Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority inspections

Part of: Behind the frontline International and specialist agencies

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) – formerly Gangmasters Licensing Authority – operates a licensing scheme, regulating businesses to protect workers in:

  • agriculture
  • horticulture
  • shellfish-gathering and
  • associated processing and packaging industries.

In 2017, the GLAA gained additional responsibilities and certain powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. These powers allow the GLAA to investigate labour market offences, using specially trained officers.

Under the Act, the GLAA officers have some powers similar to the police. For example, when investigating labour market offences they are able to:

  • make arrests;
  • obtain search warrants;
  • enter private property;
  • search people and premises; and
  • seize items for evidence.

However, the granting of the powers was conditional to the GLAA agreeing to voluntary inspections by HMICFRS. It is expected that these inspections will become mandatory as part of legislation changes, in due course.

An inspection of the use of investigative powers by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority – 2018

HMICFRS’s first inspection of the GLAA took place between June and October 2018. It focussed solely on the GLAA’s operations in England and Wales (not its role in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Get the report

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority: An inspection of the use of investigative powers by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

Terms of reference

Our terms of reference were to examine whether the GLAA is making good use of its new powers, by considering five questions:

  • Have sufficient numbers of staff been adequately trained to make use of these powers?
  • Do GLAA systems and processes enable the use of investigative powers?
  • Does the GLAA have, or have access to, the capabilities (e.g. specialist equipment and training) it needs to make use of its powers?
  • Does the GLAA act fairly but with confidence, using its powers only in cases where the use of such powers is necessary?
  • Are appropriate internal governance and supervision arrangements in place?