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Auditing your temporary and contract agencies: 12 mistakes to avoid

18 July 2016

Here at Datum RPO, we consider ourselves auditing experts – We audit all our clients temporary agencies every six months and we recommend that everyone who has a temporary workforce does the same.. Why? Because we believe that everyone should be 100% confident that their temporary or contract agencies are working hard for them and that all of their workers are recruited with full compliance to legislations and recruitment best practice. By reviewing the processes, systems and records in place for each of your recruitment agencies on a bi-annual basis, you can verify ongoing legal compliance (keeping you out of court) and also ensure that your agencies have everything they need to meet the standards you deserve.

How to go about an agency audit

Give your temporary and contract agencies a weeks notice that you would like to conduct an audit. Any longer and it gives them too much time to retrospectively update records, any less and it may be too difficult to get ready in time.

On the day of the audit, ask your suppliers to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is available for you to review, including pay slips, insurance documents, memberships and accreditations and ISO quality standards. The audit itself should then be used to verify that the agency has retained copies of essential compliance paperwork, as well as other best practice checks. Audits generally take between half a day and a day (onsite at each agency) depending on how many candidate records need to be accessed.

Temporary and Contract Agencies

What issues might arise during an agency audit and why are they important? 

Key issues to look out for include:

1) Missing or unsigned criminal conviction declarations according to the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

2) No retained copies of qualifications, certificates or licenses

3) Missing application form

4) No evidence of reference checks (unless there is evidence of reference requests) 

5) Missing or unsigned 48 hour opt out agreement

6) No health and safety or risk assessment in place

7) No insurance or insurance that is not in line with the contract

8) Lower pay slip pay rate than agreed

9) Pay type mismatch (for example listing as PAYE but paying limited) 

10) No record of a face-to-face interview

11) Absence of a medical questionnaire

12) Missing payslips

As well as looking out for the missing documents listed above, you should also be aware that for different individuals, different types of criminal record checks will be required depending on their area of work. For example, basic checks apply for any type of employment, from those working in hospitality or retail to office workers, whereas carers or those working with vulnerable people will be subject to the most thorough enhanced check.

To pass an audit, a score of 0-49 is needed (this is a score we work towards internally, but you should set your own pass/fail criteria)– but don’t worry if your agencies fail their first audit: It’s actually very unusual to pass with 100% compliance the first time round, and even some of the best temporary and contract agencies can miss some of the necessary checks or take their eye off the ball. That’s why we recommend a seven-day period after the audit has taken place for agencies to resolve any issues and bring the standards up to the acceptable level before carrying out another check.

If you want to make sure that your temporary or contract agencies are meeting the necessary standards to ensure you are getting the service you deserve, it’s time to think about auditing and making sure it happens regularly. Why not download our guide to successful auditing today to help you through the process? 

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