What we do
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority works in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers.
We are a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) governed by an independent Board made up of a chair and six members, who were recruited for their respective knowledge, experience and skills.
Our role is to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. Through the intelligence we receive from our inspections, the public, industry and other government departments, we investigate reports of worker exploitation and illegal activity such as human trafficking, forced labour and illegal labour provision, as well as offences under the National Minimum Wage and Employment Agencies Acts.
We investigate all aspects of labour exploitation in England and Wales but we also work with partner organisations such as the police, the National Crime Agency and other government law enforcement agencies to target, dismantle and disrupt serious and organised crime across the UK. The way in which we operate and the partners we work with vary slightly in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Visit our Northern Ireland page and our Scotland page to find out more.
Our licensing scheme regulates businesses who provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law.
If you are an employment agency, labour provider or gangmaster who provides workers to the sectors listed below, you will need a GLAA licence:
- Shellfish gathering
- Any associated processing and packaging
How does the licensing scheme work?
Labour providers are assessed to check they meet the GLAA licensing standards which cover health and safety, accommodation, pay, transport and training. We check that they are fit to hold a licence and that tax, National Insurance and VAT regulations are met.
A labour provider must have a GLAA licence to work in the regulated sectors, it is a criminal offence to supply workers without a licence or use an unlicensed labour provider.
What are the benefits of licensing?
Workers receive fair treatment, the pay, benefits and conditions they are entitled to.
Labour providers are not undercut by those who pay less than the minimum wage or avoid tax. Industry standards are raised.
Labour users can check their workers come from a legitimate provider and are informed if their labour provider’s licence is revoked.
Consumers can be assured that their food has been picked and packed in an ethical environment. Illegal activities which lead to a loss of public revenue – income tax, VAT and NI – are reduced.
Find out more...
I supply workers: Everything you need to know about the licensing scheme
I use workers: Guidance on using a licensed labour provider and best practice
I am a worker: Your employment rights and how to report problems
The GLAA follows the principles and guidance in the Hampton and Macrory reviews, which outline the approach regulators should take to improve compliance and reduce the administrative burdens on business. Read more about the Regulators Code and how we follow it in the documents below.
The Regulators' code: Principals of effective regulation. Published 2018
Implementation of the Regulators Code principals: How the GLAA meets the requirements of the Regulators Code
The Guidance on Regulation Code of Practice: How we apply the principals of the code to our guidance on legislation
Find out more...
The Hampton review: Sir Philip Hampton's 2005 review assessed how regulatory bodies could reduce unnecessary administration for businesses
The Macrory review: Richard Macrory's 2006 report on how to improve compliance among UK businesses
Gangmasters Licensing Authority: A Hampton Implementation Review Report: A Better Regulation Executive/National Audit Office assessment of how the GLA complies with Hampton and Macrory principles