Although the number of complaints is up by 9%, the report nevertheless shows an improving position. The number of inspections in high risk areas is the lowest since 2006 with a reduction of nearly 50% over the previous year; and the number of warning letters the EAS were obliged to send is also down. Crucially, says the ARC, the number of infringements is down by 7%.
Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC, commented “It’s easy for complaints to be made, and of course some if not many are fully justified, but given that the total number of placements each year is estimated at more than 1 million, in comparison a total of 1714 complaints is not significant. It seems clear that the vast majority of recruiters are performing to a suitably high standard and it is important that this message is given to both hirers and candidates alike.”
Marlowe also commented on the plan set out in the report that school leavers are to be made aware of their employment rights and responsibilities “If there is to be a focus at school on employment rights there ought also to be a focus on the opportunities for working in different ways including as agency workers, who have slightly different rights. This could be a great opportunity to highlight the enhanced flexibility that agency work can provide, not to mention the transferrable skills that candidates can acquire whilst ‘trying their hand’ at different types of work. This is particularly important now that the era of a ‘job for life’ is confined to history.”
ARC is writing to the responsible Minister on this proposal, and contends that it is time to re-evaluate the way the industry is viewed overall.
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