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New membership body for the recruitment industry

New membership body for the recruitment industry ARC - vows to take proactive stance

As the economic downturn takes hold, and with a number of legislative measures and government proposals on the table that threaten to have a significant impact, now is the time when the recruitment sector needs strong industry representation the most.

That's why, says Adrian Marlowe, managing director of Lawspeed, a UK-based commercial and legal consultancy specialising in the recruitment business, it is the right moment to launch the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC).

Marlowe points to the impending legislation relating to the implementation of the Agency Workers Directive (AWD). This is a key example why taking a more challenging approach to industry representation is necessary.

"The AWD is EU legislation that requires agencies to ensure agency workers receive the same basic employment conditions and pay as a person recruited directly at the end user's work site," says Marlowe.

"Why we are in this potentially damaging (and disappointing) position, is itself open to question. As things stand the AWD will place a heavy burden on supply agencies. There are huge question marks over who will be responsible if the rights aren't afforded to the agency worker no doubt with hypothetical tests and prescribed steps. Substantial increases in administration, and claims to employment tribunals are likely outcomes.

"Furthermore, there are significant downsides to the AWD because hirers will be deterred from using agency workers. This threatens to impact on the entire recruitment supply throughout the UK".

All of this makes it crucial that the industry has strong representation to ensure that every relevant aspect of the proposed legislation is explored, discussed and the appropriate representations made, says Marlowe. Although a consultation is imminent, Marlowe believes this will amount to simply window dressing if the interests of the industry are not put first.

He went on to say Not enough is being done to protect supply agencies and make the case for an alternative approach. There is a strong feeling that the CBIs agreement in May 2008 needs revisiting. ARC will be working to create an alliance to support the recruitment industry."

Marlowe also highlights other recent government decisions, including a new government consultation issued in March on the possible removal of the entitlement of a limited company contractor to opt out of the 2003 Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. The removal of the opt out (like the AWD) would also have far reaching consequences for the industry.

In fact it was Marlowes organisation that originally proposed to government the idea of a limited company opt out for contractors, a demonstration of his extensive experience and track record of dealing with government and getting results during the sixteen plus years he has been serving the recruitment industry.

That one proposal alone has had immeasurable value for supply recruiters he says. Because of our background and strategic approach we were able to assess and balance the commercial requirements for recruiters against the governments regulatory intentions. The result: a solution acceptable to all the parties involved.

ARC is not just about representation, says Marlowe, an extensive range of benefits is available for members, and this is also an important aspect of ARC's work. These include a legal helpline, updates, operating templates, and regular networking meetings, to name but a few.
"Currently many organisations, small businesses in particular, are finding it difficult so this kind of help and support is going to be very important," notes Marlowe.

"Over the years, many agencies have suggested that we take a lead on forming an alternative trade membership body for our industry, and now seems the right time the industry is vulnerable and under attack on many fronts," says Marlowe. "It needs to be stronger and stand up for itself, and we are in a position to make this happen."


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