Almost half of UK recruitment firms are at risk of criminal charges: are you in jeopardy?

recruitment agencies criminal charges

27th February 2018

It’s been five months since the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force, but it would seem that despite our warnings, a vast number of recruiters remain exposed to possible criminal charges.

As regular visitors to our site will have seen, we have been undertaking a survey in conjunction with Camino Partners – the country’s only recruitment consultancy specialising in back office and support roles for recruitment companies. According to the results of this research, almost half (43%) of recruitment firms are unaware of the impact this legislation could have on their business.

While this figure alone is alarming, it is even more of a worry when we factor in that one third of the survey respondents stated that they are responsible for compliance in their firm.

Criminal Finances Act: phase two

These survey results come at a time when the government is gearing up to bring the remainder of the Act into force in just over one months’ time. As of 16th April, the regulation will increase HMRC’s powers in relation to searches as well as the seizure and detention of cash. Officers will also be allowed to seize valuable property under the Act in this latest roll out.

It’s a top-down issue

We find these results hugely concerning. While contractor compliance is a complex issue, it’s one that all recruiters in the UK need to be aware of and understand – and this needs to be driven from the top of the business.

It will be company owners who face criminal charges should they fail to prove that they have the requisite procedures in places to prevent the facilitation of evasion. This means that recruitment agency owners and Directors could face charges for fraudulent activity they weren’t even aware of, simply through their firms’ association with a contractor or third-party supplier.

Recruitment firms must act

It is encouraging that when asked to rank the importance of contractor compliance on a scale of 1 – 10, respondents selected an average of 9.2. However, valuing compliance and implementing it are two separate issues. Agency owners need to take action now before it is too late.

Worried your firm is at risk of non-compliance under the Criminal Finances Act 2017? Speak to our experts today:


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