An APSCo fringe event at the Recruitment Live conference in London this week drew gasps of incredulity from the audience when an HMRC official appeared to dismiss concerns about collecting highly sensitive data under proposed employment intermediaries legislation.

The legislation, which is still in draft form, obliges recruitment agencies to provide highly sensitive information about themselves and any individuals they supply who work though Umbrella Companies, personal services companies, or any other form of intermediary. The data required by the Revenue under the new law includes gender, passport number, national insurance number, payment details and date of birth.

One delegate noted that the data was so sensitive that recruiters were encouraged not to collect it because it exposed them to the risk of accusations of discrimination and asked how workers could be forced to supply such highly sensitive information.

Others drew attention to the fact that HMRC already has the information anyway through RTI returns. The new legislation is simply duplicating this.

Delegates were aghast when a Revenue representative bluntly stated that recruiters had two options: they could either engage with the worker to obtain the requisite information or risk submitting an incomplete ‒ and therefore non-compliant ‒ return.

APSCo’s head of compliance and external affairs, Samantha Hurley said: “This ill-thought-out draft legislation is subject to a consultation that closes this week and APSCo is responding in the strongest possible terms.”

A drop-in surgery was held after the event to allow delegates to query HMRC and Ms Hurley further on the draft law; unsurprisingly, there was a very long queue.

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