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GLAA praised by independent inspectors

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has done ‘remarkably well’ in assembling its operational team and deploying them effectively in a short space of time.

That’s the conclusion of independent inspectors following an examination of the agency.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) is now responsible for assessing the Nottingham-based national agency because of enforcement powers given to the GLAA to investigate labour market offences.

In its first inspection HMICFRS examined whether the GLAA is making good use of these powers.

Their report, which has been published today, said, “The GLAA has done remarkably well in assembling and deploying its Labour Abuse Prevention Officers (LAPOs) effectively in a relatively short space of time.

“This is of notable credit to the late chief executive, the interim chief executive and all those who worked hard to create the conditions which have enabled this success.”

The report goes on to say that sufficient numbers of staff have been adequately trained and, with 36 LAPOs, the GLAA has “exceeded the Home Office's expectation.”

It says the energy which went into getting the investigative team up and running now needs to be followed up with a broader focus on organisational development.

Inspectors said that with the support of the police and the National Crime Agency, the GLAA has access to most of the capabilities it needs although there are gaps that need to be filled.

It added, “The GLAA's strategy of recruiting experienced former police officers and giving them the training, they need, has produced a LAPO team which acts confidently.

“Positive feedback from their supervisors and the absence of formal complaints or problems with GLAA arrests are good indicators that they act fairly.”

The report recommended the GLAA implement an organisational action plan to address some issues around its processes. It also suggested its findings could be helpful during the consultation process around proposals for a single labour market enforcement agency.

Responding to the report, GLAA chief executive, Michael Rich, said, “We are delighted HMICFRS has recognised the enormous amount of work that has gone into building the effective agency the GLAA is. We are incredibly fortunate to have an organisation made up of colleagues who are wholly committed to tackling the scourge of labour exploitation and protecting vulnerable workers.

“The report is a validation of the tremendous progress that has been made in such a short space of time. It also highlights some extremely useful areas where we can improve further, and work is progressing around these.”

Read the report in full here.

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