National campaign tackles illegal working in construction

Published:  03 April, 2017

The national campaign ‘Spotlight on…illegal workers’ has been launched by the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

The Scheme, which makes around 18,000 monitoring visits to construction sites, companies and suppliers every year, surveyed the industry in December 2016 to gauge the issue of illegal working in construction. The survey revealed:

  • 93% agreed illegal working could be better tackled in the construction industry
  • 81% would say illegal working has been on the rise over the past 15 years
  • 61% admitted they have not received – or rarely receive – information on illegal working
  • 33% suspected a chance that illegal working had been present at a previous or current employer
  • 30% agreed that health and safety was placed at greatest risk as a result of illegal working.

‘Spotlight on…illegal workers’ provides the construction industry with an essential resource to increase understanding of the risks posed by illegal construction workers, and what can be done to tackle the problem.

The issue of illegal working in construction is a major priority for the Home Office, which recognises the harm illegitimate labour does to the industry. As such, the Home Office has made an important contribution to the ‘Spotlight on…illegal workers’ campaign; providing detailed, practical information about how to conduct the necessary and correct right to work checks.

Earlier this year, the Scheme introduced new questions in the 2017 Monitors’ Checklist to encourage sites, companies and supply chains to examine how they are ensuring the legitimacy of their workforce:

  • Are there processes in place to ensure subcontractors (and subsequent subcontractors) are conducting right to work checks?
  • Are physical spot checks conducted to ensure minimum standards of right to work checks are taking place within the supply chain?

Edward Hardy, chief executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, said: “Ensuring the legitimacy of the workforce is one of the key challenges facing the construction industry today. The industry must work together to ensure that checks for workers’ legitimacy becomes firmly entrenched within all construction activity across the UK.

“By challenging sites to explore how they currently assess and monitor the legitimacy of their workforce, the Scheme believes that in the not-so-distant future, all registered sites, companies and suppliers will have robust procedures in place.

“The Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on…illegal workers’ campaign provides the industry with the ‘go to’ resource to fully understand how it can effectively tackle illegal working, and ultimately help to improve construction’s image and reputation.”

Sign Up

Sign up to our weekly eNewsletter to receive all the latest news direct to your inbox