"This has been my first experience of working via an agency such as Sheldon Phillips; needless to say I was somewhat apprehensive leaving a permanent social work position. However from my initial enquiry with Jamie to gaining successful employment with my very first interview has been a very smooth transition. Jamie has been excellent throughout the process, which was also aided by meeting him in person as opposed to conducting all of the required business via the Internet.So thanks Jamie and keep up the high standards you have set."
'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.
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.
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.
"Just A Child" - A Review
"Just A Child" - A ReviewI started reading at a young age and have enjoyed continuing this hobby throughout my adult life. Friends and family will usually ask me, “How was the book?” or “Is it any good?” and usually the answer will be one of enjoyment. However in this case, how can you really describe Sammy Woodhouse’ book ‘Just A Child’…..Powerful.This is a difficult review to write really because you feel that you can’t use normal ways of positive expression like enjoyment or saying “It’s a real page turner”. But the truth is, this is a compelling read, one that is difficult at times but one that leaves you feeling empowered and wanting justice.Sammy’s writing in this book, I think, is highly commendable as it would have taken her back to a very dark place in her life and she has achieved what she intended – to tell her story and to do it in such a way that it will encourage other victims to come forward. The “relationship” between Sammy and Ash is hard to read and imagine, but she takes you through it step by step, not being afraid to tackle her own thoughts and feelings on what she thought her relationship was with him.If you want to understand more about what led to the shocking revelations in Rotherham and to further understand a victim’s take on how CSE can be viewed by young and impressionable girls, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.Well done Sammy, keep fighting.
Social Workers - Unsung Heroes
Social Workers - Unsung HeroesIn 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 instincts....to 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.
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.