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UK — Childcare and teaching agencies fail to comply with the law

21 January 2010

Thirty-eight agencies in the teaching and childcare sectors have been issued with warnings by the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS) for failing to comply with the law.

Eleven agencies were not following the correct processes when carrying out identity and qualification checks on people they planned to supply for work. EAS acted swiftly, although no workers had been placed yet, to ensure the agencies changed the way they carried out and documented the checks.

Inspectors visited 50 agencies in total as part of a targeted national exercise called Operation Hazard. Towns and cities visited include London, Birmingham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Between these fifty agencies, inspectors found 140 breaches. Many of these offences were relatively minor, however the worst practices identified included:
  • Not agreeing terms with workers before trying to find them work.
  • Not obtaining all the necessary information from the hirer about the job.
  • Not giving written information to the worker and/or hirer about the assignment such as who was to turn up and do the work, and where they were supposed to be and when.
Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said "agencies in the teaching and childcare sectors should be especially vigilant that they are meeting all of their responsibilities. It is important that children are not put at risk."

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



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