The GLA (Gangmasters Licensing Authority) is a public body which regulates the supply of workers in the agricultural, horticultural and food processing industries. As of May 2017 the GLA has got a new name, powers and remit.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has taken on the role previously held by the GLA. In addition to this change of name, both the remit and powers have changed. The outgoing GLA was responsible for regulating labour supply to the agricultural, horticultural and food processing industries only; the brand-new GLAA has broader responsibilities across the entire UK labour market. To support the GLAA the Immigration Act 2016 also granted them additional police-style powers to investigate labour abuse and exploitation across the UK.
As part of this change – and to support the GLAA’s role in the enforcement of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 – new ‘Labour Abuse Prevention Officers’ will be created to investigate cases where there are reports of labour exploitation, modern slavery or human trafficking. The GLAA will also have the power to investigate offences under the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the National Minimum Wage Act 1988.
That’s a lot of powers and a very wide remit, but…
What does the GLAA mean for recruitment agencies?
Employment agencies who provide labour to the agricultural, horticultural or food processing industries are already required to be licensed by the GLAA. This requirement will not change and you can read more about who needs a license on the GLAA website.
The GLAA works in partnership with other organisations to protect vulnerable and exploited workers and this exploitation doesn’t just occur in the farming and food processing industries. As such the GLAA’s remit has be greatly extended and recruitment agencies across the UK would be wise to take time to understand their rules and best practices, no matter what industry they operate in.
Though most recruitment and employment agencies are responsible in their sourcing and placing of labour, any recruitment organisations that do not actively consider ways to address labour exploitation may wish to do so. Understanding of and, if necessary, compliance with the Transparency in Supply Chains guidance from the Government is a key step to demonstrating your certainty over the nature of your labour supply.
The sectors that the GLAA have identified as most prevalent include agriculture, car washes, construction, nail bars, restaurants and take-aways and production line practices. You can hear more from the GLA’s CEO Paul Broadbent in this REC Webinar on the GLAA reform: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vHwlKMXXkc and find out more about the GLA on their website: www.gla.gov.uk.