Recruitment agency loses appeal to get its licence back

A recruitment agency has lost its appeal against having its licence refused after a judge said workers at the agency were left open to potential exploitation.

A Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) statement this morning reveals Boston-based Grand Labour Agency Ltd was refused a licence in September 2018, a decision that was upheld in court last month.

The company’s prospective principal authority Ian Tebbs was identified as one of the people in charge of Go Solutions Ltd, a recruitment agency also from Boston, which had its GLAA licence revoked in December 2017.

An inspection of Go Solutions found 12 breaches of the GLAA’s licensing standards, five of which were found to be serious enough on their own to cause the business to fail the inspection.

Despite seeking to downplay his involvement at Go Solutions, GLAA inspectors uncovered an email stating Tebbs had let two members of staff go. Bank statements also revealed that he was paid wages comparable to principal authority Gavin Overton.

Taking this into account, the GLAA considered that he had not been candid and truthful in his dealings with the agency, and therefore had not acted in a fit and proper manner.

During interviews, Tebbs also failed to demonstrate an understanding of some of the key elements of the licensing standards.

Grand Labour Agency, of Lindis Road, Boston, Lincolnshire, appealed the GLAA’s decision but its appeal was dismissed following a hearing held in Nottingham on 13 May.

In her written judgment issued on 5 June, employment judge Elizabeth Heap said that it was “particularly concerning” that the organisation failed to display an understanding of issues such as minimum wage legislation and entitlements such as statutory sick pay and rest breaks.

She added: “Such a lack of understanding leaves workers open to potential exploitation and a real risk that they would not be receiving the remuneration, benefits and basic levels of health and safety to which they are legitimately entitled.”

The ruling comes as the GLAA revoked Sunrise East Ltd’s licence with immediate effect after investigations revealed it was being managed by Tebbs, Overton and Ricky Gutteson, also associated with Go Solutions.

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