The Growing Number of External Recruitment Agencies Offering to Provide Care Workers

30 October 2018


This week I have had an email from yet another recruitment agency offering to find us care workers. Over the past few months the number of agencies offering this service has increased and offers not only come from the UK but from Europe and further afield.

These organisations seem to fall into two categories, either I can request a certain number of care workers for future use or I can make contact if I have a carer shortage at a particular time and desperately need one or two carers to go to work almost immediately. (Stories of meeting a care worker off a plane and driving them to their first job have been heard).

As the number of such organisations offering these services are increasing I can only assume that more and more care providers are purchasing their services.

I, as a home care provider of many years have a problem with this method of recruitment.

It is a hackneyed expression but the ‘do as you would be done to’ cliché does sit well in a care setting.  It is the role of any care provider to place, in a vulnerable person’s home, a care worker whom they have made every effort to verify that they have the skills that the recipient of care needs and that they are trustworthy, empathetic, caring and kind.

We do not always get it right but if we, as an organisation have made 100% effort to ensure that we would feel happy about letting this person provide care to our own relatives, then we have made every effort to fulfil our commitment to our clients.

Care providers who recruit and interview potential care staff will begin at the interview stage to gain insights into both the validity of the care workers skills/experience and secondly begin to form an opinion of the individual’s nature, personality and suitability for the work. Information given on the application form can be checked, references written for and verified. Then the provider has the choice to accept or reject the applicant.

Purchasing care workers through external agencies, quite simply means, you pay and you receive a care worker that has been deemed by someone else as ‘fit to go to your clients’.

Every care provider in the very beginning of their service provision to a vulnerable person, has to introduce a stranger into their home. New residents in age care facilities also have the experience of having strangers help them with very personal care tasks as a necessity. Not many existing customers and potential customers are aware, if you are using this type of external agency, that the person you introduce into their home is also a stranger to you.

Some agencies will forward care workers for interview by you which is a different business activity and acceptable.

Recently I met with a care provider who had no staff. All care workers came from an external organisation.  Many had been caring for several years for the care provider, but the cost of this method must be passed on to customers so making the service more expensive than it needs to be.

The subject of how their care workers are recruited is questioned by very few care purchasers and such information if available, would help in their choice of care provider when they came to arrange a service either for themselves or a loved one.