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FCSA Members Newsletter
Julia Kermode - FCSA


FCSA has today officially announced my departure (see below) so it is with mixed feelings that I write my last newsletter for FCSA.  Whilst I am sad to leave FCSA I am also excited about my decision, particularly as my new business is not even set up yet so there is much to do!  As many of you know, I am passionate about our sector, so you won’t be surprised that we may still bump into each other.  It has been an honour to lead FCSA during such an exciting period of growth, and I am very proud of my achievements, particularly the transformation from a niche organisation to being almost ubiquitous!  FCSA is in a position of great strength, and I know that my successor, Phil Pluck, will do a fantastic job in the next stages of FCSA’s development.

In other news, I am sure you will have seen the Chancellor’s statement last week.  Some thought-provoking proposals and time will tell as to whether they really do kickstart the economy and generate the jobs we need for recovery.  It will be interesting to see whether the job retention bonus does incentivise businesses to retain their employees, however the £1,000 cash does not come close to offsetting the cost of furloughing workers. 

If I were to sum up my time at FCSA in a few words they would be “never a dull moment” – a mantra that looks set to continue as you adapt your businesses to the new environment that we find ourselves in.  There have been numerous changes in legislation that have impacted on us in recent years, and often these changes are cited as “the end of contracting” or “the end of umbrella”, but that hasn’t been the case at all.  I have been fascinated to see how important our sector is to the economy and how we continue to rise to the challenge of supporting the contingent workforce, which also continues to be essential to the UK’s prosperity. 

I wish you and FCSA and every future success.

Best wishes

FCSA appoints new CEO, Phil Pluck

FCSA is pleased to announce the appointment of Phil Pluck as its new CEO. Phil takes over from Julia Kermode who has held the post during its growth over the last 6.5 years.

Phil brings with him considerable experience in the leadership of professional membership bodies.  Most recently, he was the Group CEO of another professional membership body, the Glass and Glazing Federation, and its commercial companies, as well as the Managing Director of the Royal Town Planning Institute.  He has successfully led on engagement with government influencing a number of legislative and policy changes.

In the FCSA’s official press statement, FCSA Chair, Chris James thanks Julia for her considerable contribution to the FCSA and its members and wishes her well in her new endeavours.

Read the official press statement here >


First furlough fraud arrests

A man has been arrested on suspicion of defrauding the government's furlough scheme out of £495,000.  The arrest, thought to be the first relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), was carried out in Solihull in the West Midlands.  Computers were seized and funds frozen in the 57-year-old man's business bank account.  A further eight men from across the West Midlands have been arrested as part of a linked investigation, which involved the deployment of more than 100 HMRC officers to 11 locations.  Further computers and other digital devices were seized, plus business and personal records.


Judicial review launched to extend health & safety rights to gig workers

The High Court has granted permission to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to proceed with a judicial review that could extend health and safety rights to hundreds of thousands of so-called “gig economy“ workers.  The IWGB is arguing that the UK government has failed in its obligation to transpose health and safety directives from EU law into UK law.  Whereas UK health and safety law only protects employees, EU law extends these protections, to all those classified as workers. 

If successful, the judicial review would force the government to extend health and safety protections to all ‘workers’, including those working on platforms such as Uber and parcel courier firms.  This would include a right to personal protective equipment (PPE) and a right to bring legal action against an employer if a worker suffers a detriment or is dismissed after refusing to work under unsafe conditions.


More women are seeking permanent roles as a result of the pandemic

Over half (55%) of office-based workers in temporary roles pre-pandemic said they were now looking for permanent positions, according to a survey from recruitment firm Office Angels.  Sixty-one per cent of women said they wanted to move to a permanent role, compared with 53% of men.  According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), women are disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic, with mothers being more likely to be made redundant than fathers. 

The Office Angels survey also found 60% of temporary workers that fall within the Generation Z working age bracket (16 to 25-year-olds) were the most-keen to enter the job market on a more permanent basis.  The balance was tipped in the opposite direction when considering temporary workers in Generation X and Baby Boomer categories.  Fifty-one per cent of workers aged 45 to 54-years-old (Gen X) said they would like to continue temporary contracts post-pandemic, and 57% of Baby Boomers, aged 55-years-old and above, agreed.

Government, Policy & Technical

Director of Labour Market Enforcement Annual Report published

Matthew Taylor, Interim Director of Labour Market Enforcement has published his first full annual report which assesses labour market enforcement following the previous director’s 2018-19 strategy.  The report notes that there needs to be a step change in the level of resource allocated to enforcement, especially in relation to employment agencies. 

