Frequently Asked Questions


Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions by business, government, workers and other stakeholders about StaffSure. 

If you can’t find the information you want here, or on our website, email info@staffsure.org 

General Questions

  1. StaffSure certifies Workforce Service Providers, so what is a Workforce Services Provider?

    Under the StaffSure program Workforce Service Providers are businesses, in all forms, that source, assign and manage employees and contractors for business and government. They may hire and assign workers to work directly for clients or they may manage their own workers to deliver the services as a contractor. Workforce Service Providers are known by many names. In Australia and New Zealand we know of them as labour hire providers, staffing firms, contracting firms, employment agencies, temp agencies, payroll agencies and recruitment firms.

  2. Is StaffSure certification compulsory for Workforce Service Providers?

    No. An obligation to become StaffSure Certified will arise under a service contract Workforce Service Provider may have with a client or where the head of a supply chain makes it a procurement requirement e.g. a major business mandates that all Workforce Service Providers in their supply chain must be StaffSure Certified so as to have confidence of business integrity in their supply chain.

  3. Which industries, occupations and regions are covered by StaffSure?

    StaffSure covers all industries and occupations. Businesses that engage and on-hire executives are covered, as are contracting firms that deliver contract cleaning services and every service in between.

  4. Who developed StaffSure and why?

    The StaffSure Standard and Certification Program was developed by the peak industry body for the recruitment and staffing industry in Australia and New Zealand, RCSA, in consultation with industry, government, unions and business. StaffSure was developed because there were a number of service providers in the Australian and New Zealand market who were not meeting their legal obligations to workers and, following allegations of exploitation, there was a call from industry, unions and government for the development of a scheme that made it easy and simple to work out which providers had business integrity and which did not - who to use and who to avoid. The Chief Executive Officer of RCSA, Charles Cameron, has driven the development of the StaffSure scheme and, in addition to having 20 years experience in workforce service compliance and monitoring, is currently the Director responsible for Quality Standards and Compliance on the World Employment Confederation Board. For more information on WEC go to www.wecglobal.org

  5. Who owns the StaffSure program and is it a profit making business?

    RCSA owns the StaffSure program. RCSA invested significant amounts of time and money to develop the program so as to improve the integrity of the recruitment and staffing industry.

  6. Is StaffSure backed by government?

    The Department of Employment provided a grant to RCSA to pilot test StaffSure however, it has not gone so far as to ‘back’ the program. RCSA worked with a range of government agencies when developing the program.

  7. What is the difference between Labour Hire Licensing and StaffSure Certification?

    Labour hire licensing exists in Queensland and South Australia and requires an application to be made for a licence to allow a labour hire firm to operate in those States. It does not involve auditing. StaffSure is a certification program involving independent auditing on a regular basis. StaffSure is wider in scope than licensing and focuses more on the existence of systems and processes to ensure ongoing integrity whilst licensing focuses more on the absence of prior contraventions of law.

  8. Who conducts the StaffSure audits?

    SGS, the world’s largest auditing and certification firm, manages the StaffSure audit program and is the first tier audit firm. SGS are independent and have a long and strong record of independent auditing against business standards. Critically, they have a large network of auditors available across Australia to meet the needs of workforce service providers from Perth to Sydney and Darwin to Hobart, which enables them to serve the entire country. More information on SGS can be found at www.sgs.com.au

  9. How often is a Workforce Service Provider audited?

    Workforce Service Providers are required to be audited at least every 24 months under the default scheme. High risk companies, either identified through the audit process or by RCSA, may be required to have annual audits until they are confirmed as meeting the certification standard. Random surprise audits are also conducted to ensure integrity of the scheme. Such audits may occur in addition to the regular audits. Some clients or programs may require a different audit frequency. For example, it is open to the head of a supply chain to require all of their supply chain participants to be audited every 12 months, instead of the default 24 month frequency.

  10. How long does StaffSure Certification last for?

    2 years, unless an alternative scheme is implemented by a client. For example, a client or supply chain leader may require auditing more frequently.

Questions from Workforce Service Providers considering StaffSure Certification

  1. Is StaffSure relevant to firms that only provide recruitment placement services and don’t on-hire workers to clients?

    Yes. The definition of a Workforce Service Provider, covered by the StaffSure Standard, includes recruitment placement services. Therefore, a recruitment placement firm can be certified to the StaffSure Standard. It’s important to note that the StaffSure audit assesses the internal requirements of a Workforce Service Provider as well as external. In the case of a recruitment placement firm the audit will cover all six elements of the Standard with a particular focus on the firms business integrity in relation to its internal workforce.

  2. What is an audit?

    An audit is a systematic and independent examination carried out by an independent body. SGS will conduct a one day audit with nominated contacts from the organsation being audited.

