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Compliance – Love it or hate it… it’s here to stay!

 24th Nov 2021

As with any industry, it is essential to know and understand the rules and regulations and none more so than within the recruitment industry. This is the framework that permits us to know what information we can communicate to our clients and candidates alike as well as covering issues around conduct, worker regulation, anti-discrimination and holiday pay to name but a few.

At a basic level, all UK companies are required to comply with the regulations contained within the following acts:

  • The Companies Act 2006
  • The Employment Agencies Act 1973
  • The Conduct of Employment Agencies and the Employment Businesses Regulations 2003

These acts significantly impact the process of recruitment, including recruitment agencies. But beyond these there are other specific regulations that govern the industry of recruitment:

  • Agency Workers Regulation (AWR)
  • Any updates on the Conduct Regulations
  • The Agency Tax Rule
  • Working Time Regulations
  • National Minimum Wage
  • General Data Protection Regulation

There are some compliance and recruitment rules which are of course absolutely essential, for example, the national minimum wage, however, could there also be an argument that over compliance of the sector leads to a reduced ability to hire good employees. Additionally, this makes the whole process more complex than it needs to be and this is at the detriment of both the employer and potential employee.

In recent years, we have seen recruitment compliance being pushed to the front of the HR agenda in companies throughout the UK. This stemmed from regulatory changes brought about by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). On top of this, the fallout from Brexit only fanned the flames and placed an increased emphasis on the requirement for yet more recruitment compliance.

Focus on compliance is necessary, simply due to the fact that ignoring compliance is just too costly. Recruitment compliance is now an essential space in the recruitment strategy mix. But this has primarily come due to the complexity of recruitment as a whole. The process of finding individuals to interview, and going through the whole recruitment process is getting more complex and technical and costly with each year. It wasn’t long ago that it was as simple as placing an advert, sifting through some CV’s, arranging a single interview to decide whether or not the individual was right for the job.

As there are so many digital platforms nowadays from which candidates can apply, recruitment teams are resorting to utilising sophisticated customer record management technology and in-built artificial intelligence which automates the process and helps find the right candidates to interview. The process then usually leads to the candidates having to jump through multiple hoops including testing, multiple interviews to hopefully be matched to the role in question, only then to be hit with the compliance checks surrounding pre-employment screening checks.

The issue arises that when you start adding things like automated AI into the equation, you have more opportunities for the regulators to add additional compliance requirements. Therefore, as the industry becomes more complex, so do the compliance measures surrounding it.

However, there is also cause for concern outside the actual recruitment process. The world we live in is highly digital, and instances of data and identity theft was less of a problem 25 years ago than present day. If we took an absolute extreme case in the current climate, improper handling of applicant data has the potential to put people’s lives at risk if compliance measures around GDPR are not met. This could be applied in the same way to many of the regulations that govern the industry.

The reality seems to be that maintaining a strong compliance culture around recruitment has become somewhat of a necessity due to the environment we now work in, and there is only potential for it to become more complex as time goes on.

We here at Wilkinson & Associates are proud of the processes we have in place and always ensure that we are up to date with the current changes to legislation. Our compliance team work hard to ensure a seamless end to end process for the client and candidate alike. So, whilst it may come across as being slightly overboard on occasion, we are always striving to achieve the best for all our customers.

Should you have compliance queries around your recruitment process don’t hesitate to get in touch with our operations team on as we are always happy to assist in this area.


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