How we work
Why join the ERA Services programme?
Awareness of all your Employer responsibilities across all contracts
Demonstrate first class compliance across the supply chain
Employment excellence with new & existing employees
Avoid costly fines, lengthy tribunals and risks of non-compliance
This document outlines the stages and processes for gaining the ERA Services Certification. The purpose of which is to help applicants understand the aspects that will be covered.
ERA Services was created to provide employers with an assessment process that will show that they meet, or exceed, minimum standards laid out by HMRC.
The process uses all standards required by HMRC as well as those brought into effect through the Good Work plan. These include:
- All rights an employee is entitled to once signed on with an Employer, Agency, or Umbrella.
- Services provided to staff.
- Aspects of onboarding new staff/employees.
- The general responsibilities of employers.
We offer this service to anyone within the United Kingdom who employs at least 1 person (who is not themselves). A breakdown of our fees can be found on our website and in our Contract for Services.
About ERA Services
Employment Rights Assessment (ERA) Services is a Community Interest Company, or CIC, and can be found online at www.eraservices.org. It is based out of Solway House Business Centre Parkhouse Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom, CA6 4BY.
ERA Services was set up in 2019, due to arising need in the market for certification type schemes, to provide confidence in the supply chain as well as trust between partnering businesses. At the time there existed no dedicated certification system for the subject of employment rights. All that existed in the market solely focused on Umbrella and Agency employers, it was also predominantly expensive, as well as somewhat exclusive.
Many in the sector wished for an alternative option, we consulted a number of people and groups within the sector asking what they would like in an alternative. Using this feedback, we decided to create a certification scheme with a solid base in employment rights, more affordable, and available to the vast majority of job sectors.
It was then decided to incorporate all current basic employment rights outlined by HMRC along with the changes to come into effect in January and April 2020 through the Good Work Plan. We used the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) documents 17065 and 17067 to measure our current methods against and inform our methods going forward. This helped to maximise the accuracy of information being requested and minimise complexity.
In order to be awarded the ERA Services Certification, you must be able to demonstrate that you adhere to, or surpass, the standards for Employment Rights as set out by HMRC and the Good Work Plan. You shall be able to demonstrate this through answering questions, providing evidence in support of this where required, the providing of documents, and practical demonstrations.
This will result in you being awarded a PASS or FAIL grade.
Certification and Mark.
The certification and digital mark are awarded upon successful demonstration of conformity, support that you provide satisfactory levels of employment rights, are able to demonstrate them. Both will also specify that this compliance relates solely to employment rights and are valid for one year from the date displayed. You will also have your name and or logo added to our websites list of current holders as further proof of your successful compliance.
Our certificates and marks are only valid for a year, and part of awarding them is consent to an annual review. This helps to confirm that standards are still being met and any progression is being made for any areas that require improvement.
Through our website, they will be able to find a page for them to begin their application process. For this first stage they must supply the following:
- Full Name
- Contact Number
- Company Name
- Position in Company held by the applicant
- Company ID
- Proof of Director Identity (Photocopy of Passport/other photo ID and a recent Utility Bill)
- Shareholder Names
- Attach Completed ‘Fit and Proper Form’ (Located through the website process)
- Attach Completed ‘Contract for Services’ (Located through the website process)
- Attach a copy of most recent accounts containing ‘Turnover’
Once we have received this information we shall email to confirm receipt of your application before reviewing the information.
Upon completion of the review, the applicant shall be informed that everything has been compliant with requirements.
Stage 2 takes the form of a questionnaire that will be sent with an email informing the client of their progression to this stage. Full instructions are given along with the questionnaire.
If a question is unclear then applicants are invited to email us for clarification via firstname.lastname@example.org
The questionnaire comes in 4 sections which are:
- Wellbeing, Safety and Security
- Employment Status
- Statements and Documents
- Fair Pay and Entitlements
Each section has questions for all employers, also extra questions for Agency and Umbrella employers.
In addition to the questionnaire, the applicant will be contacted with details for payment. This is payment for the overall service and does not guarantee successful completion of the process.
Only once payment has been received will we begin reviewing the answers submitted on the questionnaire against the certification standards. Any answers that are viewed as nonconformities or that do not seem to fully match the scheme standards will be noted.