  3. Is there a pre-audit assessment that can be carried out to see how ready my business is for the StaffSure audit?

    SGS offers an online interactive self-assessment tool that measures a Workforce Service Provider’s readiness for certification. It will identify which areas of the Providers business systems need to be improved to smoothly achieve certification. It is also open to a Provider to engage SGS to conduct a professional Gap Audit, using qualified consultants, if a Provider would prefer to work with a consultant, rather than an online tool.

  4. Where can I get help to develop my business systems to meet the StaffSure Standard?

    If a Provider wanting to get StaffSure Certified has gaps, and they don’t have appropriately qualified internal experts, they can engage a consultant, training and templates externally. RCSA has developed a consulting service to assist Providers meet the StaffSure Standard. To obtain assistance from RCSA email info@rcsa.com.au and ask for a RCSA Business Solutions consultant to make contact to assist with StaffSure.

  5. Once we are certified, how can we market this to our clients, candidates and workers?

    SGS provides a printed and digital certificate which is recognised globally. This will be followed by a StaffSure Certified decal/sticker which can be displayed on a StaffSure Certified providers window and a logo pack for any digital marketing. Providers can also refer clients to the www.staffsure.org website to confirm certification on the register.

  6. We have branches in more than one state, territory or region. Do we need to be StaffSure certified separately in each State?

    No. If the branches all operate as part of the same business and that business is managed, across the country, by the same officers and in accordance with the same systems and processes, only that business will need to be certified. 

  7. We offer workforce services in both Australia and New Zealand. Do we need to be StaffSure certified separately in each country?

    Possibly. If the business operates as one across Australia and New Zealand and that business is managed, across both countries, in accordance with the same systems and processes, it may be possible to have one certification across both Australia and New Zealand.

  8. Can a head franchisor get a single group StaffSure certification on behalf of all franchise holders in its franchise operation?

    No. This is because the franchise holders will usually be separate entities. Just as they would have to obtain separate business licenses – e.g. labour hire licences (Qld & SA); or employment agents licences (SA, WA and ACT), they will have to obtain separate certification.

    In the same way that they would need separately to demonstrate eligibility for a licence according to fit & proper person requirements; financial viability; business ability; compliance history etc, they will have to satisfy the StaffSure Standard across its six elements:
    - Fit & proper person
    - Work status & remuneration
    - Financial assurance
    - Safe work
    - Immigration compliance
    - Decent accommodation.

    Whilst having a franchise system may be a good start towards ensuring that there are sufficient controls in place, the question of whether those controls are working comes down to an individual, franchisee-by-franchisee evaluation.

    Keep in mind also that the service network participants of individual franchisees will not all be the same and the controls that assure good governance of the service network may also differ.

Questions from business and government considering using StaffSure Certified Workforce Service Providers

  1. Before engaging a Workforce Service Provider, what information should I be asking for so I can confirm they are StaffSure Certified?

    The legal name of the business that has been StaffSure Certified and the StaffSure Certification Number.

  2. Are there different levels and stages of StaffSure Certification?

    No. It is nice and simple. A Provider either has current StaffSure Certification, which can be confirmed on the StaffSure Register or they do not.

  3. Does StaffSure impose any obligation upon businesses and governments that use Workforce Service Providers?

    No. StaffSure places the onus on the Workforce Service Provider to become, and remain, certified. All a user needs to do is confirm current certification on the StaffSure Register.

  4. Does StaffSure Certification completely remove my legal liability if a Workforce Service Provider breaches the law?

    No. Whilst StaffSure can be used to demonstrate reasonable efforts to confirm business integrity of a Workforce Service Provider it cannot completely remove legal liability of a client / end-user if they allow a Provider to break the law.

  5. What else can we do to complement StaffSure Certification and reduce our legal liability?

    Work with an expert consultant or lawyer to develop further compliance systems that add to StaffSure.

Questions from workers, professionals and candidates

  1. I am a worker looking to work through a Workforce Service Provider. Why should I preference a StaffSure Certified provider?

    Because a StaffSure Certified Provider has been prepared open themselves to a comprehensive independent audit in relation to their business integrity and compliance systems. If a potential employer or agency is not StaffSure Certified you should ask why, and what they have to hide.

  2. Does StaffSure guarantee that I will received my legal entitlements?

    No. StaffSure is not an insurance scheme and does not provide any guarantees in relation to entitlements. But workers and professionals can have greater confidence of receiving legal entitlements when being employed or engaged (as a contractor) by a StaffSure Certified business.

  3. Does StaffSure impose any obligation upon workers and professionals that work for or through a Workforce Service Provider?

    No. But workers and professionals can have greater confidence of receiving legal entitlements when being employed or engaged (as a contractor) by a StaffSure Certified business.
Compliance, Correction and Complaints

  1. Is StaffSure certification a guarantee that a certified workforce services provider is compliant and will remain compliant with the law in all respects?

    No. Certification indicates that following audit, conducted at a specific point in time, the certified provider is considered:

    - to be reputable;
    - to operate reasonable controls in the key areas covered by the StaffSure Standard; and
    - to be a firm that will seek to meet its ongoing compliance obligations in accordance with the StaffSure Standard.

