A few weeks ago, with the kind support for the RSA Trustees, I took up the part time role of Director of the Office of Labour Market Enforcement.
The Director and their Office are responsible for overseeing the work of three labour market enforcement bodies:
- the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
- the National Living Wage team within HMRC
- and the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate within BEIS.
We have a range of statutory responsibilities but central to our work is encouraging collaboration and information sharing between the agencies as part of a coherent overall approach to enforcement.
Recent Governments have increased investment in enforcement (albeit from a low base by developed world standards) and the work of my predecessor Sir David Metcalf has seen genuine progress in the agencies’ impact and joint working.
However, there is no question that one challenge in this area is the low profile of these bodies with the general public.
The importance of collaboration and the value that would be added by higher profile are two reasons why I am supportive of the Government’s proposal to create a Single Enforcement Body (SEB) combining the work of the agencies and possibly adding new responsibilities.
If the SEB continues to be Government policy after the election I am intending to return to the subject after submitting the DLME’s 2020/21 strategy in the Spring, to help shape how the SEB should operate. As anyone who has even been involved in an organisational merger knows these processes are not guaranteed to go smoothly and the hoped for synergies are often not achieved.
As a stepping stone to further discussion on the how the new organisation should be formed, I am making available my initial response to the Government’s SEB consultation.
In it, I lay out the principles which my team and I think should govern the design and operation of the SEB and some of the as yet unresolved issues which must be addressed before the SEB is established.
I am publishing this on the RSA site (at the same time as the Office sends it to stakeholders) as it connects to the Society’s wider interest in the Future of Work but also because I know many RSA Fellows have insights into organisational design and operation. So, do have a read (it’s not long) and share any thoughts you have. Thanks.
Tackling economic security is the right political agenda. It’s good for key workers, it’s good for employers, and it’s good for the economy.