Food delivery platforms urged to end account sharing by UK government

The UK government has urged Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat to conduct checks on all its delivery drivers to prevent illegal working and protect the public.

Under the current model, the delivery platforms allow account holders to substitute deliveries to multiple people who are not checked by the companies.

The government said that this means companies do not know if they have the right to work in the UK or if they have a criminal record. Additionally, customers do not know whether the person delivering their items has been properly vetted, potentially putting them at risk.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is due to meet with the delivery platforms and has asked them to implement stricter controls and end unchecked account sharing.

The government said that immigration enforcement teams have targeted illegal working in the food delivery sector and this year have made over 250 enforcement visits and over 380 arrests involving food delivery workers.

It added that it was working with the sector and had made an agreement with food delivery platforms to improve awareness of illegal working in the UK and strengthen existing recruitment processes.

“When someone orders a takeaway to their home, they deserve to know that the person arriving at their door has been properly vetted and is who they’re expecting,” Jenrick said. “Unchecked account sharing places the public at risk, enables - and therefore encourages - illegal migration, and leads to the exploitation of workers. That’s why I’m calling on these companies to end the use of unverified substitution.”

Responding to the news a spokesperson for Just Eat said: "We are working closely with the government on this issue. At Just Eat, we have high standards and a robust criteria in place for couriers delivering on our behalf. This includes ensuring couriers are over the age of 18, carrying out basic criminal checks (DBS), and making sure they have the right to work in the UK.

“Self-employed independent couriers have the legal right to use a substitute. Under the UK’s employment laws, the courier account-holder is responsible for ensuring their substitute meets the necessary standards to deliver on our network.

"If we find that our high expectations are not met, we will immediately take action, including removing couriers from our network."

An Uber Eats spokesperson said: “We understand that there are We concerns around this issue, and we are working closely with the Government and want to find a solution. All couriers who use the Uber Eats app must pass a criminal background check, be over the age of 18 and hold a valid right to work in the UK. Any courier that fails to meet these criteria will lose access to the app.”

A Deliveroo spokesperson told National Technology News: “Deliveroo takes a zero tolerance approach towards any rider who fails to meet their legal obligations when working with us. If a rider is found to be without the right to work in the UK, we will stop working with them with immediate effect.

“We take our responsibilities extremely seriously. We have introduced facial recognition technology which will help to counter any abuse on the platform and, as outlined to the Minister this morning, we plan to strengthen this. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Home Office to support efforts in this area.”

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