Outsourcing the procurement of agency workers: the impact of vendor managed services in English social care

Kim Hoque, Ian Kirkpatrick, Chris Lonsdale, Alexander de Ruyter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In recent years marked changes have occurred in the way employers recruit and select agency workers, with this activity increasingly being outsourced to third party organizations providing ‘vendor managed services’ (VMS). Drawing on data from a study of English social services, this article explores the consequences of this outsourcing. The findings reveal that although VMS has delivered cost savings, it has also resulted in less effective placement matching, rising line manager workloads and concerns about service quality. In the conclusion the wider implications of VMS for the future development of partnerships between employers and employment agencies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-539
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011



  • agency workers
  • outsourcing
  • third party organizations
  • social services
  • service quality

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