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Our Compliance Standards

Professional Passport is completely independent of any provider, agency or end client and as such we are in a unique position to objectively advise each sector of the marketplace.

Our compliance standards go further and are designed to not only ensure that providers we recommend operate compliantly within HMRC tax rules but also across the many other areas of legislation that apply. We require the highest level of transparency in their operations to ensure workers are clear on any arrangements entered in to.

We are continually reviewing and updating our standards to keep our providers at the forefront of operational standards and driving best practice across the sector. Furthermore, often legislation does not change but how this is interpreted and enforced can so we ensure any enforcement changes are reflected in our compliance standards.

These high standards have meant that we are the only compliance accreditation that is supported by blue chip insurance and therefore we will never compromise our standards.

If you have a concern over any offering by one of our Approved Providers please get in touch directly with us using this form.



There are six areas that Professional Passport has developed compliance review standards for:

  • Agency Payroll Bureau
  • Umbrella - both with and without expenses
  • Professional Employment Organisations [PEO]
  • Joint Employment
  • CIS
  • Accountancy

As important as the services we can review are the services we cannot.

Another unique aspect of the Professional Passport compliance standards is that we must review all service offerings by the provider, or an associate. If any of these services meet our 'Fail' criteria we would be unable to review any aspect of that provider.

This is further supported by the terms and conditions of Provider Membership. If we received evidence of a provider offering any service outside the terms of their compliance review their membership would be immediately suspended.

The service offerings we are unable to consider include:

  • Elective Deduction Model
    Where workers are 'self-employed' and elect to pay PAYE taxes. This arrangement is often used for low paid workers and whilst there are many variations common features would include a failure to pay holiday pay, ignoring NMW requirements, claiming of expenses that would otherwise be prevented.

  • Umbrella Sub-Contracting to PSC’s
    Workers engaged through the umbrella are on an employment contract will PAYE applied to their earnings. We cannot approve any provider who uses the umbrella to  sub-contract to PSCs and operate as a ‘Fee Payer’ within the terms defined through the Off-Payroll Working Legislation.

  • Pay Day by Pay Day
    Was common at one stage but now seems less so. In this arrangement expenses were offset for tax relief which often resulted in workers receiving less than NMW.

  • Mini Umbrella
    Contrived arrangements to access the employers NI relief and, in some cases, VAT FRS.

  • Arrangements with 'Loans'
    Seeking to avoid tax on income by categorising some of the income as a loan, annuity, shares, a capital advance involving mutual, joint or co-ownership, or a payment derived from a revolving line of credit facility, or some other non-taxable form. We still see these offered with false promises of compliance.

  • Any arrangement that includes an element of pay from offshore
    This is an area that regularly has new arrangements emerging with false claims of compliance.

  • Umbrella companies relying on the Nurses Agency VAT Concession
    HMRC has made it clear to Professional Passport that this concession is not available to umbrella providers.

Our standards are applied and tested on an ongoing basis.

As well as our ongoing formal assessments of our providers we receive continual market intelligence from all our members. If any information was provided that suggested something was not right we always act immediately and fully investigate.

This market intelligence also helps keep up fully up to date with any new 'have I got a great idea for you' offerings entering the market.

This complete picture also helps us with new enquiries for compliance reviews as we are often already aware of the provider and their offerings; some of these conversations can be quite short.

Where we review a provider we will apply our comprehensive range of standards and checks across all the offerings available to ensure that if you, our member, recommend a worker to a provider you can do so safe in the knowledge that we have signed everything off - this is not the case with other compliance reviews on the market.

We are often asked why we do not publish our detailed compliance standards; the answer is quite simple:

When we receive an enquiry from a provider our first step is to spend a day with them to understand what they do. We provide no details of what we are looking for, merely that we are looking at their current offering. This gives us a clear understanding of that provider's offering and knowledge.

This work ensures we accurately highlight any shortfalls and are able to fully advise a provider.

At the end of this process the provider will understand our compliance standards and once any remedial action has been taken, we would be able to carry out a review.

The compliance review documents their processes and procedures across all their offerings as well as obtaining supporting evidence that demonstrates a robust and consistent application of those processes.

Whilst we do carry out periodical checks on the financial standings of providers we do not have any day to day control of their finances and therefore recommend that members carry out their own financial due diligence on providers they are considering.


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Innovator of the Year 2008 & finalist 2009
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