New membership body for the recruitment industry – ARC – vows to take proactive stance
As the economic downturn takes hold, and with a number of legislative
measures and government proposals on the table that threaten to have a
significant impact, now is the time when the recruitment sector needs
strong industry representation the most.
“That’s why”, says Adrian Marlowe, managing director of Lawspeed, a
UK-based commercial and legal consultancy specialising in the
recruitment business, “it is the right moment to launch the Association
of Recruitment Consultancies” (ARC).
Marlowe points to the impending legislation relating to the
implementation of the Agency Workers Directive (AWD). “This is a key
example why taking a more challenging approach to industry
representation is necessary”.
“The AWD is EU legislation that requires agencies to ensure agency
workers receive the same basic employment conditions and pay as a person
recruited directly at the end user’s work site,” says Marlowe.
“Why we are in this potentially damaging (and disappointing) position,
is itself open to question. As things stand the AWD will place a heavy
burden on supply agencies. There are huge question marks over who will
be responsible if the rights aren’t afforded to the agency worker; no
doubt with hypothetical tests and prescribed steps. Substantial
increases in administration, and claims to employment tribunals are
“Furthermore, there are significant downsides to the AWD because hirers
will be deterred from using agency workers. This threatens to impact on
the entire recruitment supply throughout the UK”.
“All of this makes it crucial that the industry has strong
representation to ensure that every relevant aspect of the proposed
legislation is explored, discussed and the appropriate representations
made”, says Marlowe. Although a consultation is imminent, Marlowe
believes this will amount to simply window dressing if the interests of
the industry are not put first.
He went on to say “Not enough is being done to protect supply agencies
and make the case for an alternative approach. There is a strong feeling
that the CBI’s agreement in May 2008 needs revisiting. ARC will be
working to create an alliance to support the recruitment industry.”
Marlowe also highlights other recent government decisions, including a
new government consultation issued in March on the possible removal of
the entitlement of a limited company contractor to opt out of the 2003
Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations.
The removal of the opt out (like the AWD) would also have far reaching
consequences for the industry.
In fact it was Marlowe’s organisation that originally proposed to
government the idea of a limited company opt out for contractors, a
demonstration of his extensive experience and track record of dealing
with government and getting results during the sixteen plus years he has
been serving the recruitment industry.
“That one proposal alone has had immeasurable value for supply
recruiters” he says. “Because of our background and strategic approach
we were able to assess and balance the commercial requirements for
recruiters against the government’s regulatory intentions. The result: a
solution acceptable to all the parties involved.”
“ARC is not just about representation”, says Marlowe, “an extensive
range of benefits is available for members, and this is also an
important aspect of ARC’s work. These include a legal helpline, updates,
operating templates, and regular networking meetings, to name but a
“Currently many organisations, small businesses in particular, are
finding it difficult; so this kind of help and support is going to be
very important,” notes Marlowe.
“Over the years, many agencies have suggested that we take a lead on
forming an alternative trade membership body for our industry, and now
seems the right time – the industry is vulnerable and under attack on
many fronts,” says Marlowe. “It needs to be stronger and stand up for
itself, and we are in a position to make this happen.”
To apply to join ARC, call 01273 236236.