Agencies Lack Model Behavior

Nine London agencies working in modeling or entertainment were issued warnings by the department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform (BERR) because they’re not complying with the law.

BERR hasn’t named the agencies concerned and is prohibited from doing so unless they are prosecuted or prohibited. It did release a March 12 statement that the businesses had fallen foul of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.

Of the nine offending agencies, inspectors found 37 separate infringements of the law. Many of these offenses are said to have been relatively minor, but the worst practices identified included charging illegal fees and having substandard accounting practices.

“There are some agencies willing to exploit models and entertainers who think they’ve got the X-Factor but don’t know their rights. This behaviour is unacceptable and agencies that flout the law should get their final curtain call,” said employment minister Pat McFadden.

“The government has doubled the number of Employment Agency Standards inspectors so that they can get out on the ground and target the rule-breakers.”

The Employment Agency Standards team acted in London following reports of improper activity in agencies supplying staff in the modeling and entertainment sectors.
Follow-up investigations will take place to make sure that the agencies concerned have acted to change their ways.

Agencies that continue to disobey the law could be prosecuted, hit hard with fines or even banned from operating for up to 10 years.

The government will shortly publish a consultation, which will seek views on any further steps that might be needed to protect models and entertainers.

These inspections come hot on the heels of a successful prosecution of an agent in the West Midlands, who withheld £3,500 from entertainers including comedian Tom O’Connor.