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UK – Agency regulations to be delayed

02 October 2013

According to government sources the new laws for replacing the existing Employment Agencies Act and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 are now likely to be published in early 2014, reports the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC). The original plan was that the government would have draft legislation ready for circulation this autumn.

The reason for the delay is understood to be that the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) is still considering how best to draft and implement the changes it has in mind taking into account available time to run a new Bill through Parliament.

In the meantime BIS has confirmed that it will shortly be publishing individual responses to the consultation, which closed earlier this year. It also intends to make public details of the interim enforcement regime, which will apply until any new legislation comes into force.

Ben Grover, External Policy Adviser for the ARC, commented: “The ARC recognised in its response to the consultation earlier this year that legislation could benefit from some updating to ensure that it works for the industry in the 21st century - after all the Employment Agencies Act is 40 years old and the regulations themselves are 10 years old.”

"However ARC has always maintained that it is important that the fundamental principles of the existing rules, which have helped create an industry where compliance and the interests of candidates and clients remain paramount, are not changed just for the sake of it. Against that backdrop we have argued that some rules need updating to reflect certain developments; for example the emergence of the RPO model has put 2nd tier agencies and SME businesses of all sizes at serious disadvantage because of current payment terms restrictions. But a wide scale modernisation would always in our view be an ambitious task. Given that many existing rules work well, and the importance of getting things right, the delay is not hugely surprising," Mr Grover concluded.

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