A fresh approach to social work recruitment
There’s a reason why more than one in three social workers are registered with Sanctuary Social Care and over 180 local authorities and NHS Trusts entrust us to meet their resourcing needs. It’s simple. We place people at the heart of everything we do. Our social work consultants have an exceptional understanding of the complex and sensitive nature of social work. When it comes to finding you the right candidates, nobody is better placed to help.
Raise your visibility as an employer of choice in the social care sector. We’ve already invested in intelligent talent management technology, so you don’t have to.
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Think ahead. Smart social care recruitment begins here. Resolve your short-term resourcing issues, whilst building a more resilient long-term workforce.
Case Study: London Borough of Hillingdon
Sanctuary Social Care’s permanent offering has surpassed all expectations at the London Borough of Hillingdon (LBH). We have been supplying the local authority with experienced qualified social work professionals since 2016. In that time, we have put forward 123 social workers for interview, 71 of who were offered a position. The challengeLike many of our London Borough clients, LBH were finding the recruitment of permanent social workers problematic. This was due to the high level of competition and exhaustion of their existing talent pools. The SolutionSanctuary Social Care has built up the largest community of social workers residing in the UK. This, paired with the pre-existing relationships we have with social workers, means we can identify highly suitable candidates. For example, within the first eight months of supporting LBH, we placed 32 permanent social workers, significantly reducing their vacancy rate. A responsive modelWe aid the process all the way through, from the initial stage of identifying and approaching suitable candidates to their very first day in employment at LBH. This has seen 58% of the candidates we have put forward offered a role. Unlike other health and social work recruitment agencies, we have a dedicated team of permanent consultants. They have extensive knowledge and experience of the market and salary packages. Most importantly, we take the time to understand and manage the expectations of both the candidate and client. We look at the quality of each candidate’s education and training, presentation, communication and written skills. We consider how quickly they have advanced through their career. How long they have stayed working for one employer? What are their references like? And how would they fit into the existing culture? This ensures our candidates are highly suitable.One consultant manages the entire account on behalf of LBH. They liaise with a single contact at the local authority’s HR department as well as the relevant hiring manager. We set goals to quicken the hiring process. Once a CV is submitted, we make sure we receive feedback within 48 hours. To increase the chances of this, the hiring manager is copied into all initial correspondence regarding a potential candidate. Tony Zaman, Director of Adult, Children & Young People at LBH, said:“Sanctuary has given us the capacity and head room to think through our service redesign. This has contributed to our vastly improved efficiency of our children’s services for vulnerable children and young people. They understand our requirements and quickly mobilised several teams of highly experienced social work practitioners.”
Case Study: London Borough of Enfield
By providing a fully managed service of expert practitioners for a set period, we allow clients to simply ‘plug in’ extra resource instantly. Project managing ‘edge of care’ supportOne such project in 2018, was to deliver intensive ‘edge of care’ support to vulnerable children and families in the London Borough of Enfield through Sanctuary’s social work delivery arm, Innovate CYPS. This 18-month project was to deliver a statutory social work and intensive home-based intervention programme with 80 children and their families, split across two cohorts of 40 children. The children were aged between 7 and 16 with a variety of issues that had been identified as at risk.Multidisciplinary social work recruitmentEach child had been assessed by social workers and highlighted to be either at risk of entering the care system or re-entering the care system. The programme required Sanctuary Social Care to recruit a multidisciplinary team of social workers, family support professionals, youth participation consultants and a family group coordinator on behalf of Innovate CYPS. This team was to work exclusively with those families and to make improvements that would deliver sustainable change; positively affecting the lives of children and their families to ensure they would never enter the care system. Bespoke project planning and deliveryCarefully project managed by senior social work managers at Innovate CYPS, the team took the initial cohort of 40 children, supported families intensively for six months followed by a ‘lighter touch’ phase of monitoring for the remaining six months. This was to ensure the improvements made in the initial period were working, lives had been improved and that the changes were sustainable. The team delivered advanced parenting workshops to the parents involved in the programme. These workshops set about giving parents the skills to manage their children’s behaviour for the better. They gave them the skills to understand their child’s emotional needs and discover what was going on in their child’s mind. They were also given attachment training to understand why children push against parental authority and how to manage those situations.For the children, Innovate CYPS set up a specific youth engagement programme which encouraged them to get back into education, provide mentoring support, and to re-engage with their families. This project was given a unique brand by Sanctuary Social Care’s marketing team. This was to give the children a sense of ownership for the programme. At the youth club, the social workers and family support workers we placed delivered activities to help encourage them. This included story board work, art therapy, graffiti painting workshops, fun and games. These helped create positive behaviours and re-engagement with education and society. For older children, they were given support and taught employability skills to prepare them for when they left school.Carefully structured to