The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association, (FCSA) has announced that from 30th September 2018, it will be discontinuing its associate membership status, meaning that from then on, all members must hold fully accredited membership status.
The move will provide clarity for recruiters, contractors and other parties in the supply chain, as they will have complete assurance that all FCSA member companies have been assessed in the same way and are operating to equal compliance standards.
The association is the UK’s largest independent trade body for professional employment services and currently has two different classifications of membership – accredited and associated membership.
Accredited membership is only awarded to those companies who have been independently audited against the FCSA’s rigorous code of practice. On the other hand, associated members agree to adhere the the FCSA Charter and self-certify that their business is run by fit and proper persons.
The membership restructure will create a level playing field for providers. Over the next 8 months leading up to the changes, associated members will be encouraged to pursue fully accredited status, and with effect from 30th September, associated membership will no longer be an option.
The FCSA’s Chief Executive, Julia Kermode, explained the rationale behind the association’s decision:
“The decision to only represent fully accredited members and discontinue associate membership has not been made lightly and has largely come about due to the confusion within the sector regarding our two membership types. FCSA membership is perceived by the industry as a mark of excellence that all members have met the FCSA’s high standard of compliance via accreditation, so we have a duty of care to ensure that this is the case. Our decision to introduce one type of membership should provide clarity for everyone.
“An increasing number of recruitment agencies look for FCSA’s compliance standard as a pre-requisite for their preferred supplier lists (PSLs) and, in an unregulated industry, companies want the reassurance that they are working with suppliers they can trust. Accreditation provides them with that peace of mind and recruiters tell me that the FCSA mark is a clear commercial differentiator”.
Liquid Friday’s CEO, Colin Gunnell agreed that the membership restructure was a step forward:
“We are fully behind this evolution by the FCSA to only offer fully accredited membership status. Doing away with associate membership will make it much easier for recruitment agencies to choose providers which have been fully and independently audited and held against the highest standards – no half-measures or paying lip-service to compliance – it’s all or nothing.”
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