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APSCo leads initiative on development of a best practice standard in the recruitment sector

It was also an opportunity for members to find out more about the proposed standard, ask questions about what it would mean for the sector - and to help shape the initiative.

“While I am incredibly proud of how entrepreneurial our sector is, the unfortunate by-product is a non-existent barrier to entry – and it’s high time we put that right. Being able to demonstrate a worldwide standard of professionalism would give recruitment firms enormous benefits in terms of client attraction and points of differentiation,” said Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo.

“While we are delighted to be leading this initiative and facilitating the debate and discussion, it is absolutely right that we involve all stakeholders including other trade bodies, associations and representatives from our end clients to ensure that the standard is right for our profession.”

A packed APSCo members’ meeting heard presentations from Shirley Bailey-Wood, MBE, Director of Information Solutions and Steve Wilson, Senior Consultant Standards Solutions, both from the BSI.

This was followed by a panel of stakeholders chaired by Ann Swain and comprising Paula Lovitt MBE, Compliance Enforcement and Recruitment Sector Policy Labour Market Directorate for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills ( BIS), Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD Erica Briody, the former Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Staffing at Novartis and Natasha Clarke, Managing Partner, SThree.

“The standard should be less about processes and procedures – and more about values and behaviours, it’s about doing the right things – in the right way” said Natasha Clarke – a point echoed by Peter Cheese who added: “The last thing we need is a huge road map with a whole bunch of processes - principles and values is what good business is about and I think this is a great opportunity to show what it means to be a professional – and demonstrate what the principles of good recruitment look like.”

There was also consensus on the fact that any new standard should join up with the HR profession. BSI has already worked with the HR profession on a principle based management standard for valuing people in organisations. “We should also consider how any new Standard for the recruitment profession should connect to the wider issues of human capital standards,” added Mr. Cheese.

From the end client perspective, Erica Briody felt that a recruitment standard would help resourcing managers to have some comfort that their suppliers were the right suppliers but that education and awareness would be key. “Typically large pharmaceutical businesses have thousands of recruitment suppliers – and hire tens of thousands per year so yes – we need a lot of suppliers, but my role was to rationalise that number down to just a few hundred.  But when I tried to understand why we had so many suppliers and how we segment them by expertise – we had little to go on. If I had known that there was a credible standard out there I would have definitely said I want all of our suppliers to have that standard.”

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