An update for members- what next for the Conduct Regulations?

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Friday, 30 October 2015

An update for members- what next for the Conduct Regulations?

 
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has issued a new consultation which aims to update the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 – two years after they initially set out plans to update them.


This time, BIS are proposing to streamline the regs by removing some of those regulations that are, as they put it, more about “business to business” relations.  


Here’s our quick run-down of what they suggest:


  • Remove Reg 9 – which currently restricts recruiters from purporting to be acting as an employment agency when working with a client and at the same time, purporting to act as an employment business when dealing with the candidate, or vice versa. In our view, this rarely comes up as an issue so we can see the logic in removing it.


  • Remove Reg 11 – which prohibits recruiters entering into a contract on behalf of a client. As this relates mainly to the entertainment sector, we do not propose to object and as the consultation says, the obligations are adequately explained in reg 16.


  • Remove Reg 17 – which currently requires recruiters who supply temps to agree terms with hirers in writing before providing their services. From a contractual point of view, all businesses should always agree terms to avoid disputes and ensure there is a right to receive payment. And in our Code of Professional Practice, we make it clear that members must abide by the principles of honesty and transparency. So, while we see the rationale of not needing specific legislation for this, our view is that members should continue to agree contract terms with clients. It is also important to bear in mind that the specific rules on charging transfer fees (regulation 10) will remain in place. We are keen to know what members think about this proposed change.


  • Update Reg 23 – which concerns obtaining clarity in situations where there is more than one employment agency or business in the supply chain. We do not have evidence of this being widely used outside the entertainment sector, so proposing to repeal part of this reg doesn’t come as much of a surprise to us. But it is the case that managed services arrangements are always changing and the supply chain is getting more complex, so we plan to ask BIS (again!) about how they will ensure the whole supply chain is covered by suitable legislation.


  • Update Reg 27 – they want to remove the provision which dictates what information must be included in job adverts, such as the name of the agency and whether the position advertised is permanent or temporary. The specific requirement to include details such as the location of the work, rates of pay etc. will also be removed.  We make it clear what we expect of members in our Code, and will continue to do this. At the same time, they want to keep the recently added Reg 27A which requires recruiters to advertise vacancies in English and in Great Britain as they advertise in another EAA country. This will be extended so that whenever you conduct a recruitment drive in other EEA countries, you do the same in the UK. We have consistently advised members that you always need to advertise in English and in Great Britain at the same time as overseas, so this should not be problematic. But it is galling that such statements add to an unwarranted perception of compliant recruiters failing to conduct proper searches at home, so we will pick this up with BIS on your behalf.


  • And finally, they plan to amend Schedules 4, 5 and 6 which are about the particulars recruiters need to include in their records.  Good business practice means keeping accurate and up-to-date records, and keeping a history of all previous assignments. We’d strongly recommend that you continue to do this if this change is carried out.


The only other thing to note is we were really pleased to see that they’ve rolled back from the proposal made in 2013 to remove job boards from scope – as they recognised our arguments that it would be difficult to differentiate between the online services offered by a range of recruitment businesses these days and then define what would be in and out of scope. 


Now we’d like to know what you think, do you agree with our brief assessment above? 


The deadline for responses to reach BIS is 23rd November 2015 so we don’t have long! 


If you want to feed into the REC response, please get in touch asap and preferably before Friday 6th November (contact kate.shoesmith@rec.uk.com).  


We’ll keep you posted on what happens next and share our full response with all members.

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