Service Provider Accreditation (SPA) – rising to the challenge, a win win for everyone

Lawspeed is delighted to announce the launch of a new accreditation for umbrella companies and other service providers. To be known as SPA (service provider accreditation) the purpose is to provide an independent certification that recruitment businesses, hirers and candidates can trust.

Adrian Marlowe, MD of Lawspeed explained “Historically the main area of concern for resourcing businesses using service providers to take contractors on to their books was tax risk. Dependent upon the contract arrangements between the umbrella and the candidate, the risk made it important to validate those arrangements in advance.

“Today, a whole series of challenges exist across a wide spectrum of employment and data protection legislation. With reputational damage a potential consequence of non-compliance, the risks go well beyond tax liability. Additional factors include risk arising from employment, contract, data protection (GDPR), the Agency Conduct Regulations and Agency Worker Regulations non-compliance.

“The extension of the public sector IR35 rules in April 2020 will introduce yet more tax considerations, and inevitably will encourage the use of service providers by contractors. Add to that the fact that some service providers operate groups of businesses using the same trading name, offering different models with different risks, so making it hard for others to ascertain which who or what is being validated, and the whole picture demands better transparency. True independent validation now offered by SPA provides clarity in all these risk areas ruling out the confusion that currently exists.

“Lawspeed has offered audit services (earlier SPA audit) in this area for many years, and this new SPA accreditation rises to the challenge for 2019 and onwards. We understand the areas relevant to bolster agency, hirer and candidate confidence in terms of legislative and commercial requirements. To ensure continuity, certification renewal is required every year. As there is no membership or lobbying function, not only is there lower cost payable by the service provider, but any potential conflict of interest, a point historically overlooked, is avoided. No one sensibly expects the same organisation that represents a business to criticise that business’ credentials.

“Truly independent validation through SPA is therefore a win win for everyone. Resourcing businesses, hirers and candidates alike obtain the assurance they need, and know who they are dealing with. At the same time the service provider has a flag to fly to the world as to its operational suitability at a fraction of the cost of trade membership and without its pitfalls.

“With over 20 years expertise in the sector Lawspeed is the UK’s leading law consultancy dedicated to the recruitment and staffing industry. Our services are underwritten by comprehensive professional insurance, and we are ISO 9001:2015 accredited including for audit services. With a good number of applications already underway, and considerable interest from resourcing businesses and service providers alike, we are building a PSL available for use by all interested in this area.”

For more information or to apply for certification call 01273 236236.