Recruitment Agencies, Is it Time to Review Your PSL?

23 January 2024

Why review your PSL?

Companies are criminally liable if they fail to prevent tax evasion by a staff member or other ‘associated’ persons who facilitate tax evasion. The Criminal Finance Act has been implemented to ensure companies look at their supply chain to operate compliantly.

If an agency breaches the new rules, the director could be liable for the criminal acts of their employees and other ‘associated’ persons who facilitate tax evasion. It is now the responsibility of each agency to ensure that all payroll payments made to your contractors are fully compliant with HMRC guidance.

As a result of this, now is an ideal time to review your Preferred Supplier List (PSL). The best practice solution is to use a list of compliant providers that you know have been fully audited. You can mitigate this risk by working only with umbrella companies that are FCSA Accredited Members, like SmartWork. Only firms that have successfully passed the independent annual review against the FCSA Code of Compliance are entitled to display the orange FCSA logo.

In addition to this, SmartWork recommends carrying out a risk assessment of all umbrella providers that you currently work with – via the following steps:

  • Establish if any of your contractors are paid via a loan or offshore scheme (or a scheme highlighted by HMRC).
  • Audit a selection of payments from each provider made in the current financial year. Our suggestion is to request a sample payslip for a specific period with a matching RTI, showing gross payment through to NET payment to the individual.
  • Review your policy on referral fees and check to see if your consultants stick to the PSL.
  • Provide training to all of your employees and consultants. If you have an incentive scheme in place, you need to ensure all payments are legitimate and recorded.
  • Review your PSL – Finding out if they are members of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) is a good place to start.

A growing number of our clients are embracing PSLs – and finding that doing so can bring genuine business benefits. Creating a robust, effective PSL enables recruitment businesses to be confident that their providers are compliant and protecting their business.

Why work with SmartWork?

SmartWork is a PAYE Umbrella service with over a decade of knowledge and experience within the contracting sector. From Health Care and IT Professionals to Project Management and Military Services, our expertise spans across many industries.

At SmartWork, we pride ourselves on being an approachable, open and refreshingly honest umbrella company. Our values are extremely important and are at the heart of everything we do. We base these values on what we believe makes a real difference to how we work and the service we provide to our Clients and Candidates. 

  • Integrity – As long-term members of the APSCo & FCSA, we fully understand the importance of working with people you can trust. We embrace an open and honest dialogue and strive to ensure consistency in our actions and principles. 
  • Personal Service – The success of SmartWork is based upon consistently high-quality customer service to our contractors and long-term working relationships built on trust with our agency partners. 
  • Continuous Improvement – We pride ourselves on truly listening to our clients and contractors and taking on feedback, with a constant view to improving our internal and external processes, service, and communication. 
  • Ongoing Development of Our People – Our people are the key to our business’s development and to our Clients’ success. We invest time and energy in understanding our staff and making SmartWork an enjoyable workplace.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

At SmartWork, we strive to exceed the expectations of our employees and clients by continuously providing excellent customer service on a one-to-one basis. We have therefore implemented our Service Level Agreement (SLA), a set of standards we promise to uphold, which includes:

Agency SLA

  • Agency referrals are contacted within 30 minutes of receipt.
  • Agency contracts are processed the same day once received from the agency/client.
  • The contract is signed and returned the same day once the contractor approves the document on the SmartPortal.
  • Same-day payment to the worker for funds received before midday from Growth Partners.
  • Queries dealt with the same day, with an average response time of 2-3 hours.

Employee SLA

  • Call-back requests from the website are responded to within 30 minutes of receipt.
  • The registration process is completed the same day after the Right-to-Work check has been completed.
  • Employment contracts are processed the same day once received from the agency/client.
  • Same-day processing of all time sheets received before midday.
  • Same-day payments for funds received from the agency/client before midday.

Partnering with Smartwork

Choosing SmartWork means choosing a partner dedicated to exceeding expectations, offering unparalleled customer service, and fostering long-term, successful partnerships. We are confident that our values, compliance standards, and personalized service will enhance any agency’s operations. 

If your agency would like to work in partnership with SmartWork, please contact Neil Kane directly on 0800 434 6446 or email