Effective enforcement must not be sacrificed, says REC
With expenditure cuts set to impact on services and structures across the public sector, the REC has called for current enforcement mechanisms for the recruitment industry to be an area that is protected and enhanced.
This is one of the issues that will be raised in the upcoming meeting with Edward Davey, the new Employment Relations Minister.
The REC recently spelled out its clear and unequivocal opposition to any extension of the current Gangmaster Licensing regulations and highlighted more effective ways of raising standards. The priority is to avoid burdening agencies with additional costs and bureaucracy at a time when the industry is already getting to grips with the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) and pensions reform.
However, there are concerns that expenditure cuts could impact on existing structures such as the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) within the Department for Business.
Underlining the need for enforcement levels to be maintained despite the expenditure squeeze, Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of External Relations says:
“The REC has consistently called on Government to deliver effective enforcement of existing regulations. This is crucial in order to protect the interests of law-abiding businesses as well as workers and would not be served by dismantling current enforcement mechanisms.
“While licensing extension is not the way forward, enhancing industry standards and addressing bad practice is critical. We welcome the Government’s initial steer on ensuring that inspections are properly targeted and will continue to work constructively with existing inspectorates.”
In a recent letter to Dr Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green called for a strengthening the existing Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate – in particular, through better prioritisation and risk assessment. Discussions have also highlighted the fact that the recruitment sector already has more regulation than almost any other service industry.
The REC will continue to drive standards through its own inspections, complaints procedures and enforcement of the industry Code of Practice.