Better Regulation Report on GLA
23rd September 2009
Praise for the approach to enforcement The Gangmasters Licensing Authority has received very positive praise as it continues to put better regulation principles into practice following the publication of a new report from the Better Regulation Executive.
The report focused on the assessment of regulatory performance against the Hampton principles and Macrory characteristics of effective inspection and enforcement. Regulators who receive a good report are one step closer to receiving additional powers to be able to fine those who break the rules in their regulatory regime.
Comments in the report include:
“The GLA’s impact in improving working conditions for some vulnerable workers has been impressive, particularly in view of its relatively small size. “The GLA has done well in developing an understanding of a complex sector with a significant economic impact, and its Community Impact assessment process provides a good model of how to reduce the possible unintended consequences of enforcement action.
“Its leaders emphasise that now that the licensing scheme is well established, it is entering a phase of operations where its strategic emphasis will focus less on bringing the majority of well-meaning businesses into a higher level of compliance , particularly by those labour providers that currently operate outside the licensing system altogether. This will entail reorienting its work towards the areas of highest risk. If these plans are successfully implemented, the GLA will be in a strong position to demonstrate Hampton compliance to a high standard.”
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA said:
“We are continuing to focus on the rogues and support good businesses by dealing with those who illegally undercut them. Our work benefits those who try their best and comply with the law, these businesses are increasingly working with us to help protect workers.
“The report is very encouraging but we know there is still more we can and must do. We will be acting on the recommendations in the report.
“The report is a warning to all rogue gangmasters who continue to abuse vulnerable workers; the GLA has done well and is well placed to do better; there will be no hiding place in the future for those who break the law.”
Notes to editors
1. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was set up to curb the exploitation of workers in the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packing industries.
2. The majority of workers involved in these industries come from countries such as: Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Pakistan and Portugal.
3. So far, 1,198 labour providers hold a GLA licence. Over 100 licenses have been revoked (8 with immediate effect). One person and one business has been prosecuted for operating without a licence, with more prosecutions forthcoming.
4.The Better Regulation Executive’s full report on the Gangmasters Licensing Authority can be found at www.bis.gov.uk/
5. The Hampton Review in 2005 – led by Sir Philip Hampton – recommended an end to the one size fits all approach to regulation and that regulators should take a risk-based approach to enforcement and information gathering. Among its findings were that regulators should carry out inspections only when needed and avoid unnecessary form-filling and duplication of effort or information.
6. In 2006 Professor Richard Macrory’s review of penalties for failure to comply with regulatory obligations recommended that regulators should focus on outcomes, rather than action. He recommended that sanctions should be aimed at changing the behaviour of noncompliance.
7. The GLA stepped up its fight against those who abuse workers with the launch of Operation Ajax in June 2008. The operation was set up to increase the GLA’s activities with an 18 month programme of unannounced raids.
8. Paul Whitehouse, GLA Chairman, is available for interview by contacting 0115 900 8962
9. Anybody who is aware of exploitation should contact the GLA through the Pay and Workers Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368 or report anonymously at www.gla.gov.uk/report
Public enquiries: 0845 602 5020
Media enquiries: 0115 900 8962