REC statement in response to issues raised on BBC One's Watchdog
“We will be reporting this business to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate within the Department for Business Innovation and Skills so they can fully investigate what on the face of it looks like criminal activity.
“The agency inspectorate can prosecute and the courts have the power to both fine and ban individuals from running recruitment businesses.
“The REC has always been the strongest advocate of robust enforcement by government of the conduct regulations and we campaigned, shoulder-to shoulder with the TUC, for the inspectorate to be maintained in the face of government proposals to cut it.
“Industry regulations are very clear. A recruitment business cannot make it necessary for a work seeker to use them for training in order to access recruitment services. This is a breach of the conduct regulations and entirely unacceptable practice which exploits jobseekers in a situation where they are looking for professional advice and support. The behaviour shown on Watchdog last night risks tarnishing the reputation of the tens of thousands of honest hardworking recruiters around the UK who are dedicated to helping people find suitable jobs and get on in life.
“As you would expect, we are initiating our own investigation today. To be an REC member an agency must adhere to all necessary laws and regulations and act in accordance with our code of professional practice. Serious breaches of the code lead to expulsion. We have also introduced a rigorous compliance test that all agencies must pass by the end of 2014 in order to remain in REC membership.”