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Responding to the latest Government consultation, A pro-innovation approach to AI Regulation, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and APSCo OutSource have warned that auditable standards are needed now to prevent misuse of AI and recruitment technology.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo comments: “The rapid evolution of Large Language Models Generative AI technologies makes regulating the space extremely difficult. However, given the role that this sophisticated software plays in HR teams and staffing businesses guidance and globally recognised standards are essential. Challenges abound, for example, in a recent poll we found that 94% of recruitment teams are procuring tools from a third-party provider, and only the largest organisations are developing AI software solutions in-house.

“AI in recruitment improves efficiency and aids diversity by reducing focus on education and experience and increasing focus on skills. However, discriminative bias is a known risk and as most purchasers in the sector are non-specialists, they lack the expertise to validate suppliers’ assurances on anti-bias measures.

“The AI principles outlined in the Government consultation recognise the challenges of regulating AI and technology, but a sectoral approach to HR and recruitment is needed. In hiring, a clear definition of AI is needed to ensure firms are transparent about their technology’s use of AI and its impact on processing. Supply chain transparency and explainability are crucial in our sector due to the complex nature of supply chains and the wide range of technologies utilised by all providers. As data and AI regulations continue to evolve, it is essential to hold technology businesses and their directors accountable for any breaches. This accountability ensures fair and effective regulation that has a meaningful impact.

“We are engaging with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, part of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to promote guidance to recruiters and outsourcers and to support the rollout of internationally recognised auditable standards downstream to ensure the challenges faced by professional staffing companies are mitigated. Given the UK’s intention to be a global leader in the AI revolution, then a pragmatic, flexible regulatory approach is welcomed, but needs to be coupled with a mechanism for ensuring world leading expertise and advice are available and adopted by government. For the staffing sector, the number one ask is for internationally recognised, auditable BSI standards, which will provide the confidence needed to fully adopt evolving technologies to revolutionise skills-based hiring.”