New legislation revising the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 and the Employment Agencies Act is to be deferred from the autumn to early next year, government sources have confirmed.

The new laws are expected to bring Umbrella Companies and other intermediaries into the regulatory framework, as they represent significant new developments in the recruitment market and were largely non-existent when the original legislation was drafted.

The delay is believed to be due to ongoing consideration by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) over the best ways of drafting and implementing the revisions in the context of the limited time available to push a new bill through parliament. BIS will, however, publish individual responses to its consultation, which ended earlier this year. An interim enforcement regime will also be made public pending the implementation of the new laws.

The external policy adviser for the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC), Ben Grover, said that his organisation had recognised during the consultation that some updating to the legislative framework would be beneficial for the recruitment industry in the 21st century, especially as existing laws were drafted before important changes to the employment landscape had emerged.

Mr Grover went on to say that the ARC also believes that the fundamental principles of the existing rules remain important; they had, he said, been instrumental in creating an industry in which the interests of candidates and compliance “remain paramount” and should not be changed “just for the sake of it.”

He continued: “Given that many existing rules work well, and the importance of getting things right, the delay is not hugely surprising.”

ARC will continue to assist BIS in finalising the terminology for the legislation.

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