This follows an investigation by the Government's Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. Of the nine offending agencies, inspectors found 37 separate infringements of the law.
Many of these offences were relatively minor, but the worst practices identified included:
- charging illegal fees
- sub-standard accounting practices
Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said: "The Government has doubled the number of Employment Agency Standards inspectors so that they can get out on the ground and target the rule-breakers."
The Employment Agency Standards team acted following reports of improper activity. Follow up investigations will take place to make sure that the agencies concerned have acted to change their ways. Agencies that continue to disobey the law could be prosecuted, hit hard with fines or even banned from operating for up to 10 years.
Employment Agency Standards
The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR). The Inspectorate carries out inspections of agencies on the basis of perceived risk of non-compliance and investigates complaints about agency conduct.
Agencies who break the law could face prosecution and fines of up to £5,000 per offence. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to ten years.
For legal reasons, Department for Business cannot name the agencies warned, unless they are prosecuted or prohibited.
People can report employment agencies they suspect of breaking the law by contacting the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2009