National recruitment consultancy Encore, specialising in recruitment for logistics firms, has established a team of four compliance experts to provide 'gold standard' training on the prevention of slavery and human trafficking to both its staff and clients.
Encore, which has offices throughout the country and employs an award-winning team of 170 people, is leading the pack for recruiters on this shocking topic which now regularly hits the headlines on a weekly basis – particularly in the food sector.
The consultancy has grown its compliance team to four specialists who provide free tailor-made training to clients about the stipulations of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and nurture each and every Encore employee in how to spot the tell-tale signs of the illegal and immoral practice of slavery at the earliest opportunity.
The team is made up of compliance manager Phil Tilt, former Encore branch manager Nikki Gallier, senior account executive Neil Cook and company administrator Hayley Knight, who between them have more than 35 years' experience of working in the recruitment sector.
Phil said Encore was proud to be leading the way with best practice in compliance. He said: "At Encore we treat compliance training as one of the most important aspects of the induction process for our new starters - a focus which is maintained through regular audits for all of our staff as we regularly check that all team members are up to speed on how to spot signs of illegal working and human trafficking.
"Many recruitment agencies do not have a dedicated compliance team like we do, instead relying on one person to take responsibility for monitoring and training staff in issues such as slavery and how to address it.
"At Encore, however, we have invested in building up a team of four experts who are committed to eradicating human trafficking and slavery in our supply chain, while at the same time maintaining other areas of best practice such as implementing principles from SEDEX (the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange)."
Phil explained that there had undoubtedly been an increase in illegal working in the UK in recent years, but that Encore was doing everything in its power to tackle the issue head-on.
He added: "Encore are one of only 50 agencies to hold REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) Audited status, which outlines higher ethical standards in 10 principles including respect for laws, diversity and safety.
"We are also a licensed labour provider under the provisions of the Gangmaster Licensing Act 2004 and we have recently updated our slavery and human trafficking statement which articulates our policies and practices around recognising and preventing it in the global supply chain."
Operations director at Encore Pete Taylor added that the business's approach to compliance had been recognised as outstanding by others in the industry.
He said: "We have invested heavily in the development of our compliance team as we see it as an integral part of the award-winning services we provide to our clients and workers – and we are regularly praised for our approach.
"We make sure information about slavery and human trafficking and how to spot it is readily available to our clients, through regular e-bulletins to our database, dedicated training sessions and the provision of printed materials in all sectors that we work in.
"Furthermore, by adopting the guidance of the Stronger Together organisation, all of our recruiters observe practices such as only interviewing applicants in an approved location and not allowing an unauthorised individual to introduce job applicants to Encore.
"Everyone at Encore is trained from day one in how to spot give-away signs of corruption such as addresses which show high occupancy in particular houses where agency workers live and one phone number being used as the contact number for several workers – and we see this as a vital part of what we do, hence the strategic investment in our compliance team.
"We see ensuring the welfare of all the workers we place as a key priority – it is a moral issue which we take extremely seriously and not just a legal obligation."