13 Jan 2021
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) is asking for your views on how it inspects licence holders and new applicants as part of proposals by the agency to build an improved compliance strategy.
A public consultation has been launched, with 16 questions for respondents to answer which will help the GLAA maintain an effective licensing scheme and prevent labour exploitation.
Compliance is a crucial part of how the GLAA functions in protecting vulnerable and exploited workers.
The authority operates a licensing scheme to regulate the provision of workers for roles in the UK fresh produce sector - agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and any associated food processing and packaging. Anyone supplying workers into these sectors requires a GLAA licence.
Labour providers are assessed through compliance inspections to check they meet the GLAA licensing standards which cover health and safety, accommodation, pay, transport and training.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, all new applicants were also subject to on site inspections by GLAA officers to ensure that they were fit to be licence holders.
However, since restrictions were introduced in March 2020, the GLAA has successfully moved to virtual, desk-based application inspections.
The application process is as rigorous as before, with the same identification and competency checks conducted but with time saved through reduced travel and paperwork.
Retaining this virtual method of assessing applications would allow the authority to focus more of its limited resources on compliance inspections, particularly where there is intelligence indicating breaches of the licensing standards and more serious exploitation of workers.
Other areas covered by the consultation include:
• Verification of information to check compliance
• Compliance inspections on renewal of a licence
• Randomised compliance inspections
• Intelligence-led inspections
• New business inspections or awareness visits
• Earned recognition
• Spot checks
• Licence fees
• The scope of licensing
GLAA Head of Regulation Nicola Ray said: “We believe that the options set out in the consultation may provide a more effective approach to licensing and could provide greater assurance that the GLAA’s licensing scheme is credible and continues to provide a level playing field for business.
“In preparing for this consultation we ran a small number of workshops where we shared some of our initial thinking with some of our key partners and stakeholders. The views expressed at those meetings have helped us to gain a better understanding of how compliance activity is viewed by the sector, and how changes in our approach might impact businesses.
“We really appreciate all your comments and suggestions, especially if you are able to explain the reasons for your responses and provide additional information or evidence which supports them. This will all help in our efforts to strengthen our approach to licensing and prepare the organisation for the future.”
Responses to the consultation should be emailed to email@example.com by the deadline of Friday 12 February 2021. If you would like FPC to respond on your behalf please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
A summary of responses will be published on the GLAA website following the end of the consultation exercise.
Any changes are expected to be implemented by April of this year, subject to GLAA Board approval.