Is big always better? It can certainly have its advantages but in some circumstances these may not outweigh the disadvantages. It’s like comparing a corner shop to the local supermarket – both offer different aspects of value, which customers react to in a unique way.

Take fostering agencies, for example. If you are new to fostering, it can be a daunting prospect finding the right agency for you. Should you go with a small and personal agency, or choose a large and far-reaching firm? To help you decide what is right for you, read our short guide to advantages of working with both small and large agencies.

Small IFA’s

The personal touch

Small businesses traditionally offer the personal touch, spending time communicating directly with their clients and carers. All stakeholders feel like part of the same team, leading to a more relaxed environment. When you deal with a smaller IFA, you are not just a number in a queue. Foster carers are also more likely to work one-to-one with particular support workers, which benefits both parties as they get to know each other better.

Quick to react

A small business is often quick to react to situations, as there are less steps in the ladder to climb. Messages often get relayed to the decision maker without having to go through various channels on route, resulting in a speedy response. In an emergency this can be a definite advantage, as issues can be dealt with fast.


Small businesses are often more open to change. As there are not so many layers of management to plough through, innovation can often be approved with no hassle or stress. However, you do need to be careful that the change is a positive move forward, and can benefit those involved. Being too quick to make changes could be detrimental in some instances.


Large IFA’s


Larger IFA’s are more likely to have greater resources, including different departments, equipment and partnerships with external influencers. Also, with a large pot of employees to work with, it is more than likely that different staff will bring a unique specialism to the table. This could be useful when working with varied cases that need certain expertise.


Large companies have usually grown up over time, and have experienced many different situations. Calling on previous knowledge can help to resolve certain situation quickly, which benefits the foster carers and ultimately the child’s welfare. Best practices learnt from previous cases can be implemented to help others.

Training opportunities

With more staff, training opportunities are likely to be more frequent and offer variation to cover a greater range of skills. Well-trained staff operate at a higher level, and are generally more motivated within the workplace.


In summary

Which is best for you – small or large? In order to decide you need to look at your own personal circumstances and match them up with the different sized agencies. Do you need the extensive resources of a large agency or the more personal touch of the smaller agency? Do you work better with one-to-one contact or prefer anonymity? At the end of the day it is your choice – use it wisely!