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ARC welcomes government decisions on regulation

ARC welcomes government decisions on regulation

Referring to the government response to the consultation on reforming the regulatory framework for the recruitment sector, the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) applauded the government for its considered approach to the issue.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of ARC, said: "The government has set about change in a constructive and balanced way. Although the consultation itself raised some real fears that wholesale change was inevitable, with some potential significant negatives, the response indicates that those confusing areas that need addressing are to be tidied up and those that have underpinned stability and security for workers as well as standards, are to be retained, with a likelihood that they may be improved for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

“We are therefore pleased with the outcome so far. Ideas, such as the proposal to switch enforcement of breaches of regulations to the employment tribunal, a key point which ARC had strongly lobbied against, appear to have been rejected. At the same time arguments that ARC had proposed relating to payment arrangements for workers where there are various businesses involved in the chain of supply, such as vendors and RPOs, are under consideration."

Analysis indicates that the government has rejected the idea that contractors should automatically be opted out of scope. Instead, company workers will continue to have the ability to opt out as now and enforcement of payment infringements for lower paid workers will be transferred to HMRC. In addition the idea that agencies should be able to charge fees for providing work finding services has also been rejected, avoiding another danger area. However, removal of job boards from the scope of the regulations and restrictions on enforcement of transfer fees are still on the agenda, leaving open questions as to how these will be dealt with. 

Marlowe concluded: "ARC had provided a detailed and thoroughly researched response to the consultation not only dealing with the questions the government had raised, but also addressing important background points and challenging some assumptions and statistics that were pointing in the wrong direction. I believe the hard work that we carried out on all these areas, particularly the detail included in our response, has helped toward this outcome.

"However as always the wording of new legislation, including any relating to transfer fees and payment arrangements, will be crucial in determining the end result. Overall, as things stand, key points of principle appear now to be in place, in our view producing a good balance, and this can only serve to strengthen and support the industry."

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