Social workers: take our survey on the impact of last year’s tax changes

We want to hear from both agency and permanent staff about the decisions you've made, and how the changes have affected the situation in your workplace now

pay key on keyboard
Photo: md3d/Fotolia

Community Care wants to hear from agency and permanent social workers, in relation to the changes to ‘IR35’ tax legislation that the government introduced in 2017.

It’s now just over a year since the tax laws were tweaked, with the stated aim of levelling the playing field in terms of how much agency contractors and permanent staff members earn.

We are keen to hear views from the frontline as to what the impact has been now they have bedded in.

Before the changes came into force, some long-time agency social workers told Community Care they were considering leaving the profession. Others, who had relied on expenses available to them to take on jobs around England, said they would no longer be able to travel.

Councils on the other hand said they hoped the IR35 changes would increase the attractiveness of permanent work, and would help to stabilise workforces.

Soon after the law changed, fears began to grow that agency workers’ shrinking salaries were driving them into the arms of unscrupulous umbrella companies, offering ‘too good to be true’ take-home pay rates. Two years ago a Community Care investigation revealed how agency social workers had been caught up in earlier tax avoidance schemes – and in some cases then been driven to the brink of bankruptcy by HMRC.

More recently, both council directors and recruitment bosses have said the IR35 amendments, coupled with pay caps introduced in many areas, have made it far harder for some councils to cover vacancies.

With agency workers less willing to travel, we have been told some authorities face spiralling caseloads, while others pay inflated hourly rates in order to source enough staff to fulfil statutory duties.

Take the Community Care survey

To  build  a clearer picture we are asking social workers at all levels to share their experiences in confidence through our short survey.

If you were an agency worker, did you go permanent or stick it out under the new regime? Did you play things safe with your tax arrangements, or have you signed up to an umbrella company you feel nervous about?  Have you or your colleagues already been contacted by HMRC?

If you were already permanent, did things get more or less stable in your workplace? Did agency workers come on board or go elsewhere – and what happened next?

Take the survey here. It is open until Tuesday 12th June 2018.

If you have any questions about the research or would like to speak to us directly, please email, with the subject line EMPLOYMENT SURVEY.

The survey will take no longer 10 minutes and responses will be kept anonymous.

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2 Responses to Social workers: take our survey on the impact of last year’s tax changes

  1. S Akin June 11, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

    The introduction and process of the IR35 can only be described as being thrown in the deep end. The way in which agency workers within the government and local government have been treated and penalised is a disgrace.

    There are so many bogus umbrella companies fishing for clients, I have been through so many of them and worried that they still posses my personal details. The typical process entails agencies providing you with a list of so called umbrella companies which then claim are in compliance with HRMC then approximately 2 weeks later you receive a call from the agency stating that the company they provided is not in fact in compliance with HMRC.

    As mentioned above myself and many of my colleagues and friends have gone through between 10-20 umbrella companies and this is having an impact on us mentally as the stress of ensuring you are paid weekly and on time overrides the passion for the job.

    Giving your personal details to various companies is very draining and in my opinion risky.

    I think the IR35 needs to be reconsidered as it is clearly not working and a complete shambles and day light robbery.

  2. Sam Pearson June 19, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    I have just started with an agency who directed me to ‘one’ umbrella company only. I haven’t done agency work for a couple of years and still have a Ltd Co. From the comment here I’m wondering if I should use this instead?