Recruiter couple banned from running a business after exploiting workers

A team of husband and wife recruiters have been banned for a total of 21 years after exploiting agricultural workers, the Insolvency Service has revealed.

Lincoln-based Simon Melville has been disqualified for 11 years. Julie Melville has been barred for 10 years. They are banned from acting as directors or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company. 

Lincolnshire Recruitment Services, a limited company, was incorporated in June 2012, providing workers for the agricultural industry.

The company entered into creditors’ voluntary liquidation in September 2018, a statement from the Insolvency Service said. However, the company’s financial collapse led to investigators’ discovery that the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) had inspected the firm in February 2018 before revoking its GLAA licence. 

Between July 2017 and September 2018, Simon and Julie Melville had failed to make holiday payments to 186 employees, charged employees for safety equipment which should have been supplied free of charge and didn’t provide employees with copies of their contracts, GLAA inspectors found.

Further, the Melvilles did not provide clients with formal terms of business, they disclosed employees’ personal details to third parties without consent and allowed employees to transport staff to various sites without proper driving licences or insurance.

Through the GLAA’s inspection, it was also uncovered that Julie Melville had acted as the Principal Authority under the terms of the recruitment firm’s GLAA licence. However, the GLAA had not formally authorised her to act in that role as she had not sent in her application, “and she only applied to the GLAA following the regulator’s unannounced inspection”, the statement said.

Insolvency Service investigators also found that Simon Melville had been illegitimately running Lincolnshire Recruitment Services in breach of a previous disqualification in 2014. At that time, he was disqualified for nine years, following the collapse of Melville Agricultural Contractors Ltd. After the company finished trading, Simon Melville withdrew £45k worth of cash which should have been used to pay the company’s tax liabilities, the statement said.

Julie Melville was aware of the ban but breached her own responsibilities as sole director by allowing her husband to run the recruitment firm behind the scenes.

On 9 October, a disqualification undertaking was accepted from Simon Melville after he did not dispute that he acted in breach of his prior ban and that he caused Lincolnshire Recruitment Services to abuse the GLAA’s licensing regulations.

His ban is effective from 30 October 2020. His wife’s 10-year disqualification began on 9 October, after she did not dispute that she allowed a third party to act as a director and caused Lincolnshire Recruitment Services to abuse the GLAA’s licensing regulations.

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