Members of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) have rejected the idea of industry self-regulation, as proposed in the government consultation on the Agency Conduct Regulations.
ARC’s response follows several meetings with government officials during which its legal team and members were able to directly explain their concerns about some of the ideas posed by the consultation and at the same time gain insight into the government’s thinking.
On the issues themselves, Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the Association, summarised ARC’s position as follows:
“ARC members reject the idea of self-regulation, which may cause standards to drop with few advantages for the industry, the main winners being job boards and less professional organisations.
“We oppose material change to the rules on transfer fees, which work well, or to enforcement through the Employment Tribunal, which would increase costs and engender an element of fear with no tangible benefit to workers.
“Otherwise the opportunity to modernise and remove some unnecessary rules as well as include new provisions addressing inconsistencies arising from the expanding RPO model is very welcome.”
Support for recruitment industry
The ARC believes that its strategy of combining carefully argued points set out in the formal response with face to face meetings between members in a range of different sectors and BIS civil servants is most likely to draw the government’s focus to the issues that are relevant to supporting the recruitment industry.
“What is clear is that the consultation is the government’s reaction to the red tape challenge and the employment law review as well as lobbying from various quarters including the online sector.
“However, whilst it is true that online services are now widely used and technology has moved ahead, when it comes down to it a change just to suit modern methods of communication is not justification for abandoning overriding points of principle or allowing carefully built up standards to slip.
“Also it is hard to see any case for extending the rules to companies that do not provide work finding services, for example umbrella companies – to suggest otherwise is to miss the purpose of the regulations, namely to protect workers.”
He concluded “As many of our members have said to me, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The sea change contemplated by the consultation would definitely be a step into the dark for the industry.”
ARC will send its formal response to the Consultation on 11th April.