Following recent media revelations that another government-owned company has remunerated its chief executive on an ‘off-payroll’ basis, the PCG has called for clear ‘best practise’ guidelines for the use of professional contractors and freelancers in the public sector.
PCG chief executive Chris Bryce said that such examples of malpractice are “deeply unhelpful to the thousands of independent professionals” in the UK who are contracting entirely legitimately with clients. These include Umbrella Company Employees and other professional freelancers.
Mr Bryce pointed to recent Treasury figures showing that 94% of the people engaged on an off-payroll basis (1,815 cases) had been able to assure their government departments that they were paying tax and NICs entirely correctly.
There is, Mr Bryce continued, a lack of consistency in the public sector concerning the correct use of a flexible, project-based resource. A best practise approach was, he continued, the best way to prevent the misuse of off-payroll contracts and to ensure that the sizeable competitive advantage delivered by freelancers would not be compromised.
Mr Bryce added: “The Treasury has now been trying to get control of the situation through its review of ‘off-payroll’ working for well over six months. It is regrettable that what should have been a quick and painless exercise became a long, drawn out process which caused innocent independent professionals to endure a very stressful time.”
The PCG has extended an open invitation to Danny Alexander to participate in the drawing up of the new guidelines on the proper use of freelancers, contractors and independent professionals in the public sector.