News that the government has commissioned the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to conduct a review into the ways in which the distinction between employment and self-employment is conducted in the UK has met with cautious approval from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo); however, the body has also raised concerns that insufficient information exists about how interested parties can participate.
Many in the UK’s freelancing and contracting community would have an interest in contributing to the OTS review, from individual limited company owners to the more numerous professionals contracting as Umbrella Company Employees; however, the newly-announced consultation on employment status checks so far provides little guidance on how they may become involved.
APSCo’s head of external affairs, Sam Hurley, expressed concern that, without such information, the consultation may lack credibility. Welcoming the OTS’s decision to seek the views of the country’s contracting professionals and other interested parties while compiling its review of current employment status checks, Ms Hurley acknowledged that the exercise would hopefully determine whether the checks actually created “real uncertainty” for significant swathes of the UK workforce as they stood.
Ms Hurley added a caveat: “To avoid confusion and unnecessary panic for members of the professional recruitment sector, however, we hope to see a genuine consultation on the matter which provides clarity for all stakeholders involved. As it currently stands there has been little information from the OTS on how ‘interested parties’ can contribute to the consultation, which we hope is rectified shortly to enable a genuine consultation. Once APSCo has more clarity on this issue, we will be very keen to be involved.”