enable changeDue to how Innovate CYPS structured the project, there was a devoted budget available, pre-approved so that whatever activity a social worker thought could work to help a child, could be quickly utilised. As an example, the children were taught practical engineering skills and built a bicycle by hand. If they completed this part of the project, they were rewarded and were able to keep the bike! The team worked with schools in the area, to help teachers support children in their care so they could understand their issues in more detail and how to work with them to reduce truancy.Health and social care resourcing specialistsAs a recruitment organisation that works across the entire health and social work sector, if Innovate CYPS needed a specific professional to help the programme, Sanctuary Social Care could quickly access them. This included Educational Psychologists and Substance Misuse Practitioners where their skills were needed to support the project. The youth engagement part of the programme was delivered by an expert in this field who had himself grown up in care, so he could not only provide the services required, but combine that with his personal experience of the care system. He also delivered training to London Borough of Enfield staff in understanding how the care system looks from a child’s perspective to improve their understanding too.Supporting Innovate CYPS on this project, Sanctuary Social Care has improved each child’s life by affecting every part of their environment, their family support, their school life and their outside interests.Lower caseloads The professionals Sanctuary Social Care recruited for the project enjoyed far lower caseloads than traditional models which meant they could devote the required amount of time with each family to make a real difference and give the project every chance of success, a highly motivational model for them too.The results of the first cohort of 40 children have been outstanding:Cohort 1 Outcomes:At Project Start, At Project EndCase TypeChildrenChildrenLooked After Children (in care)01Child Protection203Child in Need2012Early Help Service07Closure017TOTAL404024 of the initial cohort of 40 children have seen improved results thanks to our project, where they are assessed by social services to be of lower risk than at the start of the project. Only 1 child from the initial cohort has been taken into care.The children’s school attendance has also shown remarkable improvement.School AttendanceAt AllocationCurrentAttending2235Not Attending183In EmploymentN/A2
Case Study: States of Guernsey
“In a market where there is huge competition for high-quality staff, they have not failed to provide excellent high calibre staff.” - Fiona Robertson, Service Manager, States of GuernseyWhen Guernsey’s Office for Health & Social Care approached us to fill a role their preferred supplier list (PSL) agencies had been unable to fill, Sanctuary Social Care were quick to establish a solution. Taking a microscopic approach to recruitment, we know that recruiting high calibre social work candidates into roles in more remote settings requires getting to know the local area extremely well. We collated details of the living and working conditions on the island so we could highlight the benefits to our candidates in our recruitment marketing. Working on the island offers several benefits in comparison to a more traditional placement on the mainland. Workers can benefit from the warmer climate, working in new modern buildings, low caseloads, readily-available quality accommodation and the chance to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland!Sanctuary’s unique candidate reach Sanctuary publishes a specialist social work magazine each quarter. The Social Work News magazine is read by over 50,000 social workers so provides an excellent marketing channel to promote a project like working in Guernsey. Through the magazine, we located a social worker who had just returned to the UK after working in Guernsey through a competitor agency. We interviewed her in the magazine and got her to tell the story of her experience on the island and the working conditions. The magazine feature was promoted through our other marketing channels to reach as many people as possible with a clear call-to-action for social workers to contact us if they would consider working on the island. Close client communicationsWe stayed in close contact with the client at every stage of the recruitment process. As we began to promote the job, we were asked lots of questions from potential candidates that we needed to seek clarification from the client and quickly respond to each candidate. This regular dialogue helped us gain the trust of the client and she then agreed we could meet to discuss assisting Guernsey with other job vacancies across healthcare and their other social work teams.Our business development and resourcing team visited Guernsey to meet the team to understand the requirements. Due to the unique marketing channels, we got a huge amount of interest from candidates interested in working in Guernsey and who had applied for this specific vacancy. We thoroughly screened the applicants to select only the very best and most suitable candidates before submitting them to the client. These were well-received by Guernsey and following an initial telephone interview a job offer was made and we completed the challenge by placing a highly experienced child protection social worker into a contract role that had an initial 3-month contract.Since then, the candidate’s contract has been extended indefinitely as both client and candidate are delighted with her. Sanctuary has since been given nine vacancies by Guernsey, we have submitted 17 candidates, 13 of these have been interviewed and we have filled every position, with a perfect 100% fill rate.“Sanctuary has been working with us for a relatively short period, but I have been impressed by their commitment and professionalism in ensuring that high-quality candidates are provided to us. In a market where there is huge competition for high-quality staff, they have not failed to provide excellent high calibre staff. Sanctuary is prompt in their responses and really listen to our needs, which inform who might be a good fit for our service. Will we continue this working relationship? That would be a yes and I would happily recommend Sanctuary!” Fiona Robertson, Service Manager, States of GuernseyTo find out how we can help you, get in touch with our specialist recruitment team today.
