'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.
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.
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.
Uncompliant Umbrella Companies: A Change in Law
Uncompliant Umbrella Companies: A Change in LawUncompliant 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.