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Protecting Workers from Exploitation


A war is being waged against unlicensed gangmasters who exploit vulnerable workers in the UK. The job of protecting them falls to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) which was set up to curb the abuse of workers.


The GLAA regulates the businesses that are licensed to provide labour in this country, whether it’s picking produce on farms or associated processing and packaging work.


Its central intelligence team is based in Nottingham and has approximately 30 enforcement officers working from home across the UK.

—  Name, Title

The Challenge

The GLAA needed a solution that would allow investigators to record all allegations of worker exploitation in one place. Because officers are spread across the country, the ability to communicate any potentially linked allegations was paramount.

“Once my teams receive an allegation they do all the necessary background research and prepare cases for investigation and enforcement as required,” said the GLA’s intelligence manager Ian Walker. “But we didn’t have a structured means of capturing all the information from cases that my teams were working on. Officers had developed their own personal ways of recording the enquiries they had undertaken so this was stored on different hard-copy documents and spreadsheets. Crimson brings all that information together in one place."

“We get information from a variety of different sources which includes workers and labour providers, our own staff and offices, as well as other law enforcement bodies and government departments,” added Mr Walker. “And having received that information we look for opportunities to enrich and corroborate it where we can. That adds to our risk assessment and prioritisation process."

The Solution

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The GLAA adopted WPC Software’s Crimson investigation and case management system. Crimson provides a central hub through which all information relating to allegations and subsequent investigations can be stored.

Crimson allows the GLAA’s enforcement officers to work remotely, updating cases in real time and feeding information to the investigative and licensing teams.

“The system allows us to capture everything, from an initial complaint right up to the point of taking enforcement action. We can start an investigation at the click of a button in Crimson.”

Crimson can also create a case file and intelligence recorded within the system can be allocated a disclosure code, simplifying the process of preparing a file for court. “This has made case preparation much easier and means that the Crown Prosecution Service can bring cases to court far more quickly,” added Mr Walker. “It’s made the process much more efficient and more effective.”

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

“This has improved our intelligence capability as well because it allows us to join up all the dots. Depending on how much you choose to use this module, Crimson is an effective intelligence system in its own right.”

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

“Crimson improved efficiency no end, at any given period of time managers can go in and see what stage the investigation is at, what exactly has been done and what the outcome was.”

—  Ian Walker, Intelligence manager

“By using Crimson we have been able to reduce the time spent double keying information from system to system.”

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

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