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FCSA appoints independent panel to bolster dispute resolution protocols for umbrella firms

Sophie James –

In a statement to Computer Weekly, the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association says the panel provides umbrella companies with a path to appeal contrary to the decisions created by its CEO

Caroline Donnelly


Published: 15 Aug 2022 11: 40

The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has generated a four-strong panel of independent experts to solve disputes relating to the umbrella companies that it counts as members.

The organisation offers accreditation to umbrella companies that are looking to show to the contractor community their commitment to operating in a compliant way.

The Associations Independent Arbitration Panel (IAP) comprises individuals who have been chosen since they represent the four key stakeholder groups that define the contingent labour market, including agencies, accountants, employment lawyers and contractors, said the FCSA.

Its members are Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC); James Collings, former chair of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE); Carl Reader, chair of accountancy firm d&t Accountants; and employment lawyer Rebecca Seeley Harris.

In a statement to Computer Weekly, the FCSA said adding the IAP to the organisations dispute resolution processes means there’s now an appeals process set up should umbrella firms have reasonable grounds to contest any decisions created by its CEO, Chris Bryce, with respect to the board.

Before the formation of the IAP, decisions were created by the principle executive with respect to the board, and that remains the procedure, having an additional appeals path to the IAP where you can find reasonable grounds for appeal, said Bryce in the statement.

The FCSA believes this task will reassure those that bring matters to us for consideration that decisions are properly considered within an open and independent fashion.

Typically, the forms of dispute that Bryce is asked to intervene on belong to two broad categories: umbrella firms that are looking to appeal against having their application to become listed on the FCSA rejected, or existing members that contest claims they have breached the Associations charter or codes of conduct.

While we can not touch upon individual cases, we are able to say that about 99% of cases are resolved amicably with no need for a formal resolution process, said Bryce.

It is a very positive step gives an obvious signal of FCSAs continuing commitment to independence and integrity. The members of FCSAs IAP have a long time of experience inside our industry and their collective understanding of issues facing the sector is first rate.

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