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New report highlights successful employment agency prosecutions for 2015/16

The report also highlights various other factors affecting recruiters

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) has this month released its 2015-2016 Annual Report.

As well as the EAS’s role and responsibilities, the report also highlights various factors affecting recruitment agencies including:

  • Complaints about employment agencies
  • Legislative and regulatory changes
  • Enforcement of the legislation
  • Successful prosecutions
  • Successful prohibitions
  • Money recovered

Highlights from the report include:

Complaints about employment agencies














Complaints received











Complaints cleared 784 916 779 581 730
Targeted inspections 407 229 46 23 194
Infringements (cleared cases and inspections)  










Warning letters issued 602 471 179 133 275


Complaints and targeted inspections by agency type – April 2015 to March 2016


Types of agencies


Number of cases


% of total cases


Healthcare (carers/nurses/doctors)





Industrial 136 19%
Drivers 57 8%
Construction 42 6%
Secretarial/Commercial/Admin (office workers) 99 13%
Entertainment (actors/extras) 144 20%
Nannies/AuPairs/Childcare (domestic workers) 22 3%
Hotel/Catering/Hospitality 19 3%
IT/Online 36 5%
Professional/Executive (engineering and technical)  




Teachers/Tutors 57 8%
Total 730 100%


Changes to Employment Regulations 

The Government consulted on a proposal to amend the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. The proposal was to ensure that all job vacancies for work-seekers with hirers were advertised in English and in Great Britain at the same time or before they advertised the vacancies in EEA countries. The proposal was taken forward and the Conduct Regulations were amended accordingly in January 2015.

The Government launched a consultation on a proposal to prohibit employment agencies and employment businesses from placing generic recruitment advertising, in relation to vacancies in Great Britain, in other EEA countries but not in Great Britain. Parliament approved these amendments and they came into force on 8 May 2016.

EAS employment business inspections

EAS carried out a series of targeted inspections of employment businesses that supplied temporary workers to various sectors including industrial, catering, driving, hospitality, and IT. EAS also targeted supply teacher agencies and care agencies, led by The Pensions Regulator.

A summary of the findings is in the table below:-






Number of visits



May 2015 Southampton 37 85
June 2015 Medway Towns 17 45
July 2015 Care agencies 18 31
July 2015 Norwich 32 97
October 2015 Derby 21 76
January 2016 Supply teacher agencies 34 98
February 2016 Leeds 33 96


Successful prosecutions

  1. In July 2013, EAS prosecuted a person at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court who operated an employment agency. The defendant pleaded guilty to providing additional services to work-seekers for a fee before providing any work-finding services. The defendant was sentenced to pay compensation to two work-seekers totalling £4,080 and an additional £1,329 in costs.
  2. In November 2013 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court, EAS prosecuted three persons (a limited company and two of the company directors) trading as an employment business. Workers were being recruited from Romania and supplied to work in residential care homes throughout the UK. Each person pleaded guilty to providing additional services and making it a condition that work-seekers use and pay for these services before they were found work. The Directors were each fined £2,100 (£4,200) and the company was fined £1,000. In addition, the parties were ordered to pay victim surcharges totalling £240 and £392 towards costs.
  3. In January 2015, EAS prosecuted two persons (a limited company and a Director) who failed to pay a temporary worker’s wages and who had provided insufficient information in the terms and conditions to a temporary worker. The defendant was found guilty and ordered to pay compensation to the worker totalling £6,506.19, as well as being fined a total of £600.00 and being ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15.00 and a contribution towards costs of £5,000.00.
  4. In January 2015 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, EAS prosecuted a person who ran an employment business and failed to pay wages to four temporary workers totalling £10,000.00. EAS commenced the investigation in 2010. The defendant failed to appear at a hearing in November that year and the Court issued a warrant for his arrest. The defendant could not be located and it seemed that he had left the UK. He returned to the UK in January 2015 and surrendered to the Court. In a subsequent hearing, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He was ordered to pay compensation and outstanding wages to the four workers and was conditionally discharged for a period of 2 years.

Successful prohibitions

  1. In August 2013, EAS successfully applied for a prohibition at Birmingham Employment Tribunal against a person who operated an employment business in supplying teachers to schools. The individual purported to be a qualified teacher and was supplied by another employment business to a school (the agency that supplied the worker was not at fault). The individual subsequently set up his own employment business and supplied himself to the same school where it was alleged he sexually assaulted a child. He was arrested and subsequently convicted of this offence in 2011. The prohibition order was for the maximum term of 10 years.
  2. In March 2014, EAS successfully applied for a prohibition order at Manchester Employment Tribunal against a person operating an employment agency who was placing false advertisements for jobs with a hirer and without the hirer’s permission. The person was prohibited from running an employment agency or employment business for 7 years.
  3. In April 2014, EAS successfully applied for a prohibition order at Reading Employment Tribunal against a person who operated as an employment business and was involved in supplying temporary workers, mostly catering or ground staff, to London Heathrow airport. The person running this activity had been convicted in 2008 for fraud by HMRC. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison. He was also required to pay £1.7million as confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Although a partial payment was made this person failed to comply with the confiscation order and was sentenced to serve a further 4 years in prison. He was released in 2014 and EAS made an application to prohibit him. He was banned for 10 years.

Money recovered

Over the course of 2015/16, EAS recovered around £83,000.00 as a result of their interventions in securing compliance during their investigations. Most of this amount related to non-payment of wages or money owed to temporary workers, or where job finding fees were being charged to work-seekers.

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