How we inspect and prosecute
We inspect businesses that are licensed and investigate those who operate without a licence or where there are allegations of worker exploitation.
All new applicants are inspected by a GLA officer to make sure they meet the licensing standards. Licence holders may also have a compliance inspection as part of a random check or following a risk assessment.
We investigate any circumstances where there is a risk of worker exploitation or other illegal activity by gathering intelligence, conducting unannounced inspections and working with other government departments and enforcement agencies.
All decisions are evidence based, so you may be asked to give details of any current contracts with labour users. Their premises may also be inspected and the officer may interview several of the workers. You may need to provide documentary evidence to demonstrate you meet the standards, such as wage books or worker’s terms and conditions.
What happens after an inspection?
Following the inspection we decide whether further inspections or investigations are necessary. We will review the inspection report, along with information from government departments and agencies to check your business meets the licensing standards. Each of the standards has a number of points attached to it. The points of any standards that have not been met are added together. If your overall score is less than 30 you will pass the inspection, but may have Additional Licence Conditions (ALCs) added to your licence. These conditions are the areas that need to be corrected within an agreed time.
If a licence holder fails a critical standard during a compliance inspection, their licence may be revoked. Depending on the standard failed, this may be with immediate effect and the business must stop operating in the regulated sectors.
Inspections Explained - watch our video below to find out how and why the GLA inspects businesses
How to appeal against a decision
You have the right to appeal against a GLA decision to refuse an application for a licence, attach a condition to a licence, revoke a licence or refuse the transfer of a licence.
If your licence application is refused, you are able to request a review of your case before submitting a full appeal. You can provide further information to correct any factual errors that you believe the GLA has made when making its decision. This must be made within 10 days. This only applies to licence refusals and not licence revocations where a full appeal must be made. Read our appeals page for further information.
Find out more...
Inspection information sheet: The inspection process explained
Who has been inspected: A list of compliance inspections from 2006 to date
Licensing decision policy: The decision process explained
Revocations: Information on revoked licences
Licensing standards: The conditions that must be met to qualify for a licence
Code of practice on compliance and enforcement: Guidance on compliance/ enforcement enquiries
Offences and penalties
Operating as a gangmaster without a licence is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a fine. It is also illegal to enter into arrangements with an unlicensed gangmaster. This carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and/or a fine.
You can read more about the criminal offences that that apply to labour providers and labour users on our Criminal offences and sanctions page.
If the GLA suspects an individual or business is, or has been, committing an offence it will carry out a criminal investigation. Investigations may include interviews under caution with suspected offenders. Evidence gathered will then be sent to the appropriate prosecuting agency for consideration as to whether a prosecution should be pursued, a formal warning should be issued or no further action should result.
The prosecution of the offences outlined in the Gangmasters Licensing Act is conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales, the in Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland or the Procurator Fiscal Service in Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland. Click on the associated links above to find out more about the prosecution code in that country.
If a labour provider or user voluntarily discloses details of offences, we may issue a warning rather than consider prosecution. Our decision will include consideration of the following factors:
- whether the notification arose after an investigation had commenced
- whether the work was an activity that required clarification, or had recently been clarified as work that requires a licence
- whether there has been any labour exploitation
- whether the labour provider is compliant with the licensing standards
Find out more...