Case Study: Blenheim CDP
“When Beverley joined Blenheim, she hit the ground running and her enthusiasm and energy combined with well-grounded knowledge and experience have enabled her to successfully lead and manage the team through a period of significant change.” - Sharon Daughter, Director of Services, Blenheim CDP Brief of the position to be filledOur client, Blenheim CDP, had never used a recruitment agency before. They were unsure of the processes involved, or even if we could help them recruit for a unique and challenging position they needed to hire for.Blenheim CDP is a charity that works in conjunction with the local NHS authority to provide support for drug and alcohol users, their families and carers.With some new funding, Blenheim were setting up a brand new multi-disciplinary service delivering therapeutic and holistic care to drug and alcohol users and needed an experienced family service manager who had worked within a similar area to lead their project. The position would be managing a team of social workers, family support workers and drug and alcohol workers across both a clinical and non-clinical background.This main issue was the project was unique, therefore there wouldn’t be anybody who had ever worked in an identical position. But they had a vision for how the role would evolve. Blenheim had advertised the role on three separate occasions themselves but were unable to find a suitable candidate. Sanctuary’s strategySanctuary Social Care took a strategic approach. With years of health and social care resourcing expertise, we knew that whilst the role could be suitable for either a qualified social worker or unqualified professional, it was essential the candidate had extensive experience working within substance misuse. They also needed to have managed a multidisciplinary team. Blenheim needed a highly knowledgeable resilient team leader; a ‘go-to’ practice expert for the service.Accessing relevant candidates We began by identifying candidates on our existing database who had some of the requirements for the role, across all relevant professions (qualified and unqualified). We then marketed the job and its unique nature to them via email and text message.We screened each applicant with a telephone interview where we explained the role in its full detail and from this created a shortlist to submit to the client.We submitted three qualified social workers and two unqualified practitioners who we felt could all be successful in the role. Part of our criteria for this was choosing trusted candidates who we had worked with before, so we had a greater understanding of their skills and suitability for the role.The outcomeThe client decided to interview each of the five people Sanctuary submitted for the role, initially on the telephone and they then reduced this to two candidates they felt the most suitable. A further face-to-face interview took place with each candidate, a director from the charity and the NHS trust project lead.The successful candidate began work in September 2018 and was soon offered a permanent contract for the role.“Beverley (the successful candidate) has worked pro-actively with partners to define targets and KPI’s which enable team members to feel clearer and work in a more focussed way. She is an asset to those who use and work in the service, as well as the wider partnership and Blenheim.” Sharon Daughter, Director of Services, Blenheim CDP
I have been using the Sanctuary team for over 10 years now. They always find me suitable hard working staff at very short notice. Sanctuary have proved their worth over time as an excellent provider that has caused me to feel reassured when agency workers are represented by them. The team work hard to bring in a good wide range of talented freelance professionals to provide short and long term solutions dependent upon the roles that needed to be filled.
Social Work Team Manager / Mental Health
Sanctuary built us our excellent microsite and got our recruitment up and running in record time. The work undertaken has been first class...we have the lowest rates of social work vacancies we have had in a decade.
Director of Family Safeguarding
Sanctuary Personnel demonstrated a great deal of trust and confidence in their ability to provide a fully managed bespoke duty and assessment service.
Director of Children Services
We’ve been able to utilise Sanctuary Personnel not only on specific project work, but for the recruitment of permanent staff to meet our service needs.
Corporate Director for Adults, Children & Young People’s Services
At Sanctuary Social Care, we believe there's a sweet spot in social care recruitment; a place where social work resourcing solutions not only meet, but often exceed, your expectations as a social work employer.
We match high calibre practitioners, with the rights skills, experience and attitude, to your individual needs. Whether you need a temporary team of highly qualified motivated locum social workers or a robust permanent staffing solution, we know how to make it happen and have the credentials to prove it.