SiR: a new era in compliance

 In News

The recruitment industry is booming, with figures showing a record turnover of £31.5 billion in 2014. With 103,000 employed in the sector it’s clear to see there are now more agencies than ever. As the sector grows it will inevitably attract more attention and face increased competition, believes John Randall, engagement director for Standards in Recruitment (SiR). Now is the time, he believes, for recruitment businesses to step up to some very obvious challenges.

Speaking to Recruitment International (RI), Randall says, “Standards in Recruitment was established as an independent accreditation for recruitment businesses in 2015, in response to calls from within the industry. With a greater focus by employers on good HR governance, a tightening labour market, supply related legislation, and the sense by many hirers that agency compliance may not be all that it is cracked up to be, it makes sense to take an entirely different approach to quality and compliance validation.”

Randall explains, “From the start it was evident that for an accreditation to work it would need to capture a set of standards acceptable to hirers, agencies and candidates, and then test compliance with those standards in an independent and professional way. The standards had to be fit for purpose in any sector, applicable worldwide, and so would have to be developed in conjunction with an advisory group drawn from industry stakeholders, including, hirers and agencies as well as legal experts, given that legal compliance is an essential ingredient. Crucially, to set it apart from trade association codes of practice, the standards had to meet contemporary expectations and the accreditation had to be independent and available to all, in other words be entirely devoid of any kind of membership conflict. Finally, it was imperative that the standards would encourage and help businesses to improve, so bringing about a new more inclusive age.”

Randall adds, “What we have created will engender a new and I believe essential era in compliance. Not only will this kite mark allow hirers and candidates to distinguish between trusted providers and less reputable companies, but it makes commercial sense.

SiR takes an individual approach

Over the past twelve months SiR has strengthened its team, enabling it to help companies be recognised as quality businesses, promote trust and credibility among their hirers and candidates, and by doing so, keep businesses ahead of their competitors.

Explaining how SiR works, operations director Steve Buxton, tells RI, “First and foremost SiR is not like a mandatory or regulatory inspection or audit. We understand that an agency will have developed its own management processes that best reflect the sector in which it operates. Therefore, we work with companies to identify and establish that those processes are being implemented correctly.”

Buxton says, “The accreditation relies upon comprehensive, evidence-based audits which focus on helping businesses learn and adjust wherever necessary. The pathway to achieving the kite mark includes guidance on the standards, an onsite gap analysis, and a legal and operational on site audit. The combination of guidance and gap analysis in particular is designed to help you understand and build up your processes where necessary, so strengthening your business along the way. The audits are conducted by a team of independent auditors with extensive experience in business auditing. No other recruitment accreditation operates this way.”

SiR will help restore the confidence of hirers

Returning to the concern of some hirers Randall admits, “It’s probably fair to say that perceptions of the recruitment agencies may be less than the industry would like them to be despite some excellent services on offer. Typical criticisms are unsolicited approaches, providing unsuitable CVs, failure to check comparator pay for agency worker regulations, and not registering with the Data Protection Commissioner.

“I believe that Standards in Recruitment will help to restore the confidence of hirers and we welcome the opportunity to talk to business to explain the benefits of adopting SiR as a clear demonstration of excellence in compliance.”

Relationship manager, Tom Clark, has been out meeting with companies and is getting positive feedback. “Almost everyone I’ve spoken with supports the principle of an independent standard. They particularly like the support that the gap analysis provides, making it easy for agencies to identify and test their existing compliance arrangements. The overall outcome of a well-run business that also stands out to hirers and candidates is clearly attractive.”

“It’s a clear value-add to our business”

However, the best advocates of how SiR can help recruitment businesses are those that have undergone the accreditation. Aeropeople are a leading Aerospace and Motor Sport technical services provider and, as might be expected they already operate within a highly regulated sector. So having achieved ISO, EASA and the UK Border Agency sponsorship approvals, what made them want to have SiR accreditation?

Aeropeople compliance manager, Julie Welford, explains, “SiR goes further; into more depth and because it is specifically for recruitment, which fundamentally is what we’re about, the accreditation reinforces that we are providing the best service to our clients and our organisation.”

Welford adds, “The standards were easy to understand, straight forward and most importantly relevant. It’s a clear value-add to our business to complete the SiR process. “

“A very real differentiator from our competitors”

Equally, with its commitment to quality and a string of accreditations already to its name, the addition of SiR accreditation was a natural choice for Campion Willcocks, a provider of specialist interim, consultancy, contract and permanent resourcing to the financial services sector for the last 47 years.

Compliance manager, Steven Watson, says, “With all our experience we found the SiR standards and audit process very thought provoking, and it made us examine how we go about our business with a continued focus on quality, which we found very encouraging.”

He stresses, “The SiR accreditation goes the extra mile, and gives us a very real differentiator from our competitors. It’s refreshing that this is available to companies like ours to reflect our drive for high quality standards in addition to our continued commitment to regulatory and legal compliance.”

How to apply for SiR accreditation

SiR is creating a new era in an increasingly compliance-driven world. Being SiR accredited will set companies above their competitors by independently confirming them as an effective, trusted validated recruitment business. The accreditation process itself brings immediate advantages with the standards and guidance providing a pathway to success.

To find out more and to apply, contact SiR at:

Tel: 0845 450 4415



This article first appeared in Recruitment International – 12th January 2016

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