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) is dwarfed by the size of the sector it is meant to regulate with 11 inspectors to 31,500 employment agencies (as of March 2019).  In addition, the report notes that EAS is expected to soon take on the regulation of umbrella firms, which the government originally committed to putting in place for April 2020, however, has been delayed due to other legislative priorities.  It is expected that umbrella regulation (by EAS) will be effective from April 2021, although that timeframe is not yet confirmed. 

You can read the full report here >


Government plans to remove minor convictions from criminal record checks

The government has announced it intends to make changes to the criminal records disclosure rules to ensure the right balance is struck between rehabilitating offenders and protecting the public.  The new legislation will remove the requirement for automatic disclosure of youth cautions, reprimands and warnings and remove the ‘multiple conviction’ rule, which requires the automatic disclosure of all convictions where a person has more than one conviction, regardless of the nature of their offence or sentence.

This will particularly benefit those with childhood cautions and those with minor offences who have moved away from their past. The changes build on the government commitment to increase employment for ex-offenders.  Convictions and adult cautions for offences specified on a list of serious offences, which received a custodial sentence, are recent or unspent will continue to be disclosed under other rules.


Tax gap falls to lowest recorded rate

Official figures from HMRC have confirmed the UK’s tax gap is at an all-time low at just 4.7% for 2018 to 2019.  The tax gap is the difference between tax that should be paid and what is actually paid. HMRC collected £628 billion in tax revenue in 2018 to 2019.  There is a long-term downward trend in the tax gap, falling from 7.5% in the tax year 2005 to 2006, to 4.7% in the tax year 2018 to 2019, its lowest recorded rate.  More than 95% of the tax due was paid in the 2018 to 2019 tax year, which HMRC report is a result of their sustained efforts to make it as easy as possible for taxpayers to pay the right tax at the right time.

Brabners Legal Update

How will Flexible Furlough affect Holiday?

The new flexible furlough scheme commenced on 1 July 2020. Already this month, many employers have started taking advantage of the ability to bring employees back to work on a part time basis as the country begins to ease out of lockdown. The increased flexibility is something that has been long awaited by businesses, many of which have been calling for it since the scheme began in March.

Read on to find out more >

Market Analysis

Will the Job Retention Bonus save the anticipated 1m CJRS-related job losses?

In research by YouGov in June 2020, employers disclosed the likelihood of their need to make redundancies after the ending of the CJRS. The research concluded that half (51%) of all businesses knew that they would have to let some workers go if there was a cliff edge ending at the end of October 2020. Based on these predictions, the Resolution Foundations calculated that this would result in more than 1 million redundancies.

The Resolution Foundation is also skeptical about whether the newly announced Job Retention Bonus (JRB) – which will reward employers who still have previously furloughed workers in post at in the end of January 2021 – is generous and targeted enough to prevent layoffs. Using Understanding Society data, the organisation calculated that:

  • The median annual wage of a furloughed works is £16k
  • For this worker’s employer, the CJRS will cover 82% (July), 73% (Aug), 64% (Sept) and 55% (Oct) of wage costs.
  • The JRB covers only 21% of costs.

In conclusion, the Resolution Foundation believes that:

  • With 9.4m people potentially entitling their employer to a JRB, the ‘deadweight” in the scheme will be large, as most participants will have been brought back anyway.
  • The scheme will benefit firms who were heavy users of the CJRS but are able to reopen at scale.
  • At best, it may create an incentive to retain a furloughed employee over one not furloughed during lockdown.

Industry Insights

Top Things To Consider When Choosing The Right Pay and Bill Software

FCSA Business Partner, My Digital Accounts, looks at the top things to consider when choosing the right Pay and Bill software.

Like all decisions, there will be pros and cons to any solution that you would like to implement into your business. Selecting a Pay and Bill Software can be complex with many features, pricing and service elements at play. In these situations it’s easier to follow a process and go through a series of selection steps to make an informed decision about what’s best for your business.
By the end of this post you will learn:

  • How to uncover any specific needs and considerations your business may have regarding a new Pay and Bill Software.
  • You will be able to create your own selection matrix to support your decision process.

Read on to find out more >

Media Coverage

London Loves Business
FCSA responds to government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ summer statement
Read Article >

Staffing Industry Analysts
UK – Summer Statement includes ‘Plan for Jobs’ to kick-start the economy, focus on youth employment and training
Read Article >

Contractor UK
Contractor umbrella companies give warmer welcome to Summer Economic Update 2020
Read Article >

Freelance UK
Freelancers despondent at being overlooked by Chancellor Sunak, again
Read Article >

Global Recruiter
Industry responds to the Chancellor
Read Article >

IT contractors hit by delays in Covid-19 furlough scheme payments from umbrella companies
Read Article >

TES News
Still 'serious concern' over supply teacher pay
Read Article >

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