Contractors' Questions: How to ditch my agency?

Contractor's Question: I've had a number of problems with the agency that I am currently contracting through and want to ditch them for an agency just offering payroll services. But there's a clause in my contract that states that if I leave my current contract then I can't go back to my employer for 6 months unless I go through the same agency. However, because the agency hasn't provided a good service, is the contract null and void?

Expert's Answer: In order to give the most comprehensive answer we would need to see the agreement and all the correspondence between the parties. The first piece of advice is to attempt to resolve any dispute before seeking to issue proceedings. This is recommended because, unfortunately, the law on agencies is in a state of development and it remains very uncertain with many cases conflicting. From your question, it is also unclear whether you opted in or out of the Agency Conduct Regulations, which have a bearing on your situation.

With more certainty, I can say that contracts of employment are terminable on notice. The notice period will be found in the contract of employment. A way forward might be to terminate the contract with the agency giving the correct notice (as required under the contract). Then approach the employer direct for work. Working in such a way would put you in a stronger position in terms of certain employment rights.

The expert was Jody Tsigarides, of Lawdit Solicitors.