Recruitment agency scandals exposed in government report

Shocking details of illegal recruitment agency activity have emerged in a government report.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate’s annual report, published at the end of December, revealed more than 1,000 law breaches in the 12 months to March 2008.

Among the cases was an agency owner in Stoke on Trent who was banned after one of his employees fell asleep at the wheel and killed a cyclist due to driving for excessive hours.

Elsewhere, a convicted rapist in Gloucestershire was prevented from running an agency supplying models.

In 2007-08, the inspectorate received more than 1,200 complaints of improper agency conduct, and found in excess of 1,100 infringements of the law.

It prosecuted two agencies for breaches of employment agency legislation, and prohibited five individuals from being involved in the running of an agency.

Employment Minister Pat McFadden said: “The vast majority of employment agencies uphold the law. At a difficult time for all businesses, we certainly don’t want to see them undercut by those who don’t play by the rules.

“I’m pleased at the success of the inspectorate in cracking down on agencies that flout the law and in protecting vulnerable workers, but there is still more to do. Now that the team has doubled in size and has extended investigative powers, I look forward to them ensuring the law is obeyed.”

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