REC Code of Practice

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.

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