Employment-agency alliance aims to set standards

An organisation designed to improve and maintain professional standards among employment agencies has been launched by the HVCA. The Building Services Engineering Employment Agency represents a voluntary grouping of employment agencies that supply skilled personnel to contractors in building-services engineering. To qualify for membership, an agency must demonstrate its compliance with the recognised industry standards contained in the alliance’s key commitments. These will be used to establish if an organisation is operating on a sound commercial footing, is appropriately regulated and displays a genuine commitment to the sector. Three agencies are already members, following audits in the second half of 2007. They are Capital Group, Oracle Global Resourcing and Phoenix Resourcing Services. To ensure compliance with the key commitments, agencies seeking alliance membership must be audited by BM Trada Certification every three years and undergo an annual compliance inspection. Peter Rimmer, head of HVCA’s employment affairs department, says, ‘Formation of the alliance recognises the increasingly important role that employment agencies are playing in the supply chain — along with a need for clear standards by which their performance can be judged. ‘It will also facilitate strategic dialogue between contractors and their manpower suppliers on a range of issues — including education and training, health and safety, workforce competence and legislation. As many building-services-engineering contractors have found it increasingly difficult to ensure that the skills and competencies of their permanent employees always matched their clients’ requirements, agencies have become a familiar and, often, a much valued feature of the overall employment landscape, as well as a significant provider of skilled labour. Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, independent chairman of the alliance, says, ‘It is logical, therefore, that the industry’s focus should have turned away from the wholesale discouragement of employment agency activity and towards differentiating between their relative merits. ‘The purpose of the Building Services Engineering Employment Agency Alliance is to assist in just such differentiation.’
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