The REC Code of Professional Practice creates a clear
framework of values and principles that support and
underpin the meaning of REC membership.
Adherence to the Code actively demonstrates your commitment
to professional and ethical recruitment. The Code focuses on
outcomes and the impact of agencies’ conduct on others while
conducting their day-to-day activities.
For advice and support on how to continually meet the standards
expected from an REC member, please refer to the guide to
compliance on the REC website at http://www.rec.uk.com/code
Members will observe the highest principles of ethics,
equity, integrity, professional conduct and fair practice
in dealing with others and will conduct their business
in a manner designed to enhance the operation, image
and reputation of the recruitment industry and REC
members. The REC will offer guidance, legal advice and
training to members to help achieve these standards.
Ethical conduct is not simply compliance with legal
requirements, but extends to honesty, respect for and
equitable treatment of others, integrity and social
responsibility. It is conduct that holds up to disclosure
and to public scrutiny. Members and their staff will act
towards other members and non-members, candidates,
clients and others at all times in good faith. Members
should actively seek to support and uphold the mission
and values of the REC.
The REC has an important role to play in continuously
improving standards within the recruitment industry.
This Code is binding on all corporate members of the
REC and their subsidiary/associate companies. Where a
member operates in a sector or sectors covered by one
or more of the REC’s industry sector codes of practice,
the requirements of the applicable code or codes are
also binding. Complaints against REC members from
candidates, clients or others can be investigated under
the REC complaints and disciplinary procedure.
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.
Respect for honesty
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
e Members should document all key stages of the
recruitment process in line with relevant legislation and good
Respect for work
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
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.
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
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
c Members should establish working practices that safeguard
against unlawful or unethical discrimination in the
operation of their business.
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.
Respect for professional
a Members will work diligently to develop and maintain
a satisfactory level of relevant and current professional
b Members will ensure that their staff are adequately
trained and skilled to undertake their responsibilities in
Respect for certainty
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
b Members will ensure that any variation to the engagement
can only occur with prior notification and agreement of
Respect for prompt and
a Members will pay promptly and accurately any wages
and benefits due in accordance with any agreed terms and
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.
Respect for ethical
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.
Respect for confidentiality
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.
Making a complaint
Full details on how to make
a complaint about a REC
Member can be found at
For further information on the
Code please contact the REC
on 020 7009 2100 or email
Since July 2012 all new members
to the REC have been asked to
complete an online compliance
test as part of their membership
process. All existing members of the
REC are also required to undertake
the test every two years to prove
to clients and candidates that they
continue to conform to the highest
standards. The compliance test
assesses a members knowledge
of the REC’s Code of Professional
Practice and legislation relevant to
the recruitment industry.
As recruiters you are uniquely
placed, as the conduit between
work seeker and client, to
promote diversity and challenge
To help you do this, REC and
Jobcentre Plus have worked
together to create a Diversity
Charter. It covers the recruitment
industry, both public and
private, and sets out aspirational
standards for recruitment
agencies and job centres to
achieve in the delivery of
recruitment services to clients.
This forms part of the formal REC/
DWP Partnership Agreement.
To find out more, register for
the Diversity Pledge and
commit today to developing best
practice in diversity, go to
or call 020 7009 2100