    Legal obligations may change – as may understandings of what they require – as new laws and interpretive guidelines are made, or as new cases are decided. A court may overturn a previous decision thought to be good law with the result that practices, once considered compliant, may no longer be compliant. Honest mistakes will sometimes even be made.

    What is important is that a certified provider should seek to keep up with those changes and that it should adjust its practices whenever it is discovered that the provider’s controls may have failed to prevent a compliance breach or non-conformance with the StaffSure Standard.

  2. What happens if a StaffSure certified provider breaches a compliance obligation in one of the six key areas covered by the Standard?

    A breach of a compliance obligation in one of the six key areas covered by the StaffSure Standard will indicate a failure of the provider’s controls at some point – i.e. a non-conformance.

    Apart from the usual consequences of the breach (e.g. the regulator may impose a fine), a certified provider must take corrective action:

    - to identify the failure in its controls that led to the breach;
    - to improve those controls to reduce the likelihood of similar breaches happening in future;
    - to redress harm or damage caused by the breach.

  3. What procedures exist for a StaffSure certified provider to take corrective action once a non-conformance has been identified?

    Procedures for taking corrective action should be set out in the agreement which the provider has with the certifying body. They may also be augmented by internal procedures that provider has in place.

    At a minimum, the non-conformance should be investigated and classified as either a:

    - critical non-conformance;
    - major non-conformance; or
    - minor non-conformance.

    These terms should all be defined in the agreement which the provider has with the certifying body.

    A critical non-conformance includes but is not limited to:

    a. the relevant presence of a Disqualification Circumstance;
    b. a breakdown of control(s) at a critical control point, pre-requisite Program, or other process step that is judged likely to cause a significant risk or is deemed not to meet the requirements of the StaffSure Program
    c. reasonable suspicion by SGS of systemic falsification of records relating to controls and the StaffSure Program
    d. a Program Participant’s failure to take effective Corrective Action within the timeframe agreed with SGS.
    e. a Program Participant’s failure, after being notified by SGS that its StaffSure Program is due to be audited in accordance with the frequency specified in this document, to have the required audit conducted within 30 days of such notice.

    NOTE: If the SGS Auditor considers that a Critical Non-conformance exists during the Audit, the Auditor shall immediately advise the Program Participant. A Critical Non-conformance raised at a Certification Audit can result in an automatic failure of the Audit, and the Program Participant must re-apply for Certification.

    A major non-conformance includes an omission or deficiency, which could lead to a highly unsatisfactory safety, quality or exploitation risk, or assurance failure, that is likely to result in a system breakdown.

    A minor non-conformance includes an omission or deficiency that produces unsatisfactory conditions that if not addressed, may lead to a safety, quality or exploitation risk, or assurance failure, that is not likely to cause a system breakdown.

    A certified provider must notify SGS of any complaints involving a critical or major non-conformance. The Auditor shall assess the investigation into the complaint and Corrective Action taken during a surveillance audit or by other means. The assessment will ensure that the Program Participant has;

    In the event of a critical or major non-conformance the certified provider is to notify SGS. The provider’s StaffSure auditor should then assess the provider’s investigation and corrective action to ensure that the provider has:

    - notified authorities required by regulations
    - restored conformity in a timely manner
    - taken action to prevent a recurrence
    - evaluated and mitigated any adverse safety or exploitation aspects and their associated impacts,
    - assessed the effectiveness of the Corrective Action taken
    - amended procedures, documentation and records where applicable.

    Costs of the auditor’s assessment and involvement in ensuring corrective action has been taken are payable by the provider in accordance with provisions in the agreement which the provider has with the certifying body or its auditor.

    NOTE: Certification may also be suspended or withdrawn in accordance with provisions in the agreement which the provider has with the certifying body.

    If the provider holds additional certifications (e.g. RCSA’s Service Delivery Standard or ISO 9001) there may be additional steps that would need to be taken to maintain those certifications.

  4. What happens if a third person – e.g. a trade union, client, or workseeker makes a complaint about something that involves a possible non-conformance?

    A certified provider must notify SGS of any complaints involving a critical or major non-conformance. The provider’s StaffSure auditor will assess the provider’s investigation into the complaint and Corrective Action taken during a surveillance audit or by other means.

    Complaints (including those involving minor non-conformances) should be managed through the provider’s complaints handling procedure.

    For RCSA Members, this may also mean that some complaints will find their way into RCSA’s Disciplinary & Dispute Resolution Procedures for dealing with non-conformances that may also be contraventions of the RCSA Code for Professional Conduct.

    Members of other industry associations, which have codes that govern their ethical or professional conduct, may also need to consider how their association’s conduct rules would apply to them in such a situation. Regardless of whether the provider is a member of an industry association and regardless of whether the possible non-conformance is assessed as critical, major or minor, the complaint should be documented onto an RCSA Program Continual Improvement Form that will be maintained in the provider’s Program Participant folder and will be available to RCSA.