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Agency Checks
by Wilberforce at 09:09 02/02/15 (Letters from Freelancers)
A recent question (below) in our 'Ask An Expert' section about agency checks has led to a wider debate.

Agency checks prior to starting a contract

by spearmain at 15:57 27/01/15 (Ask-Legal-Accounting)

I have been contracting via my own personal services company since 2009. I have been on maternity leave since June 2013 (fully salaried by my company except for the period I received Statutory Maternity Pay). I have just been offered an 8 week contract by a City institution, but am having no end of hassle with the agency they are using to complete all the relevant security/credit checks as they seem to fail to understand the difference between contractors working via a limited company and PAYE employees.

We have reached an impasse as they are demanding I supply copies of my personal bank statements for the period I was on maternity leave to prove how I financed myself during this time, and I am refusing as I think the request is intrusive and unnecessary.
I do not understand why they are pushing for this information as (1) it does not affect my ability to do the job the client wants me to do (2) I have already signed a declaration stating that I have never had any income from illegal sources and (3) as I was employed by my company I do not have any employment gaps, I just didnít have any clients during the period. I find it hard to believe they would ask every female candidate (perm or contract) how they financed their maternity leave! Does anyone know whether this is a PRA/FCA requirement, or even legal?

I hope this won't be edited out as I think there are a couple of points raised worthy of wider debate.

1)How much and what information is necessary to validate a candidate?
2) Is this candidate a company or a person?

I think in satisfying themselves that the candidate is not a credit risk they can ask for standard credit information but NOT to see bank statements!

The candidate is being employed through her company. She is either a business or she is a person.

If she is a business then she is not protected by 'personal rights' legislation or, in my opinion, can claim such 'rights' ethically as a BUSINESS.
--
Wilberforce


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