The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has formally rejected the proposal for industry self-regulation contained in the government’s consultation on the Agency Conduct Regulations.

The decision comes after a number of meetings between ARC members, including its legal team, and government officials. The organisation’s chairman, Adrian Marlowe, said that self-regulation would yield few advantages for the industry and may cause standards to fall.

The ARC also opposed alterations to the rules on transfer fees, which it says work well, and the use of employment tribunals for enforcement, which it says would increase costs and cause an element of anxiety without creating any tangible benefit for workers.

Mr Marlowe acknowledged that the consultation is the government’s response to its own red tape challenge, which he welcomed, but added that it was also a response to lobbying from different interested parties, including the online sector.

Although technology has moved forward and online services are now being widely used, he continued, “when it comes down to it a change just to suit modern methods of communication is not justification for abandoning overriding points of principle or allowing carefully built up standards to slip.”

Mr Marlowe added: “Also it is hard to see any case for extending the rules to companies that do not provide work finding services, for example Umbrella Companies; to suggest otherwise is to miss the purpose of the regulations, namely to protect workers.”

In conclusion, Mr Marlow said:  “As many of our members have said to me, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The sea change contemplated by the consultation would definitely be a step into the dark for the industry.”

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