From this autumn, all members of The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) must be fully accredited members.
The trade body has stated that its decision will provide clarity for the industry, so that recruiters and others in the supply chain are assured that all FCSA members operate to the same compliance standard. The new policy will apply from 30th September 2018.
Currently, FCSA has two types of membership: accredited membership and associate membership. Accredited membership is awarded to those professional support companies that have been able to demonstrate certain compliance standards and have been independently audited to confirm that they adhere to FCSA’s rigorous code of practice. By contrast, FCSA’s associate members have agreed to adhere to the FCSA Charter and have self-certified that their business is run by fit and proper persons.
Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA, commented on the new membership policy:
“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.
FCSA currently has numerous associate members already pursuing FCSA accredited member status, and others considering this will be encouraged to do so in the coming eight months. Until then, FCSA will continue to support all associate members with all of their usual membership benefits.
“An increasing number of recruitment agencies look for FCSA’s compliance standard as a prerequisite for their preferred supplier lists (PSLs) and, in an unregulated industry, companies want the reassurance that they are working with suppliers they can trust,” said Julia.
“FCSA accreditation provides them with that peace of mind and recruiters tell me that the FCSA mark is a clear commercial differentiator when they are assessing suppliers to work with.
“2018 is set to be a challenging year for our industry and I hope that our associates will reflect on how far we have come together and acknowledge the importance of being part of such a reputable and independent trade association. With that in mind, I hope that many of them will go on to pursue full accreditation status; our accreditation is open to any firm that can demonstrate that they meet our highest standards and we will support our associates through the process should they opt to go for it.”