Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Final curtain call for rogue agencies

Final curtain call for rogue agencies

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2009/74) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 19 March 2009

The Government today begins a consultation designed to crack down on entertainment and modelling agencies that exploit aspiring actors and models.

One proposal being examined is a ban on allowing agencies to charge up-front fees to people who think they might be the next big thing. There is a concern that some agencies are charging exorbitant amounts without any likelihood of securing castings or work for the aspiring performer.

Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:

"Last year we introduced a cooling-off period for up-front fees, but we are still receiving reports that models and entertainers are being exploited. So now we propose to go further to stop young people being ripped off.

"I don't want to tread on anyone's hopes or dreams, but I don't want to see these hopes and dreams exploited by unscrupulous agents and that's why we are bringing forward these proposals."

Ben Seale, Managing Director of Spotlight said:

"Spotlight fully supports BERR's attempts to tackle the abuse of upfront fees in the entertainment and modelling sector. We will work closely with them to develop measures that stop the rogue operators, while allowing legitimate industry directories to continue with their vital role in the casting process."

This broad-ranging consultation will also consider whether there is any unnecessary red-tape that can be removed to help honest businesses. Guy Bailey, Senior Policy Advisor on Employment issues at the Confederation of Business and Industry said:

"The CBI welcomes measures to remove unnecessary burdens on employers; when economic growth returns, removing avoidable employment costs will help employment growth to resume more quickly."

Notes to Editors

1. The consultation is available via the Department for Business website, at http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page50428.html. The consultation will run until 11 June 2009

2. A cooling-off period for up-front fees charged by agencies in the modelling and entertainment sector came into force on 6 April 2008. More information on this, and other rules regarding this sector are available at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Understandingyourworkstatus/Agencyworkersandemploymentagencies/DG_173262

3. Spotlight is a central database of over 30,000 professional actors and actresses. It is the entertainment industry's leading casting resource.

4. The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) is responsible for enforcing the Conduct of Employment Agency and Employment Business Regulations, carrying out inspections and responding to complaints. If you are an aspiring model or entertainer and you feel your rights have been abused, please call the EAS on 0845 955 5105, email eas@berr.gsi.gov.uk or visit http://campaigns.direct.gov.uk/agencyworkers/

5. You can respond to the consultation's proposals online, at http://tinyurl.com/d5cgwe

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