What are the Positives?

Working as an independent social worker or ISW brings independence, the ability to manage your own work, greater flexibility in the use of your time and a satisfying sense of having greater control. Alongside this come responsibilities which while challenging can also be exhilarating.

  • Pitfalls

The flow of work is likely to be erratic, and you cannot rely on a regular income. You have to take full responsibility for health insurance and pension payments without a cushion from an employer. You may feel isolated. You need to be alert to ethical issues and potential conflicts, remaining clear about the task you have taken on and your role in it.

  • Running a Business

Starting out on your own can feel daunting, but there is a great deal of advice available. Nagalro provides support in a number of ways, not least access to the experience of its members through its email group. The practical aspects of the business which need to be considered include equipping an office, security of confidential information, considering using a PO Box number, insurance – including professional indemnity.

  • Professional Issues

The quality of your work rests solely with you; it is this which will bring in work. You need to maintain your registration with the appropriate regulatory body such as HCPC and keep your training up to date and set up systems for support through consultation and with your peers.

  • Marketing

You need to be active in seeking work, maintaining and developing links with people and organisations who may be interested in using your services. You can do this by joining the Nagalro ISW Directory but you should think about producing your own publicity. Taking on pro bono work, giving advice to colleagues, becoming involved in charities or other organisations linked with your area of expertise and interest are all ways of getting a higher profile. The value of unpaid work should not be overlooked.

Becoming an ISW is not for everyone, but many members have found it a very satisfying and enriching way of using social work skills. Nagalro can offer you the opportunity to explore it further and if you would like to do this please contact our principal administrator in the first instance.