Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Crackdown on the ugly face of modelling and entertainment industry

Crackdown on the ugly face of modelling and entertainment industry

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 11 November 2009

The Government has today announced new action to crackdown on the ugly face of the modelling and entertainment industry.

To prevent rogue entertainment and modelling agencies from exploiting people the Government will introduce new rules banning agencies from taking upfront fees from models, background artists, extras and walk-ons.

There is a concern that some agencies are charging exorbitant amounts without any likelihood of securing people castings or work.

Business Minister Pat McFadden said:

“Unfortunately there are some rogue agencies that prey on models and entertainers who have stars in their eyes. Last year we introduced a cooling off period for up front fees, but we are still receiving some reports that people are being exploited. So now we are going even further by banning them outright.

“This will tackle the unscrupulous agents that represent the less appealing face of the modelling and entertainment industry”.

Draft regulations will be laid in Parliament in November and will come into force during 2010.

Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) will enforce the new regulations. Agencies that break the law could face prosecution and courts can impose unlimited fines for the most serious offences. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to ten years.

Martin Kenny, from Equity welcomed the announcement:

“We fully support these changes and hope that they will further strengthen the rights of workers across all industry offering greater protection against the acts of unscrupulous agents. Equity has worked closely with BIS throughout this consultation process and will continue to do so. We look forward to the implementation of the regulations in 2010 and we are confident that they will provide a better framework to bring successful prosecutions”.

Spencer MacDonald,BECTU (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) said:

“BECTU has always condemned and opposed upfront fees taken by agents for background artistes. For that reason BECTU welcomes this bold move to ban fees being taken from extras and walk-ons. This could now spell the end of the worst abusive practices that have plagued agency workers in the entertainment sector”.

Notes to Editors

These new Regulations will come into force in October 2010. The Government response to the consultation on proposed amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 can be found here:

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate is responsible for enforcing the Conduct of Employment Agency and Employment Business Regulations, carrying out inspections and responding to complaints. More information is available at

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


BIS Press Office

Matthew Barker
Phone: 020 7215 5946

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