients as much advice as we can, so why not talk to one of our helpful team on 01635 226 350?

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Good New Stories #1
Good News Story #1

​Good News Story #1We want to help change the public perception of Social Work and focus on what makes our sector such a good place to be! Yes there will always be issues as in any line of work, but being a Social Worker can bring so much satisfaction and positivity, especially when positively affecting change in the life of a person in need. Here is the first in a series of good news stories from real Social Workers, sharing their real stories. We hope you enjoy.​I was in my local Aldi queuing up with my shopping where a man stood behind me with a 11 ish year old boy. The 11 year old was huffing that there was a queue and that they should open more tills, I chuckled to myself and turned round and said ‘You’re not wrong there!’ The young boy look familiar and so did the older male he was with. It instantly clicked, he was a child that I had removed from his parents during the pandemic due to long standing neglect and his parents alcohol and drug use. The wider family were desperately sad that they couldn’t have him long term but he was destined for great things. It was a case I was covering on behalf of my colleague whilst she was off sick- I had only met him maybe 5/6 times before I had to issue proceedings, there was always something so loveable about him. A care order was granted and it was agreed for him to go into long term foster care, his parents didn’t contest the care plan and have never turned up to contact. I immediately said ‘are you (Childs name)?’ He said yes! I introduced myself to him and said do you remember me? He took a second, I think because I was out of work clothes, in his local Aldi and didn’t look my usual professional self. He said YES! He instantly hugged me and said ‘thank you, I love my foster family.’ I was gobsmacked at his response- he told me how he was moving up to senior school, he sees his wider family once a month for the weekend and loves his foster brother. The foster carer also put two and two together and recognised me and told me how well he was doing and how proud they were. Whilst still waiting in the queue the foster carer quickly ran to grab something he forgot- I had a brief moment with him alone when I said ‘are you sure you’re happy?’ The young boy said his views with conviction and that he truly was happy. And I believe him. We paid for our shopping and continue to have a catch up chat, he asked how my dog was and whether I still had the ‘nice car’ that I drove him from his parents to placement in. He was so brave that day. I wished him well and told him that if he ever saw me to come and say hello, he promised he would and we had a farewell hug, instigated by him. I packed my shopping in my car and sat there full with emotion, but happy emotions that he was doing more than just ok. Social worker is ever demanding, ever stressful and ever scrutinised. Yet moments like that, that really do catch you off guard with real success stories are the reason we do our job. I will forever remember the bravery of him and the power of loving foster carers. ​Have you got a story you would like to share with us? Contact our team on 01635 226 350 or send over your experiences via email to

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Why Become A Social Worker
Why Become A Social Worker?

​Why Become A Social Worker?Being a children's Social Worker in the UK is a tough but rewarding job. Social Workers are responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, and it's a role that requires a great deal of empathy, patience and resilience.Social Workers in the UK work in a variety of settings, from local authorities to non-governmental organizations, and they deal with a wide range of issues, from child protection to adoption and foster care. No matter what the specific role, however, the aim is always the same: to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families in need.One of the most challenging aspects of being a children's social worker is dealing with cases of child abuse and neglect. These are situations where children are at serious risk of harm, and it can be emotionally draining to witness the trauma and suffering that they endure. Social workers must be able to manage their own emotions in these situations, while also providing support and guidance to children and families.In addition to managing cases of child abuse and neglect, social workers also provide a range of other support services to families. They work with parents to help them improve their parenting skills and create a safe and nurturing home environment for their children. They also offer support to children who may be struggling with mental health issues, behavioural problems or other challenges.One of the most rewarding aspects of being a children's social worker is seeing the positive impact that you can have on the lives of children and families. Whether it's helping a child to find a permanent home through adoption or fostering, or working with a family to resolve conflicts and improve relationships, social workers can make a real difference in the lives of those they work with.Despite the challenges, there are many reasons why people choose to become social workers. For many, it's a vocation: a calling to work with vulnerable children and families and to make a positive difference in the world. For others, it's the satisfaction of knowing that their work is helping to create a better future for the next generation.Social workers in the UK also benefit from a supportive network of colleagues and professional organizations. They work in teams with other social workers, as well as with professionals from other disciplines, such as health and education. They also have access to ongoing training and development opportunities, which help them to stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in their field.Despite the many challenges of the job, social workers in the UK play a vital role in safeguarding the welfare of children and families. They are dedicated professionals who are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of those they work with. If you're considering a career in social work, know that it can be a demanding but incredibly rewarding profession, one that allows you to make a real difference in the world.Are you considering a career as a Social Worker? Contact our team on 01635 226350 for the very best advice!

