GLA moves to Home Office
The change has been welcomed by Chief Executive Paul Broadbent who described it as, "a natural step."
He said, “The GLA is pleased to move under the umbrella of the Home Office. We view it as a positive development and it is welcomed.”
Two years ago the GLA was instructed by the Government – through its Red Tape Challenge review – to reduce the bureaucratic burden on business and concentrate more on the most severe extremes of worker exploitation.
Broadbent added, “In refocussing our efforts we are uncovering more and more cases of vulnerable people being trafficked into the UK by organised criminals with the intention of making handsome but entirely unlawful and immoral profits. However, I stress this is not to the detriment of the civil regulatory powers we exercise, which we continue to carry out in equal measure.
To tackle the problems associated with modern slavery, the GLA works regularly with the National Crime Agency and its UK Human Trafficking Centre, as well as local police forces – all are organisations within the remit of the Home Office.
“This is a logical move that can only lead to a more effective, joined up approach in the fight against those driven by greed who seek to exploit workers,” said Broadbent.
The GLA was formed following the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster of 2004, when 23 Chinese workers drowned after being cut off by the fast-rising tides. The Government responded swiftly by introducing the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, which introduced the GLA with a remit to licence businesses that supply temporary workers and prevent their exploitation.
The authority regulates companies that provide workers for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and all associated processing and packaging. Previously, Defra was the host government department.
Broadbent further added, “The labour supply business has evolved dramatically in the decade since the tragic events of Morecambe Bay, and the GLA has changed with it. Now there are sophisticated criminals running large-scale operations, trafficking in and controlling dozens of workers, and making substantial profits, while those doing the work live in poverty and squalor.
“That said, an equal core function of the GLA is that of a regulatory body ensuring that legitimate businesses are able to flourish whilst unscrupulous gangmasters are held to account for their actions. The industry, workers and the public can be assured that the change of host government department will not dilute this activity.”