Agency Social Work

There may come a time in your career where a full or part-time permanent social work role may no longer fit with your lifestyle, career ambitions or the need to be more flexible to gain a good work-life balance.

Taking control of when you work, where you work and for who is appealing for some and the numbers of agency social workers is increasing.

Permanent or agency?

A permanent, employed contract is typically on ongoing position with one authority. It provides stability, a clear career path and helps build relationships by working in a team.

An agency social worker typically agrees to work on a temporary contract with a short probation period, typically up to three months to ensure the agency social worker and the role match.

Agency social work roles may start as a short contract, which in most cases is extended.

Benefits of agency work

Flexibility: as an agency social worker you are in control. You are in control of what contracts you want to accept, the hours you work, length of contract, which authority/ies you work for and whether you work full or part-time.

A healthy, work-life balance: contracted to work certain hours, as an agency social worker you can plan your work around day-to-day commitments, take a break between contracts and have that flexibility to suit your lifestyle.

Career progression: although you may not have access to an employer’s CPD programme, if you are a BASW member you do have access to a range of training courses and our Independent Local Networks to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest regulations and legislation.

A fully rounded social worker: management styles differ and as an agency social worker you will have access to a multitude of different teams and authorities, learning first-hand new ways of working and developing new working relationships to help you to become a better social worker.

Rates of pay: whilst the rates of pay between fully-contracted and agency social workers are levelling-out, higher rates of pay tend to be associated with agency work. Unlike permanent employment, you do not need to wait for a pay rise, you choose the contract that fits the best with your experience and pay expectations.

Weekly wage: agency social workers are paid weekly, so you can manage your finances better. Working with a specialist social work umbrella service, such as Social Work Employment Services, you will be paid on time, in full, every week.