Information an employment agency must provide about a worker

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 place an obligation on employment agencies and employment businesses to provide certain information about a work-seeker to a hirer. 

For the purpose of the regulations an “employment agency” ordinarily introduces candidates for permanent vacancies and an “employment business” ordinarily supplies temporary workers. Where a company provides both services it will fall within both definitions.

What information must be provided and when?

What information must be provided?

Agencies and employment businesses are required to provide the following information to hirers: 

  • The identity of the work-seeker; 
  • Details of the experience, training, qualifications and any authorisation which the hirer considers necessary, or which are required by law or by any professional body, to work in the position which the hirer seeks to fill; 
  • Confirmation that the work-seeker is willing to work in the position which the hirer seeks to fill. 

Where temporary workers are supplied the employment business must also confirm whether the work-seeker to be supplied will be employed by it under a contract of service or apprenticeship or a contract for services.

Information relating to unsuitable work-seekers

Agencies and employment businesses are required to take steps to ensure that a work-seeker is suitable for the position before they introduce or supply the work-seeker to the hirer. In particular they are required to take all such steps, as are reasonably practicable, to ensure that the work-seeker and the hirer are each aware of any requirements imposed by law, or by any professional body which must be satisfied by the hirer or the work-seeker to enable the work-seeker to work for the hirer in the position which the hirer seeks to fill.  

In addition to any duties an agency or employment business may have under the law relating to health and safety at work, agencies and employment businesses are required to make all such enquiries, as are reasonably practicable to ensure that it would not be detrimental to the interests of the work-seeker or the hirer for the work-seeker to work for the hirer in the position which the hirer seeks to fill.  

In the case of the supply of temporary workers, when an employment business receives or obtains information, which gives it reasonable grounds to believe that a work-seeker is unsuitable for the position with a hirer for which the work-seeker is being supplied, the employment business is required, without delay, to inform the hirer of that information.  

If an employment business receives or obtains information which merely indicates that a work-seeker may be unsuitable for the position with a hirer for which the work-seeker is being supplied, the employment business is required, without delay, to inform the hirer of that information. In such circumstances the employment business is required to make such further enquiries as are reasonably practicable as to the suitability of the work-seeker for the position concerned. Having made such further enquiries the agency or employment business is then required to inform the hirer of the enquiries made and any further information it receives or obtains. If, as a result of such enquiries an employment business has reasonable grounds to believe that the work-seeker is unsuitable for the position concerned, it is required to inform the hirer of that information, without delay. 

If after introducing a work-seeker to a hirer, an agency receives or obtains information, which indicates that the work-seeker is or may be unsuitable for the position in which the work-seeker has been employed with that hirer, the agency is required to inform the hirer of that information without delay. This requirement applies for a period of 3 months from the date of the introduction of a work-seeker by an agency to a hirer. 

For the purpose of the regulations, “without delay” means on the same day, or where that is not reasonably practicable, on the next business day.

Additional requirements where professional qualifications are required or where work-seekers are to work with vulnerable persons

Agencies and employment businesses are required to provide additional information when one of the following three situations arises: 

  • Where a work-seeker is required by law, or any professional body, to have any qualifications or authorisation to work in a position for which he is to be supplied or introduced to a hirer; 
  • Where a work-seeker is to be supplied or introduced to a hirer with a view to taking up a position which involves working with or caring for or attending a person or persons who are under the age of eighteen; 
  • Where a work-seeker is to be supplied or introduced to a hirer with a view to taking up a position which involves caring for or attending any person who by reason of age, infirmity, or any other circumstances is in need of care or attention. 

In such circumstances the agency or employment business is required to obtain copies of any relevant qualifications or authorisations of the work-seeker together with two references from persons who are not relatives of the work-seeker and who have agreed that the reference they provide may be disclosed to the hirer. The agency or employment business is required to offer to provide copies of these to the hirer.

If an agency or employment business is unable to comply with the requirements as to references and has taken all steps that are reasonably practicable to comply, the agency or employment business is required to comply with those requirements to the extent that it is able to do so. The agency or employment business must also inform the hirer that it has taken all reasonably practicable steps to comply fully with those requirements and has been unable to do so. It must also inform the hirer of the details of the steps that it has taken in order to comply fully with those requirements.  

Where a work-seeker is to work with a child or vulnerable person the agency or employment business is also required to take all other reasonably practicable steps to confirm that the work-seeker is not unsuitable for the position concerned.

When and how must the information be provided?

Apart from as specified above, the information must be provided when the agency or employment business introduces the work-seeker to the hirer.  

The information can be provided orally in the first instance. Where it is provided orally the agency or employment business is required to confirm the information in paper form or by electronic means as soon as possible and in any event no later than the end of the third business day following the day on which the information was orally given. 

These requirements do not, however, apply where an agency or employment business intends to introduce or supply a work-seeker to a hirer to work in the same position with that hirer as he has worked within the previous five business days and the hirer has already received the information to which he is entitled unless the hirer or work-seeker requests otherwise.