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REC welcomes new director of Labour Market Enforcement but warns against unnecessary licensing expansion

Following the publication of the government’s official response to the ‘Tackling exploitation in the labour market’ consultation, the director of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Tom Hadley, has said the organisation will continue to drive up recruitment standards, but stressed that creating a ‘bureaucratic burden’ in an effort to reform licensing would be unnecessary.


He said, “Jobs transform lives, which is why we are dedicated to building the best recruitment industry in the world. The effective enforcement of all regulations is absolutely crucial to protect the interests of compliant businesses as well as individual workers, so we welcome the creation of the role of a Director of Labour Market Enforcement. We campaigned alongside the TUC to ensure that the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate was maintained back in 2013, something the government took on board as they have increased the number of inspectors.”


“The key issue concerning the new director role will be to ensure effective co-ordination and resourcing of existing inspectorates rather than starting again from scratch and it appears the government has heeded the call to provide adequate resources. Representative bodies, such as the REC, have a vital role to play promoting and leading industry self-regulation. We will continue to drive up recruitment standards through our code of practice, complaints procedures and mandatory compliance test which resulted in 193 agencies being excluded from REC membership last year.”


On the issue of licensing, Hadley added, “Creating an unnecessary and undue bureaucratic burden for the whole recruitment industry, which helped 630,000 people find new permanent jobs last year and places over one million people into temporary assignments every single day, would be a serious mistake.


“The government’s proposed risk-based approach to reforming the remit and licensing regime of the new Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is good to see and we strongly support the expansion of intelligence gathering and enforcement activity to focus on eliminating forced labour and trafficking wherever evidence of such activity exists, not limited by sector. However, instead of pressing ahead with any formal expansion of licensing we believe the government needs to undertake further work. It is not at all clear that it is the licensing process itself that drives out criminal activity, as is evident from the number of GLA licence revocations and enforcement action taken against existing licence holders.”



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