There has been lots of developments in the news impacting on our sector in recent weeks. With Barclays decision to stop engaging contractors through PSCs, continued declining job vacancies (see our Market Analysis section), and ATT’s calling for urgent clarity on off-payroll, there is never a dull moment.

As well as keeping up with industry developments, the FCSA are entering a busy events season.

We recently held our quarterly members meeting in Manchester; it was a fantastic event and thanks to all who attended. We had two lively presentations from HMRC covering the VAT Reverse Charge and their Digital Transformation Programme. Simon Whitehead from Brabners LLP took us through the latest employment law developments, whilst John Whelan from My Digital Accounts gave an entertaining view of next years’ off-payroll changes. Thank you to Brabners LLP for hosting and My Digital Accounts for sponsoring this event.

And, as the event season continues, by the time you read this newsletter, I will be at the Recruitment Agency Expo in Birmingham. If you are visiting, make sure you pop over to FCSA’s stand C32 to catch-up on our latest activities and share insights on all the latest developments affecting our sector. It’s always a pleasure to meet in person!

Plus, don’t miss us at World Leaders in Recruitment on 29 October. They have a cracking line-up for our IR35 panel session!

Best wishes

Julia Kermode, FCSA Chief Executive


In this Issue

News | Government, Policy & Technical | Legal Update | Market Analysis | Media Coverage | Upcoming Events | Directory of Accredited Members


Barclays decides to only engage contractors via PAYE

You may have already heard about Barclays decision to only engage contractors if they agree to be paid by PAYE before the end of February 2020.  Barclays have confirmed that they will no longer engage contractors that provide their services via limited company or other intermediary and have instructed their MSPs and agencies accordingly.  There are plenty of rumours about other engagers that will follow suit.  It is clearly a disappointing stance to take, although perhaps not entirely unexpected as businesses face pressure to be prepared (and minimise their risk) ahead of the change in April 2020.  Time will tell as to the cost of their decision and how the business will be affected if their contractor population seek engagements elsewhere.


Chancellor pledges National Living Wage to rise to £10.50

Chancellor Sajid Javid has pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10.50 within the next five years.  He will also lower the age threshold for those who qualify from 25 to 21.  Javid said cutting the threshold to 21 would "reward the hard work of all millennials" - but it will come in two stages, with 23-year-olds qualifying for the rise in 2021 and 21-year-olds by 2024.


Graduates want to work in the civil service

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2019-20 was published last week and shows that the number of new graduates wanting to work in the public sector is at its highest level for almost a decade.  The civil service topped the list, demoting PwC from the number 1 position for the first time in 15 years.  There are 11 public sector employers in the rankings, including the NHS at number five, its highest position since the list began in 1999.  The rankings are compiled from research with 19,700 graduates who left university this summer.  

The largest recruiters of graduates in 2020 will be Teach First (1,750 vacancies), PWC (1,350), the professional services network KPMG (1,200), the civil service fast stream (1,200), Deloitte (1,000), HSBC (1,000) and Enterprise Rent-a-Car (900).  In the top 100, the median graduate starting salary on offer is £30,000, with the highest at the leading investment banks (£50,000), senior law firms (£45,000), and consulting companies (£45,000).  A record proportion of graduates leaving university in the summer of 2019 said “giving something back to society” was a priority for their first job, rather than the best starting salary.


Facial analysis AI technology is being used in job interviews

Facial analysis technology is being used in job interviews to help identify the best candidates.  Consumer goods company Unilever is the first to pioneer the technology which analyses candidates when they are asked a set of identical interview questions, which the firm film on their mobile phone or laptop.  The algorithm is trained to identify the language, tone and facial expressions to select the best applicants by assessing their performances in the videos. 

Facial expressions assessed by the algorithms include brow furrowing, brow raising, eye widening or closing, lip tightening, chin raising and smiling, which are important in sales or other public-facing jobs.  It is trained by deep learning against about 25,000 pieces of facial and linguistic information compiled from previous interviews of those who have gone on to prove to be good at the job.  US company Hirevue, which developed the interview technology, claims that the technology enables more candidates to be interviewed initially rather than simply relying on CVs, and that it provides a more reliable indicator of future performance free of human bias.


Allegations against FCSA

We are aware that some serious allegations have been made against FCSA by some NHS agency workers who disagree with frameworks and agencies operating a preferred supplier list of umbrella employers.  These individuals have set up a targeted campaign against FCSA. This is despite previous assurances that their campaign was not against FCSA.

We take this opportunity to assure you that there is no truth in these allegations.  We have instructed solicitors and are in the process of taking firm legal action against these individuals in order to protect the reputation of FCSA and its members. 

