Code of Professional Practice

REC members are recognised for their professionalism and the value they provide to clients and candidates.

Our Code helps recruiters get it right. It goes further than the legal obligations and makes sure you are always acting ethically. If you are displaying the REC logo, it's a sign of quality. It tells candidates and clients that you have passed our Compliance Assessment and adhere to our Code.

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General principles

Members will observe the highest principles in their professional conduct. You will run your business in a way that enhances the reputation of the recruitment industry. We are here to provide you with guidance, legal advice and training so your business can achieve these high standards.

Being ethical is not just about meeting legal requirements, it's about being honest, respecting others, acting with integrity and being socially responsible. It is behaviour that will hold up to public scrutiny. As a member of the REC, you will support and uphold these values. If we receive a complaint about an REC member, we will investigate it in line with principles in our Code and our complaints procedure.


1. Respect for laws

Members and their staff must comply with all relevant legislation, statutory and non-statutory requirements and official guidance, and any future amendments to such requirements during the course of providing their services to others.

2. Respect for honesty and transparency

       a. Members will act honestly in all dealings with work-seekers, clients, members, non-members and others.

       b. In the course of representing a work-seeker or client, a member shall not knowingly make a false or inaccurate            statement, fail to disclose a material fact, or make a representation as to future matters without having             reasonable grounds for making it.

       c. Members must adhere to principles of truth in advertising and will only advertise positions, through any            medium, for which they have documented permission to recruit.

       d. All fees, charges and services provided must be explicitly and fully disclosed to clients prior to the acceptance            of an assignment or prior to any work being undertaken for a client.

       e. Members should document all key stages of the recruitment process in line with relevant legislation and good            practice guidance.

3. Respect for work relationships

       a. Members will not undertake actions that may unfairly or unlawfully jeopardise a work seeker’s employment.

       b. Members will not undertake actions that may unfairly or unlawfully interfere in work relationships established by            others.

       c. Members will not attempt unfairly or unlawfully to prevent a work seeker from seeking work from other sources.

       d. Members will in their dealings with all other REC Members and non-members treat them with respect and aim            to work in a fair and open competitive environment.

4. Respect for diversity

       a. Members should adhere to the spirit of all applicable human rights, employment laws and regulations and will            treat work seekers, clients and others without prejudice or unjustified discrimination. Members should not act            on an instruction from a client that is discriminatory and should, wherever possible, provide guidance to clients            in respect of good diversity practice.

       b. Members and their staff will treat all work seekers and clients with dignity and respect and aim to provide             equity of employment opportunities based on objective business related criteria.

       c. Members should establish working practices that safeguard against unlawful or unethical discrimination in the            operation of their business.

5. Respect for safety

       a. Members will act diligently in assessing risks to work seekers and clients and will not knowingly put at risk            candidates, clients or others.

       b. Members will inform work seekers whenever they have reason to believe that an engagement may cause a            risk to health and safety.

6. Respect for professional knowledge

       a. Members will work diligently to develop and maintain a satisfactory level of relevant and current professional            knowledge.

       b. Members will ensure that their staff are adequately trained and skilled to undertake their responsibilities in            recruitment practice.

7. Respect for certainty of engagement

       a. Members must supply work seekers with full details of the work, conditions of employment, the nature of the            work to be undertaken, rates of pay, method and frequency of payment and pay arrangements in accordance            with requirements of current legislation.

       b. Members will ensure that any variation to the engagement can only occur with prior notification and agreement            of the worker.

8. Respect for prompt and accurate payment

      a. Members will pay promptly and accurately any wages and benefits due in accordance with any agreed terms           and legal requirements.

      b. Members should not penalise temporary/contract workers, for example for having been late or failed to attend           part or all of an assignment or for poor performance, by making deductions from pay due for time that they have           actually worked.

      c. Members will not take on assignments that could result in their inability to pay temporary/contract workers.

9. Respect for ethical international recruitment

      a. Members must supply all overseas work seekers with the same level of information as set out and implied in           Principle 7. In addition, information provided should include details of the likely cost of living in the area the           prospective hirer is situated, the likely length of the job in question and the state of the employment market in           the field they are being recruited into. All information must be provided at no cost to the work seeker.

      b. Members must ensure that in relation to overseas recruitment, they abide by all relevant legislation and Home           Office guidelines and provide all relevant and applicable information to work seekers, clients and others.

      c. Members recruiting from outside the UK must not use overseas agents who charge for their services, unless           that is the legal and normal custom and practice sanctioned by the government of the country of origin. In           addition, members must make all reasonable efforts to ascertain such information about any agents used and           should be able to demonstrate that they have done so.

      d. Members should observe the highest principles of social responsibility, integrity, professionalism, equity and fair           practice in their dealings with all overseas work seekers.

10. Respect for confidentiality and privacy

      a. Members must observe the highest principles of integrity, professionalism, equity and fair practice to maintain           the confidentiality and privacy of candidate and client information and should respect the confidentiality of           records in accordance with law and good business practice.

      b. Members and their staff must ensure that they have obtained consent or that they have another legal basis           which they can rely on (such consent or legal basis to be documented) before disclosing, transferring,           displaying, submitting or seeking confidential or personal information.

REC Code of Professional Practice

The REC Code of Professional Practice creates a clear framework of values and principles that support and underpin the meaning of REC membership.

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REC Code of Professional Practice: guide to compliance

Compliance can feel scary - and to be honest, it is a huge responsibility. But the REC Code is designed to help you be the best business you can be.

This guide to complying with the REC Code of Professional Practice needs to be read in conjunction with the Code. It is a checklist on what you can do to meet the REC Code and the standards expected of all REC members.

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Being a member of the REC means being amongst the best

Representing a network of more than 3,300 recruitment businesses and 10,500 individual recruiters gives us a unique insight that can help you grow

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REC Audited

REC Audited is the gold standard in recruitment compliance, requiring agencies to follow best practice in areas such as customer service, staff development, diversity and client and candidate management. We also offer a specialist audit or agencies in the education sector.

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REC Compliance Assessment

All REC corporate members must pass a compliance assessment every two years to join and stay in REC membership, which covers industry legislation plus the REC's Code of Professional Practice.

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We deal with complaints against members through the REC’s Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure.

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