Following Friday’s publication by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills of its official response to the ‘Reforming the regulatory framework for the recruitment sector’ consultation, Director of Policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Tom Hadley says:
“The government must listen to sense on the need for key enforcement mechanisms to be maintained. There was a real risk that the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) would be disbanded altogether with a focus on tribunals as a means of redress. It is good news that is being retained, but the fact that resource is being downscaled and responsibilities split between departments raises concerns about how effective it can be. Businesses cannot bring employment tribunals, and where an unscrupulous agency has failed to comply with the rules, they should be named, shamed and thrown out of our industry.
“Some measures outlined today appear sensible and reflect the arguments the REC and our members have made consistently to Ministers, particularly the retention of an opt-out for Limited Company Contractors. It’s also good news that the prohibition of fee-charging to work-seekers has been reaffirmed. How ‘reasonable’ temp to perm fees will be defined is not yet clear and we will pay close attention to the detail of draft legislation when it is published. The last thing our industry needs is unnecessary government intervention into business-to-business arrangements.”
Commenting on the failure to update regulations to include specific reference to umbrellas and intermediaries, Mr Hadley added:
“Jo Swinson has missed a real opportunity by failing to update legislation to reflect the contemporary recruitment industry in which umbrella companies and other employment intermediaries are now significant actors. The recruitment market has changed dramatically over recent years and it is just plain wrong that the burden of new red tape still falls solely on recruitment agencies.
“The vast majority of recruitment agencies have embraced self-regulation and are driving up standards through membership of bodies like the REC, whilst the umbrella and intermediary market continues to operate without any regulatory oversight whatsoever, despite significant levels of non-compliance.”