Former recruitment boss banned for breach of gangmaster regulations
The director of a Black Country employment agency has been banned for seven years after breaching gangmaster licensing conditions.
Sukhjit Sohal Singh, of Rowley Regis, who was director of temporary staff employment agency Phoenix Midlands, was banned by the Insolvency Service for failing to adhere to licencing standards set out by regulatory body, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).
He has signed a disqualification undertaking which bans him from acting as a company director or from managing, or in any way controlling, a limited company until September 2024.
The 41-year-old former director headed up the Smethwick-based agency before it went into voluntary liquidation in November 2015, owing £841,566 to creditors.
The Insolvency Service said that between June 2013 and at least February 2015, he had failed to ensure that Phoenix Midlands complied with GLA standards.
In particular, he was deemed not fit and proper to hold a GLA licence as he not been truthful in all his dealings with the body. In addition, he had failed to demonstrate a willingness to comply with the requirements and standards of the regulatory system and with other legal, regulatory and professional requirements and standards.
His GLA licence was therefore revoked.
Aldona O’Hara, Chief Investigator of Insolvent Investigations Midlands & West at the Insolvency Service, said: “When directors of a company do not comply with legislation that is designed to protect employees, and avoidable losses result, the Insolvency Service will fully investigate the circumstances and take action where appropriate.
“These disqualifications send a clear message that exploitation of vulnerable workers will not be tolerated.”
Sukhjit Sohal Singh was appointed sole director of Phoenix Midlands, which was based at Hawthorns Business Centre, Halfords Lane, on June 13, 2013 (the date the business was incorporated) until November 13, 2015 (when Phoenix entered a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation). The company had commenced trading on December 11, 2013, supplying temporary workers.
On June 26, 2013, Phoenix applied for a gangmasters licence and on October 11, 2013 a license was granted with two additional licence conditions.
On February 5, 2014, a compliance inspection was conducted by officers of the GLA. A report dated March 14, 2014, stated that Sukhjit Sohal had been deemed as being unfit to hold a GLA licence as Phoenix was in critical breach of several licensing standards.
The breaches were:
• he had not been candid and truthful in all dealings with the regulatory body (GLA) and he had failed to demonstrate a willingness to comply with the requirements and standards of the regulatory system and with other legal, regulatory and professional requirements and standards;
• he had been influenced by a third party who the GLA also considered not to be “fit and proper”;
• he did not have sufficient understanding of the GLA Licensing standards or management processes;
• the company was not registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for income tax and National Insurance;
• PAYE/NIC had not been calculated and deducted from workers’ wages – a direct contravention of the licensing standards requirement of HMRC.