THE ALLIANCE’S 4TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 12 JULY 2012
Membership of the Building Services Engineering Employment Agency Alliance has remained constant in spite of the extremely difficult trading conditions suffered by the sector as a whole and employment businesses in particular.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the organisation, independent chairman Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan explained that the focus of the Alliance over the past 12 months had been on “the future training landscape of, and future training arrangements across, building engineering services”.
“We are working not only with the managing agency BEST, but also with the Australian organisation Impact Apprenticeships towards the development of a practical model that will permit consultation with Alliance members and with their contractor clients,” Lord O’Neill explained.
At the same time, a process had begun whereby the third-party quality audit arrangements – to which Alliance members are subject – were undergoing a “root-and-branch review”.
“In these challenging and competitive times, it is increasingly important that businesses are able to provide independent evidence of their competence, their capability and their professionalism. “It is this, above all, which the Employment Agency Alliance can deliver to its members,” Lord O’Neill concluded.
The Alliance is administered by the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES), which allows Alliance members “excellent networking opportunities with many of their key clients”, according to B&ES head of employment affairs Peter Rimmer.
“The relationship with B&ES also facilitated the joint publication of guidance on the provisions of the Agency Workers Regulations, which became law in October last year, and their implications for employment businesses and their clients,” said Mr Rimmer – and he added that this had resulted in the regulations having “minimal impact” on working practices across the sector.
Mr Rimmer went on to identify two issues with which the Alliance was likely to have to engage in the near future. These were: pension provision for agency workers required under the Pensions Act 2008; and the need for a “standardised” pre-qualification questionnaires for employment services procurement.
Alliance Conference – Planning for Uncertainty: The Flexible Workforce
Immediately following the Alliance’s AGM on 12 July 2012 a conference was held by the Alliance, together with B&ES as its sponsoring Association, with the theme Planning for Uncertainty: The Flexible Workforce. The objective of the conference was to focus on how building engineering services contractors, and maintenance and facilities management service providers, can tailor their manpower resourcing strategies in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty.
A News Release concerning the conference is available – Click here
Click here to access the latest Members’ Update.
Agency workers acquire new rights
Agency workers have enjoyed the same basic conditions as directly employed staff since October 2011.
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which came into effect on 1 October 2011, will have "very significant implications for our sector", according to B&ES head of employment affairs Peter Rimmer.
Following a 12-week qualifying period, agency staff will enjoy the same working and employment conditions they would enjoy if directly employed by the hirer, so the B&ES and the Building Services Engineering Employment Agency Alliance have jointly produced a practical guide 'Hiring Agency Workers' that explains the detail of the regulations for contractors and employment businesses.
“In particular, the regulations will impose additional responsibilities on both the hirer of labour and the agency providing that labour to share relevant workforce information, and to reflect this obligation in the terms and conditions enjoyed by individual workers and in the contractual arrangement between the agency and the hirer,” explained Mr Rimmer.
He added that Agency Alliance members were being encouraged to use the guidance in explaining to their clients the key elements of the regulations.
The Hiring Agency Workers document was launched at the third annual general meeting of the Agency Alliance in July 2011.
Click here to download a PDF version of the document.
Good quality printed versions of the Hiring Agency Workers guidance document are available free from Publications on 01768 860405 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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