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Dear Social Worker
'Dear Social Worker....'

​This is a wonderful poen written by Charmaine Malcolm, a fellow of Frontline:Dear social worker,Waking up over the past few weeks to reports in the media that social workers are child killers, baby snatchers and evil people. Well, it simply is not true. There have been many children whose lives have been ended prematurely, by people they expected to protect them and not one of them died at the hands of their social worker, not one.Social worker, whilst you are a valuable resource to the nation you are not yet as respected as other professionals, your profession has had significant fiscal deficits and this has affected recruitment, retention, resources, caseloads and of course morale. Social worker I know you work compassionately and meaningfully with children, because you know how important it is to secure better outcomes for the children you see.Social worker, each day you wake up with a passion to help the most vulnerable members of our society, during the pandemic you have been instrumental in keeping children safe. You continued to visit children, you went the extra mile, you responded to increased complexity without additional resources, you worked whilst experiencing your own trauma and personal problems. You supported the sickness and significant bereavements without community and within your personal lives. You navigated new government systems to help our families where poverty became their new normal and food banks became their life supply. You supported families when their universal credit was reduced, you have seen mental health complexity increase amongst parents, children and amongst work colleagues. You have been exhausted, you have worked during your annual leave, you continue to come into work when you are unwell, you are anxious about your workload piling up and do not want to be a burden to colleagues. Social worker, you are always thinking, ever thoughtful, loving and kind.You visit families where at times the risks are unknown, no baton, no shield, no panic alarm yet you boldly go.  I can imagine there have been times when your knees were knocking, armpits sweating and your thoughts were “oh no”, but you stayed, because your heart is full of gold and you go with the motto “I’ll leave no stone unturned, hell no.”Social worker did you know that you not only keep children safe, but you also save lives. Just take a moment to…wait…what’s the word…be reflective, stop, think and say “ohhh.” I helped a child live in a safer environment outside of their family home, I helped a child tell their story to the police when they were sexually abused, it was clear that the shouting and violence between the parents were too much for the child and you said “oh no, this cannot go on any longer.” You used your research to make an evidenced based decision and you social worker helped those parents create a safer home. Social worker, I valued so much when that mum, do you remember her she said she felt a bit low, you helped her understand her baby blues and again you said let’s go. Off to the GP you go, mum receives the help she needs, but still you could not let it go. Organising a family group conference, helping the family develop a plan, your words “it must be meaningful” and you were intentional to help the family create a ‘meaningful plan.’ Social worker do you remember your words “mum can have time to JustBe’ and how wonderful it was to see the babies care supported by the wider family.  Social worker that was you, you took the time to think and see what was needed for the mum and baby.I mean, I could go on at telling you how fabulous you are. So, you twisted my arm, close your eyes and listen to these words: you are amazing, spectacular, tremendous, energetic, wonderful, insightful, curious, exceptional, child centred, thoughtful, compassionate, kind, empathetic, research minded, reflective, awesome, skilled, professional and the reality is I could tell you how valuable and fabulous you are for hours.Each day commit to taking 5 minutes to stop and reflect on you and what you bring to the profession. Social worker think about all the miracles you make happen. Social worker you are warm, kind, strong, compassionate and full of strength. I see you, I hear you and grateful you’re still here. Social worker the media are still learning how to respect your profession and right now you are going to rise up and not succumb to their oppression. Be courageous, be strong, be vocal and be bold because you dearest social worker are one of the mightiest and most cherished people we have in our nation overall.

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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 Blog Image
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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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!