Should you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Government, Policy & Technical

ATT calls for urgent clarity on off-payroll changes

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) is calling for greater clarity regarding next year’s changes to off-payroll rules.  The ATT note that the draft legislation does not include any detailed provisions regarding how and when the transfer of liability provisions may be applied - despite the consultation response stating that the draft legislation would set out the conditions for liability transfer.  Furthermore, the ATT is uncomfortable with the suggestion that the legislation on transfer of liability could have a potentially broad application that is then narrowed by guidance. Whilst guidance can provide some comfort to taxpayers, it does not deliver certainty as it has no statutory force and is subject to change at short notice and without Parliamentary scrutiny.

Michael Steed, Co-chair of ATT’s Technical Steering Group, said: “There remains much work to be done to ensure that private sector engagers and agencies are both aware of the changes and ready for them. The current lack of clarity on some key areas makes it difficult for businesses to prepare properly.  More information and detailed guidance from HMRC is urgently needed if the roll out of these new rules will succeed.”


Employment intermediaries service on gov.uk

We have been informed that some users may have problems with enrolling onto the employment intermediary service on gov.uk  HMRC is aware of the issue and hope to fix the problem as soon as possible.  In the meantime, HMRC apologise for any inconvenience.


Making Tax Digital update

HMRC has confirmed that the 600 or so customers who submit their VAT returned using the “GIANT” system will not be required to join Making Tax Digital before April 2022.  This timescale will enable HMRC to take into account the outcome of the HM Treasury review into the VAT refund rules for central government, which will cover the future reporting requirements for GIANT customers and could lead to changes to those rules.  GIANT customers should continue to submit their returns in the same way as they do now.  MTD was mandated for VAT for the majority of customers for VAT periods stating on or after 1 April and will be mandated for deferred customers who do not use the GIANT service for periods starting on or after 1 October.

Brabners LLP Legal Update


New case confirms vegetarianism is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to harass or discriminate against somebody in the workplace in relation to their “religion or belief”.

The legal definition of “religion” is relatively uncontroversial. But what does “belief” mean? It may seem obvious, but over the years, various cases have been brought in which the Tribunal has had to consider whether a person’s belief qualifies for protection under the Equality Act 2010, and you might be surprised by some of the judgments.

For example, a belief in environmentalism and climate change, anti-fox hunting, and Scottish independence have all been found to be a “belief” for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

So what about vegetarianism? In the recent tribunal case of Mr G Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd & Others, Mr Conisbee, a barman / waiter at the Fritton Arms in Lowestoft, Suffolk attempted to argue that vegetarianism amounts to a “belief” qualifying for protection under the Equality Act 2010.

Find out more >

Market Analysis

Official job vacancies fall by 3.9% in June - August

In June - August 2019, there were an estimated open 812,000 vacancies across the UK - 33,000 (3.9%) less than a year earlier and 23,000 fewer than for the previous quarter (March-May 2019).

The estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell sharply during the recession of 2008 to 2009. Since 2012, it has generally increased although it has been falling since early 2019 – and this is the third successive rolling quarter of annual decline.

When looking at where the declining numbers are largely being driven, there were falls in all bar six sectors. Of note, there was a 6k (16%) fall this quarter in openings within finance & insurance, a 6k (14%) decline in vacancies in transport & storage, a 5k (19%) fall in vacancies in construction and a 7k (12%) fall in manufacturing vacancies. Health & social care continues to buck the trend, adding 5k (4%) openings this quarter.

Media Coverage

The Times
What IR35 tax tribunal ruling means for freelancers
Read Article >

The Global Recruiter
Julia Kermode, chief executive of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association on the BBC IR35 case and more.
Read Article >

IR35 raises more questions as BBC presenters lose test case
Read Article >

Staffing Industry News
HMRC wins IR35 tribunal against BBC presenters
Read Article >

Three BBC presenters lose IR35 case
Read Article >

Payroll special: Rising to the challenge
Read Article >

HMRC scrapes IR35 win against BBC presenter trio who owe £920,000
Read Article >

Accountancy Age
HMRC wins IR35 case against three BBC presenters - Reaction
Read Article >

Top 5 qualities of a freelancer
Read Article >

What Investment
How freelancers need to get saving for their pension
Read Article >

Loan Charge 2019 Review opens up to contractors, alive to ‘independent’ concerns
Read Article >

Upcoming Events


Recruitment Agency Expo Birmingham 2019
2nd & 3rd October 2019
NEC Birmingham

What does the future of recruitment look like? How is our industry evolving? Once that future does arrives, will you be ready to thrive? Discover the answers to the industry’s biggest questions by attending the next Recruitment Agency Expo in Birmingham.

A bi-annual event shared and attended by an entire industry and all its supporting services. Over the course of two days more than 3000 senior figures come together to listen to recruitment’s most important voices. Fresh ideas are shared. Innovative products and services are given a platform. Recruitment professionals are offered free access to the biggest networking event of the year.

FCSA are proud to once again be a Partner for this expo and don't forget to visit us on stand 32.

Register Now >

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