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What does it involve?

If you are considering applying for FCSA Accreditation, you may have questions about what is involved in the compliance review process:

  • How do I apply?
  • Who will carry out the assessment?
  • What’s involved in the assessment?
  • What information do I need to provide?
  • What happens if I pass, or if I fail?

As a guide, we have produced this step-by-step summary of what the accreditation compliance assessment process involves.

Pre-requisites for potential applicants

The FCSA is the UK’s leading membership body dedicated to raising standards and promoting supply chain compliance for the temporary labour market. The scope of FCSA’s Accreditation covers 6 types of business operations in the UK: umbrella employment, limited company advisors, professional employment organisations, worker, fixed term employment, and self-employed/CIS contractor providers.

All companies which, by common ownership or common directorship, fall within scope of FCSA’s compliance codes, must be put forward for assessment.

In order to be eligible for FCSA Accreditation, all applicants must meet, and evidence, all of the following criteria:

  • A minimum of 2 years successful operation and 1 year’s full audited accounts for the legal entity seeking accreditation
  • A minimum of 75 contractors successfully supported by the service seeking accreditation
  • Financial liquidity proven by net assets exceeding 2.5% of the gross profit.  

The above minimum criteria are essential for FCSA to be able to assess applicants’ business operations in practice, not just in theory. It is important to realise that FCSA Accreditation is not just a tick-box exercise.  

Due diligence checks

A Fit and Proper Person Form is required to be completed for each director of the business. Upon receipt of payment and the completed forms, the due diligence checks can be undertaken. Application for membership is to be made for all companies within the group, and/or with common ownership or directorship, that offer services falling within the scope of FCSA Accreditation, even if they are separate companies and/or are branded separately. Once the FCSA Chief Executive and its Board have approved the initial application, you will be invited to engage with an assessor.

The assessment process

In order to achieve FCSA Accreditation, applicants are independently assessed against our published standards. The process requires applicants to provide documentary evidence of how they adhere to each and every standard. In addition to the paperwork element, assessors conduct in-depth interview with the applicant business to interview their staff, test scenarios, undertake random checks, listen to on-boarding calls and assess that all policies and procedures are being implemented in practice.

Choice of assessor

FCSA will select assessors for the accreditation compliance check process from the list below.  Should there be a conflict of interest or impartiality, the Assessor will not be eligible to assess that applicant.   All FCSA Code assessors are either appropriately qualified tax professionals or solicitors and have at least five years of demonstrable experience of specialising in the freelance sector.

Financial Assessors

  • BDO
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Saffery


Legal Assessors 

  • Brabners
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • JMW Solicitors

All applications require the completion of the Mandatory Code of Compliance and therefore both financial and legal assessors are required.  The services you offer defines which other compliance codes you will be asked to complete. The cost of the application is the same whichever assessors you select. Upon payment to FCSA of the invoice, FCSA will ask the chosen assessor to commence the review.

The 3 stage review process

The review involves a 3 stage review process:

  1. Self-assessment – the applicant is asked to answer a set of questions and provide all supporting documents requested. The assessor will then review all answers and documents.
  2. Sampling – the applicant will need to provide the assessor with an anonymised list of workers to enable them to select the sample for review. All requested documents for the sample must be provided.
  3. Interview – if your documents and sample pass the desk review, the assessor will conduct an in-depth interview of key members of staff  

The decision

Once all their queries have been answered, your assessors will report their findings to FCSA, who will then make the final decision, based on the evidence supplied. You will be informed of the outcome as soon as possible thereafter.

Should there be non-conformities, you will be invited to correct the issues, and present new documentation and evidence to the Assessors for re-assessment.  This may incur additional costs.