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Working for the Agency

The Role and Significance of Temporary Employment Agencies in the Adult Social Care Workforce

Commissioned as part of the Department of Health’s ‘Social Care Workforce Research Initiative’, this report describes the role and significance of temporary employment agencies in the adult social care workforce in England; assessing what progress is being made toward achieving the policy goal that by 2020 social care employers will no longer need to rely on temporary agency staff to cover tasks that would be normally carried out by a permanent social worker (DfES/DH 2006).

The research draws together evidence from a variety of sources including: a survey of local councils in England with adult social services responsibilities (n=151); case studies of progress in three localities; qualitative interviews [with social care managers responsible for procuring agency staff (n=18), recruitment consultants and employment agency managers (n=15); and agency workers, both qualified (n=45) and unqualified (n= 15)]. Service users and carers were involved in the study by means of two ‘expert seminars’ (Arksey and O’Malley, 2005).