Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Government purge on Plymouth's rogue recruiters

Government purge on Plymouth's rogue recruiters

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/294) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 3 December 2008

Twelve employment agencies in Plymouth have been issued with warnings for failing to comply with the law.

The warnings follow an investigation in Plymouth by the Government's Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. Investigators found that 12 agencies in Plymouth were breaking employment regulations. Between these twelve agencies, inspectors found 68 infringements of the law. Many of these offences were relatively minor, however the worst practices identified included:

* failing to inform workers sufficiently about the type work they would be doing
* agencies failing to confirm the identities of staff they were planning to supply to employers
* risking workers safety by failing to ensure their awareness of health and safety issues relevant to their assignments.

Employment Minister Pat McFadden said:

"There should be no hiding place for employment agencies that exploit workers and flout the law.

"The Government has doubled the number of Employment Agency Standards inspectors so that they can get out on the ground in places like Plymouth and target the rule-breakers."

"Follow up investigations will take place in Plymouth to make sure that the agencies concerned have changed their ways. Agencies that continue to flout the law could be prosecuted, hit hard with fines or even banned from operating for up to 10 years."

The Employment Agency Standards team acted in Plymouth following reports of improper activity in agencies supplying a diverse range of staff - from industrial workers and construction workers, to models and entertainers. The Department for Business has also launched a campaign to raise awareness of the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate, particularly among vulnerable agency workers.

People can report employment agencies they suspect of breaking the law by contacting the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105 or emailing eas@berr.gsi.gov.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Inspectorate carries out inspections of agencies on the basis of perceived risk of non-compliance and investigates complaints about agency conduct.

2. The inspectorate visited the Plymouth area in the week beginning 24 November, visiting 18 agencies in total.

3. Agencies who break the law could face prosecution and fines of up to £5,000 per offence. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to ten years.

4. For legal reasons, Department for Business cannot name the agencies warned, unless they are prosecuted or prohibited.

5. The Fair Employment Enforcement Board, which met for the first time on 5th November, brings together government enforcement bodies, unions, business leaders, and Citizens Advice to ensure effective enforcement of the law. The Board will oversee a significant and sustained campaign to raise workers' awareness of their basic employment rights. As a first phase, the EAS inspectorate has begun a campaign to inform agency workers of their rights. An information booklet is being distributed to vulnerable workers and advice bodies, and is also available at: http://direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Typesofworkoremployment/DG_10027514?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=177027&Rendition=Web.

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)
http://www.berr.gov.uk

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