Once Stage 2 has been completed the applicant will be contacted to arrange an ideal date and time for us to carry out a site visit. This would be no earlier than 1 month from the time of contact, as this would allow time for documents to be made ready and that any staff required for demonstrations to be present.
We would request a list of employees, along with any workers, from this list we would select a number of them and request that the applicant makes available all contracts, payslips and any documents relating to employment or assignment. These would be reviewed during the audit.
Once the date and time have been set for the visit the applicant will receive an itinerary detailing:
- The Reviewer’s name
- Arrival time
- What documents will be required
- What procedures will be required to be observed
- Which members of the company other than the applicants would need to be present
- Any other specifics that may be required
On the day of the site visit, proceedings will commence with the opening meeting detailing what aspects will be audited. The exact order of events will be determined between the applicant and the auditor. At the end of the day will be a closing meeting where the auditor will share their findings. The client will also receive a copy of the auditor’s report for their own records.
Upon completion of the audit, the auditor will pass on their report to the ERA member that will make the final decision. This member will look over all of the previous stages information, ensuring that everything required has been given before examining what is in scope.
If the information provided is within the scope of the certification then the applicant will be awarded a Pass, if not they will be given a Fail. Non-conformities, which would determine a fail result, are broken down into two types:
- A Major non-conformity is a breach of legislation or regulation. These usually cannot be resolved immediately and could result in fines or legal action against the applicant.
- A Minor non-conformity is a deviation from company policy or guidance, not likely to result in the breach of legislation. Can usually be resolved with simple corrective actions that can be resolved immediately.
Once the decision has been made the ERA Member will write up a review of their findings, which will include their final decision and the reasons why they arrived at it. A copy of this will be given to the applicant for their own records.
Once the decision is made our records would be updated, and we would contact the applicant to inform them of our final decision including reasons for the result.
Passing candidates would be sent a physical copy of the Certification as well as a copy of a digital file to apply to their website and any electronic material. They will also have their name/logo on our “Current Holders” page on the website.
From this point the now successful applicant will only need to pick a date for their first Annual Review, this allows us to reassess them on a smaller scale and confirm they are maintaining the required standards. This will operate in much the same way as Stages 2 and 3.
Prior to the date, the client will be sent a questioned document similar to the Stage 2 Questionnaire, this will need to be returned no later a week prior to the reassessment visit. This would also be when the client would pay their fee for the annual review.
The site visit will be largely the same as at Stage 3, however it would assess random items each year from the scope along with any new additions or items deemed essential for operation. We would also follow up on any areas previously requiring improvement.
All the information will be reviewed by a member of the ERA Services and the client informed of the decision, as in previous stages. The actions of this Stage shall continue until such a time as the applicant no longer wishes to hold the certification or suffers a failure.
CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
ERA Services has been set up with the intention of fairness. It is a subject we feel very strongly about, and as such we take all complaints and grievances seriously regardless of their source.
Once a complaint or grievance is received it will be documented, made aware to all senior members of the company, saved, and filed as part of our records (our intent to keep these permanently). We will respond stating we have received the complaint/grievance so they know it has been received.
Once all of the above has been done a copy of the complaint will be given to our internal auditor. This member of staff does not handle day to day tasks within the company and their major role is to audit our work on a yearly basis from a position of complete impartiality. They are fully aware of all stages of the process however this is part of their job. Once they have received the complaint/grievance, they will proceed in a manner they deem appropriate as they are trained to do.
After the auditor is satisfied with the information that they have gathered they will decide on the issue along with suggested courses of action. This will then be added alongside the issue in our records. This information will get passed on to an appropriate senior member of staff to carry out and to inform the applicant and any others involved in the decision as well as whatever action has been decided on.
In the event that one or more parties involved are not happy with either the decision or action is taken then they may request an appeal. This will again be logged with previous information on the issue and passed back to the auditor. They will review the appeal along with the reason for asking for it before deciding whether or not the decision or the action should be reviewed. If they are happy with the original decision or action despite the reason given for appeal, then this will be logged and the matter closed. If the auditor deems that the action or decision was in fact not correct then they would formulate a new one based on this.
As with previously the actions and decisions would be logged into official records and carried out. No further rights to appeal would be granted unless new information or reason comes to light. If anyone involved still does not feel that the correct outcome has been achieved, they may choose other avenues, as is their right, however this would be without the aid of ERA Services.