Quality marks are a guarantee of excellence and can be found everywhere. They prove that your doctor is accredited and provide assurance that the bananas you buy are fairtrade.

From an HR perspective, the strength of a strong quality mark should not be underestimated: it’s incredibly powerful that a single symbol can bring with it such valuable assurances. The Investors In People (IIP) accreditation, for example, is an internationally recognised symbol of excellence in people management. As such, prospective employees view the IIP mark as a guarantee of an ethical employer that is likely to offer training opportunities and routes for progression.

While APSCo membership has long been a badge of distinction for recruiters who adhere to the very highest standards, our latest best practice standards- Compliance + for Education and Compliance + for Social Work offer an additional level of protection within higher-risk sectors by safeguarding beyond statutory requirements.

Now, we are consulting with the British Standards Institute (BSI) regarding the development of a Publically Available Specification (PAS) for the entire recruitment sector. This could see accredited recruitment firms displaying a ‘Kite Mark’ which, crucially, would not be attached to the membership of any particular association – a point which is key to ensuring its integrity amongst HR teams and other hiring managers.

The recruitment profession is pulling together to create a quality mark which will act as a single global standard. APSCo has been in discussion with the Association of Labour Providers (“ALP”), Elite, the Institute of Recruiters (“IoR”), and The Employment Agencies Movement (“TEAM”) and have discussed the initiative with many other key stakeholders.  Our vision is to create a specification that will set out detailed requirements – and procedures – for checking conformity to these requirements. Logically, starting as a UK-centric benchmark but certainly, aiming to become international. We approached the BSI last year to discuss the viability of the project and have also met with other key stakeholders including the majority of the largest recruitment firms. What has become clear from those meetings is there is overwhelming support for APSCo to drive and lead this initiative which, of course, we are happy to do.

Our sector has to respond to the needs and aspirations of the client community which is demanding a global standard and consistency of approach from their recruitment partners – a way in which they can easily identify quality and professionalism.

I hope that the finished product will provide peace of mind to end clients – and I’d like to invite the client community to get in touch and share their thoughts on the initiative. The BSI will be attending our members’ meeting in September to present and consult on the next phase of the project. I am sure that, with sector support, we can create a universally recognised symbol which HR teams will truly find comfort in.

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