ARC welcomes new member Apex

15 August 2016

The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) is delighted to welcome Apex Resources Ltd as a gold member. Established in 2004, Apex is a highly successful temporary and permanent recruitment consultancy operating in shopfitting and interiors, construction, industrial and driving sectors with 5 offices located around the United Kingdom making over 50,000 placements each year.

Tope Osazee, managing director of Apex, said “As an independent company we welcome the opportunity to work with ARC, and are very pleased to become members. This association reflects the values that we consider are important and has a refreshing approach and vision for membership support which we feel is helpful for both our organisation and for the industry.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of ARC said “Ahead of attaining membership Apex asked us to undertake a review of their operations and we were impressed by the level of professionalism on display. As this industry continues to grow it is ever more important that hirers and candidates should be able to rely on correct procedures and a suitable ethical approach to doing business. We look forward to working with Apex as a member”.

More information can be found on the ARC website.

Apex Resources hits back at unfair REC criticism and unsuitable practices

Responding to an article published by the REC on its website on 19th January 2016 headed “REC expels Apex Resources Ltd following allegation of non-payment” Apex slams the REC for the repeated breach of its own rules and the mishandling of a straightforward complaint.

Referring to the facts of the case, Tope Osazee, a Director of Apex said “a complaint of non-payment for 3 days work was made to the REC by a worker engaged by us through an umbrella company in April last year. In May having looked into the matter we informed the REC that the worker was engaged through an intermediary. As the matter continued by July we were able to inform the REC that we understood the worker had been paid, as was the case, and we expected that would be the end of the matter. We were never liable for payment to the individual. Having said that, we regard payment to workers for work done as critical not the least that otherwise we would simply go out of business.

We have heard no further from the worker and have no reason to believe there was any continuing problem, nor have we received any complaint from any other party about this issue. However despite the fact that the REC was aware that payment was due from the umbrella company and not ourselves, and despite the REC code specifically stating that the REC will not investigate complaints arising from legal or contractual disputes, which this was, the REC chose to continue with its investigation.

Our membership of the REC lapsed on 31st December and we were not a member when the article was published nor were we a member at the time the inappropriate expulsion process commenced by the REC was finalised. We were therefore shocked at the tone of the article published by the REC which appears in our view to be designed to deliberately show us in as bad a light as possible for the REC’s own benefit, to shore up its credentials as policing the industry. After 12 years as a member of the REC we find this staggering.

Our lawyers have subsequently asked the REC a number of questions which they have failed to give an adequate reply to. Did they check with the contractor that he had been paid? The answer was they tried to but to no avail – so no they didn’t.  Why did they investigate a matter which under their code they say they would not investigate? The REC has failed to reply to this point at all. Why did they pursue a complaint against us when they knew that the worker was not due to be paid by us but by the umbrella company – surely as a trade association they should understand the contractual arrangements?

Our lawyers have asked them about the several stated grounds for their decision to expel Apex, none of which appear to apply in the circumstances. The complaint was minor in terms of value and unsupported by evidence as regards non-payment. Even if we were at fault in paying the worker, which we were not, the options available to the REC included a reprimand or the making of a compliance order. Actually the only complaint was that we failed to reply to correspondence with the REC after we thought the matter was closed. In that respect we accept we were at fault and have taken steps to address this aspect with the one director employee of ours who the REC contacted, to ensure that this kind of issue cannot re occur. No attempt seems to have been made by the REC to contact anyone other than this one individual, which given the seriousness with which the REC say they regarded this matter, I find more than surprising.

But does this justify a public naming and shaming which strongly implies that we don’t pay our workers? This puts our business and the interests of all our 69 employees and 1500 workers at risk. The word ‘disproportionate’ springs to mind. There were no repeated breaches of the REC code, simply one, our failure to respond more fully than we did. There was an allegation of non-payment which to the REC’s best information had been satisfied by July – why did they not say that in the article? There was no evidence of any breach of any agency regulations. We have an excellent track record of payment and have been loyal members for more than a decade.

I question the REC’s name and shame policy. The fact of expulsion when it applies is surely a matter for the REC and the member privately.  What is the purpose of it other than to deliberately damage a member to the maximum extent, the REC knowing that the trade press carries its published articles which are then widely accessible? Maybe if we had been convicted of some criminal offence then it would be fair enough, but we have not.  Have we been damaged? Yes, not the least in the way I mention below.

In my opinion the REC has no business in doing this other than, so far as I can see, self-gratification and to support its own objectives. Actually in my view the publication has the effect of diminishing the recruitment industry in other people’s eyes and is detrimental to the recruitment industry. It is a breach of the REC code of conduct to do anything that brings the industry into disrepute. What this episode shows is that the principal trade association is willing to stoop to public mudslinging for its own benefit so highlighting its own failings given that we have the right of reply and are determined to set the record straight which I must do in order to protect my business and its employees. Does this not damage the industry as a whole?

We have asked the REC to respond suitably, it has not done so. In the meantime, our competitors needless to say are making hay while the sun shines. One such competitor has a director on the REC Council and a second director who sits on the Construction sector executive committee. I have seen an email from one of those directors actively drawing the REC article about my business to the attention of a client of ours whilst at the same time pressing the client for his company to be appointed. Does that breach any codes? Are we now fair game? In my book it is highly unprofessional. Our lawyers have written to the REC to complain and we demand to know whether the REC itself condones this behaviour and what the REC is going to do about it. It all leaves a particularly nasty taste in my view.

Finally, it’s a matter of record that where members in the past have been convicted of criminal offences the REC has taken no similar action.

The end result of this unhappy affair is that we will never want to be part of the REC again. I thought it was there to support us not the opposite, and agencies should be aware of the REC’s willingness to adopt these bully boy tactics, its double standards and its slack administration. I believe the REC wants to achieve chartered status – heaven forbid this is not the way to go about it. My conclusion is that this industry will never improve if the REC puts its own interests first and believes in one rule for itself and its favoured members and another for everybody else.

Tope Osazee,
Apex Resources