Skip to main content

Recruitment: Fraud

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many companies have been found to be advertising non-existent jobs in each of the last 10 years. (225349)

The Department does not hold such information.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) acts to resolve complaints about advertisements in UK media, including television, radio, press, posters, direct marketing and some online advertising. The ASA publishes details of all formally resolved adjudications on its website. This database can be accessed at:

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/public/

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what powers the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate has to prevent recruitment companies from placing advertisements for non-existent jobs. (225549)

The Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate investigates all complaints received about recruitment companies that suggest any breach of employment agency legislation. This includes the regulations governing advertisements, where agencies cannot advertise specific vacancies unless they have the authority of the employer concerned in respect of that position.

Any breach of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 is a criminal offence and agencies can be prosecuted in the magistrate's court. In addition, the EAS has powers to seek to prohibit individuals from being involved in the running of an agency for up to 10 years.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to prevent the publication in print or via the internet of bogus notices from recruitment agencies and other organisations advertising non-existent jobs. (225550)

Regulation 27 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 specifies that agencies cannot advertise specific vacancies in print or on the internet unless they have the authority of the employer concerned. The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate investigates any complaints received. Any breach of regulations is a criminal offence which can be prosecuted in magistrates court.

In addition, misleading advertisements made by both the recruitment agencies and other organisations about employment vacancies may be prohibited under the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008, which is enforced by Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

More generally, all employers placing vacancies with Jobcentre Plus are required to provide specified information (including contact details) to help reduce the likelihood of bogus employers advertising vacancies and to safeguard jobseekers. Jobcentre Plus has a robust Employer Complaints process through which jobseekers can report any issues around inappropriate vacancies or employer activities. If Jobcentre Plus receives a complaint from a customer about an employer who is advertising fictitious vacancies it will be investigated. If the investigation concludes the employer is advertising bogus vacancies, they will be removed from their systems immediately and if appropriate, access to Jobcentre Plus services may be withdrawn to the employer.

Additionally, Jobcentre Plus has put further measures in place to ensure that recruitment agencies only advertise genuine vacancies. Most importantly, before vacancies are accepted Jobcentre Plus requires them to sign a service level agreement (SLA) with Jobcentre Plus agreeing to the terms for using their services. Jobcentre Plus takes these conditions very seriously and will investigate any complaints that individual agencies are not complying with the terms of the SLA. This ultimately could lead to Jobcentre Plus terminating service with a recruitment agency in breach of their agreement.