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APSCo RPO & MSP Sector Group poised to agree final wording of its Code of Conduct

APSCo RPO & MSP Sector Group poised to agree final wording of its Code of Conduct

Described by leading RPOs as a “critical initiative”

Will address key issues including & lsquo;pay when paid’ clause

Close talks with Government, Clients, and ABFA to forge consensus

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) is in advanced talks with recruitment process outsourcers (RPOs) to create a pioneering and comprehensive new charter for RPOs & MSPs.

The new charter follows 18 months of discussions between APSCo, RPOs, recruiters and members of ABFA (Asset Based Finance Association) which represents invoice finance providers.

APSCo, the RPOs, MSPs and recruiters want the charter to:

Establish a quality stamp to promote best practice throughout the RPO & MSP market

Address how ethics, fairness and transparency in the supply chain can be achieved

Ensure that communication along the recruitment supply chains is efficient

Provide guidance on financial responsibilities and best payment practices, including the question of & lsquo;pay when paid’ clauses

Discuss contractual models of liability

Provide agreed definitions of several important functions (such as RPOs, End User Suppliers and Vendor Management Systems)

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, says: “There has been some uncertainty in the recruitment sector as to the contractual relationship between RPOs and recruiters. APSCo has spearheaded in-depth negotiations with recruiters, RPOs, funders and end users for some time in order to fully resolve the issues involved.”

“We have been actively engaging all of the links in the supply chain with the pinnacle being the 2011 APSCo Business Supply Chain Forum at CBI HQ (in association with ABFA) where we had around 200 clients, recruiters, RPOs, MSPs and financial institutions actively discussing the day to day issues and it was from this that APSCo were directed to initiate the charter.  At every step we involved a very broad church of stakeholders in our discussions as we want the code of conduct to deliver benefits across the board.

Darren Lancaster, Managing Director of Hudson RPO, says: “APSCo have been instrumental in driving the resolution of the key issues affecting the recruitment supply chain. Their engagement with the senior management from Europe’s top RPOs and managed services providers show their dedication and passion for fair and ethical business practice. Hudson RPO is proud to be involved with this work towards a recognised code of practice.”

Ann Swain adds: “Our extensive programme of meetings, seminars and conferences has made a great deal of progress in developing a mutual understanding of everyone’s position particularly in regard to the issue of & lsquo;pay when paid’.”

Matthew Rodger, Director, of Alexander Mann Solutions says: “As Chairman of the APSCo RPO & MSP Sector Group and in my capacity as Director of Alexander Mann’s Contingent Workforce Solutions I am pleased to be in a position to help drive forward the critical initiative of developing the APSCo RPO and MSP charter.”

ABFA explains that some RPO companies are increasing the level of risk to financiers by inserting & lsquo;pay when paid’ clauses and clauses banning the assignment of their debts into their contracts with staffing companies. The fundamental basis of raising finance by invoice discounting is that there is an enforceable debt obligation that can be assigned to or enforced by the financier. This is making it difficult for staffing companies to obtain or maintain the levels of funding they have previously enjoyed and is a barrier to small businesses gaining access to funding.

Ann Swain continues: “It is in no - one’s interest to see the supply chain collapse due to conflicts between RPOs and recruitment firms, or if recruiters struggle to grow their business because of a lack of access to finance.”

“APSCo have a client engagement strategy to ensure that RPOs and MSPs signing up to this charter will gain tangible business benefit. We will be finalising the small print at our September meeting”.

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