Head of Public Sector, Chris Grimes, discusses why organisations must wake up to the fact that post-audit compliance checks are outdated and put them at unnecessary risk.
The unavoidable truth is that temporary agency staff are in higher demand than ever before, particularly within local government, social care, and health sectors. Such a reliance on contingent labour comes with an ever-increasing need for employers to ensure the candidates they engage are compliant and ‘safe’ to work within their organisation.
Many employers that have a significant reliance on agency resource choose to outsource their temporary recruitment to a supply chain management specialist, safe in the knowledge that both the agencies and the workers they are supplying are compliant - but is this always the case?
The majority of recruitment managed service providers offer their customers a post-audit review process, which essentially looks for any non-compliance by agencies and agency workers across a large number of ongoing work placements; which in some cases sees non-compliant workers that have been in placement for several months before being identified.
These auditing and review processes may reveal discrepancies, but these issues may not become apparent until after a candidate has been employed and it is too late. This is not to say that the checking agency compliance through these audits is invalid, but that almost every audit will reveal some kind of non-compliance issue, for example candidates with no references, forged right to work documents, and other serious fraud offences. These could all be avoided by using a more pro-active candidate screening process.
By way of example, we recently took over a contract at a large council, whereby the majority of agency staff in place had incomplete or out-of-date compliance documents. There was even a non-UK national working without a visa, which would not have been spotted until the next audit took place – by which time a serious breach of compliance may have occurred.
We ensure that every single agency worker engaged by our customers are fully compliant and ‘safe’ to work before a placement begins; this is simply paramount to the way we operate.
In 2013 we decided to leave post-audits behind and implemented our unique pre-employment checking process on behalf of all of our customers, as standard. It is imperative that all agency workers submitted through our system are fully vetted by our dedicated Account Managers, so our customers know that the candidates they employ through our system are legally compliant to work.
Our screening process ensures that all evidence required from candidates is made available prior to them being engaged by our customers. This way, no one can ‘slip through the net’ which can be seen when operating the out-dated post-audit method.
This proactive approach to the checking of agency workers means that we eliminate the risk that comes with retrospective compliance checks. We don’t rely on our agencies to do this for us, we don’t rely on post-event audits to reveal errors, and we don’t rely on our customers to do this for themselves (although we encourage them to take an active interest).
Compliance, procurement and HR teams that are outsourcing their temporary labour recruitment to managed service providers must consider whether the level of compliance their supplier offers is actually leaving them open to serious non-compliance issues.
If you would like more information about our pre-employment and safeguarding checks please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.