Trusted by the government
In 2018 Concordia was awarded a two-year contract for the Seasonal Workers Pilot for 2019 and 2020, enabling the recruitment of temporary staff for specific roles in the horticultural sector. We were awarded a licence, due to our demonstration of our ethical way of working and sustainable business model regarding seasonal workers. We are contracted as an operator until at least December 2020 and as such we have actually been written into the law as a named operator of the pilot. Over the last year we have built closer relationships with Defra and the Home Office to champion the future of the scheme and we are working with the NFU to expand the scheme in line with industry requirements.
Reliable work force
We work closely with our overseas agents to ensure that all seasonal work candidates are interviewed and thoroughly screened, fully briefed on the job description and motivated to work. This ensures that workers arrive with accurate expectations and are well suited to the work that they will be performing. In 2018/2019, Concordia’s no-show rate was 2.7%, whilst the industry average was 9.5%, demonstrating our commitment to providing workers that are more reliable and more effective.
Excellence in ethical recruitment
We only use agricultural recruitment specialists, all of whom have a GLAA licence. Most of our agents have also worked on Concordia farms in the past themselves – they understand the rigorous standards we insist upon. Each agent is audited at least once per year by Concordia. We also run our annual Agents’ Conference in Autumn. During the conference we review how the season has gone, look at any potential issues that have arisen over the year and share best practice across our network.
Complying with industry regulations is essential for a smooth-running business. Concordia supplies its network of farms with an audit pack. This helps them prepare in advance of the inspection. We have a Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) licence, our Chief Executive is on the Members Council of the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), and we regularly attend Stronger Together workshops.
Given our prominent position in the industry, Concordia is a trusted partner of and regularly feeds into the National Farmers Union (NFU), GLAA and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). This means that we are in a prime position to make sure that our network of growers has a voice at the highest level. Our Chief Executive has regularly featured in national and international press outlets such as BBC, Channel 4’s Dispatches, The Guardian and Washington Post and is a vocal advocate for our growers and the sector more widely.
Every worker (including returnees) benefits from the Concordia membership package and wrap around support. It is of the highest importance us that we are at the forefront of ethics and worker welfare. With ongoing strengthening laws and ethical guidelines around optional non-recruitment fees, Concordia agents will continue not to charge fees to workers in 2020.