As Exaro (the news site that first revealed that Government departments were paying some workers ‘off payroll’) announces that HMRC is about to unleash a wave of investigations on public sector contractors, the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) launches a trenchant critique of the Government’s approach to the issue.

Writing in ContractorUK, APSCo CEO Ann Swain warns that the proposal to deduct national insurance and tax at source on everyone designated as a ‘controlling person’ will have a profoundly detrimental effect on completely legitimate interim management contractors. The professional staffing sector as a whole will suffer significant “collateral damage”, she insists.

These highly skilled professionals are now likely to be deterred from the public sector by the atmosphere of knee-jerk witch-hunting that has descended over Government departments, despite the fact that they have substantially improved the efficiency of these very departments. A recent IPSOS-MORI poll estimated that the business generated by the interim management sector leapt by 93% over the last five years, suggesting that it plays a most beneficial part in the broader economy too.

Ms Swain writes: “Like us, the Institute of Interim Management also believes that the implication that all senior interims are in some way trying to evade their legal obligations by hiding behind personal service companies is perverse. The institute says that the notion that an independent professional providing business services should be debarred from their professional trade on the basis of their seniority is illogical, not to mention anti-business.”

She also announced that APSCo will be writing to Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to “vociferously oppose” his proposals.

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