INSPIRATION FOR INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS AND THE SELF EMPLOYED ISSUE 63, SEPTEMBER 2017 – £4.95
STARTING OUT 9 steps to freelance success
CYBER-CRIME How to protect your business
RESEARCH The risks and rewards of running your own business
Matthew Taylor on his landmark report
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FROM THE LOBBY
Simon McVicker surveys the state of politics and guest writers anticipate what the party conferences have in store
Matthew Taylor discusses his review into modern employment
KICKSTART YOUR CAREER
Nine steps to starting your career as a freelancer
FROM THE EDITOR JAMES GRIBBEN
How to protect your business against an attack
Patrick Grady analyses unemployment levels
LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS Jason Ward explains how to maintain clients when you only communicate online
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL RULING ‘Unlawful’ fees scrapped in landmark case
RISKS AND REWARDS OF FREELANCING
Kayte Jenkins finds out whether freelancing is worth the risk
The coastal town tops the list as the best city for the self-employed
Freelancers’ confidence plummets to lowest levels on record
DITCH THE WORD ENTREPRENEUR
THE FREELANCER’S GUIDE TO THE PARTY CONFERENCES
A city guide to where each of the four major parties conferences are being held
CO-WORKING & COFFEE
In this issue of IPSE Magazine you can read all about how self-employment is on the rise. While growing in number, it’s not all plain sailing if you work for yourself. We bring you new research, which shows freelancers’ confidence in the economy has hit rock bottom. We also speak to the man Theresa May asked to take a closer look at how the modern working world can be improved. Read our exclusive interview with Matthew Taylor to find out why the former New Labour adviser produced his report for a Conservative government, and what he wants to achieve by introducing a ‘dependent contractor’ employment status for people working in the gig economy. If you are new to freelancing, skip straight to our feature on what to do when you are starting out. Inside you can also read about how the political parties fare as they head into party conference season. And check out our feature on cyber-security to keep your business protected when you go online.
Jyoti Rambhai explores how one space in Birmingham is supporting freelancers
Enjoy the read,
A run down of IPSE’s My Money roadshow
Should universities stoping using this term? September 2017
A message from the CEO With Brexit negotiations in full swing and the Taylor review published, this summer has been incredibly busy, despite parliament being on recess. And with the government back in action and looming party conferences, the next few months are going to be very interesting. INSPIRATION FOR INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS AND THE SELF EMPLOYED ISSUE 63, SEPTEMBER 2017 – £4.95
9 steps to freelance success
CYBER-CRIME How to protect your business
RESEARCH The risks and rewards of running your own business
Matthew Taylor on his landmark report
James Gribben email@example.com @JamesIPSE
DEBUTY EDITOR Jyoti Rambhai
MEDIA CONSULTANT Jim Cassidy
CONTRIBUTORS Gary Barker Gemma Church Jason Ward Ashley Cowburn Helen Lewis Asa Bennett Nick Eardley Patrick Grady
IPSE, Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1H 0DX
IPSE’s Chief Executive, Chris Bryce
utumn is here, meaning its back to school for the kids. And as for the self-employed, it certainly looks like there is going to be some big changes in the coming year and IPSE is determined to ensure that we stay high on the government’s agenda. At the time of writing, the number of people working on their own account has reached 4.85 million, the highest number since records began. The growing ranks of selfemployed are pushing the labour market to new heights. This is something that should be celebrated everywhere from Southampton, to Stirling.
So, can we improve things for the self-employed? Well, it’s all in the government’s hands
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Given these swelling numbers we need to think about how to nurture this sector. It’s why the Prime Minister asked Matthew Taylor to produce a report – something IPSE contributed to. Matthew Taylor published his review into modern working practices in July, and in this issue of the magazine, we have interviewed him to find out more about the reasons behind his recommendations. IPSE has welcomed many of the recommendations in the review but we did have some concerns about his suggestion of bringing in the dependent contractor status. Our concerns centred on how the report considered control to be the sole factor determining employment status and we raised this with Taylor. We also asked Taylor about tax as he has spoken quite
openly about backing the chancellor last spring on raising class 4 national insurance contributions. He firmly believes that this is the right move forward, but we think this could have a damaging effect on the self-employed sector. Luckily, this looks unlikely to recur in the new term, Philip Hammond will be chastened after getting his fingers burnt in March. While we hope that many of Taylor’s recommendations will be high on the government’s agenda, currently, Brexit seems to be overshadowing much of politics. Times really are tough at the moment for the selfemployed. Our own research has revealed that confidence levels have plummeted to an all-time low with Brexit and government policy being the biggest factors on this figure. Around two-thirds of freelancers surveyed were concerned about the economy, with many predicting a major slowdown. But that’s not all, we are now seeing the effects of the IR35 changes rolled out in the public sector in April and many people seem to be reluctant to take on contracts with many government departments. So how can we improve things for the self-employed? Well, it’s all in the government’s hands – will they roll out the recommendations in the Taylor review, will we be seeing the end of the single market, what will the Chancellor say in the autumn Budget? Whatever happens, IPSE is here for you. We want to ensure the voices of the self-employed sector are heard, and there are tools out there, which you can use to help you strive. It is why we have recently launched our new guide to freelancing, Be your own Boss, which is available to download from our website. We also have the money roadshow coming up this October, where we will be bringing expert financial advice from our partners at five locations around the UK. All the details of where we will be is on our website.
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From the Lobby British politics has always created drama, from noble tragedies to farcical melodramas. But in recent years it seems to have been in constant crescendo, its cast of characters duelling and destroying each other left, right and centre. And the stage for some of its highest dramas? The party conference. So to mark this conference season, IPSE has asked four renowned journalists to predict how each of these dramas is likely to unfold…
From Brexit battles to the future of Prime Minister Theresa May, IPSE’s director of policy Simon McVicker surveys the state of politics.
t’s September, and silly season is (we hope) finally at an end. Time to put Big Ben blubbing and Venezuelan vacillations to one side and get back to real politics. Parliament is back in session, Brexit negotiations are in full swing (or not, depending on what you believe), and we’re barrelling headlong into conference season. And as our guest writers discuss, tensions will be simmering at both of the major party conferences, boiling over into the bars and backrooms of Brighton and Manchester. Top of the list of tensions is the future of Theresa May. Now she has been forced to oust her old advisors, the gruesome twosome Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, May’s shiny new team – including former BBC Daily Politics editor Robbie Gibb – has put her in a much stronger position than two months ago. But then, that’s not saying much. And Britain’s ‘weak and wobbly’ Prime Minister has only eroded her crumbling power base further by claiming that she’s here ‘for the long term’. Polls of Conservative Party members say otherwise… But the biggest hurdle for May at the moment (aside from a certain era-defining, economyshattering constitutional change on the horizon), is the urgent need for a cabinet reshuffle. One of the many reasons May called her catastrophic snap election was that she needed the authority to reshuffle her recalcitrant cabinet. Instead of Javid or Johnson in the firing line, however, it’s now May herself. Although at the moment, May is using the threat of a reshuffle to keep her rebellious cabinet in line, at some point she is going to have to fire the gun and cast her enemies out. Then, not only will the backbenches be filled with rancorous big beasts hungry for revenge; she will also have lost one of her only levers on power. Talking of levers, what about Jeremy “almost vegan” Corbyn, the great terror of the 6
Conservatives doing more than anything else to keep May in power? Well, for one thing, the Labour conference will be much smoother sailing than he or anyone imagined. Labour MPs have almost no appetite for open dissent and insurrection now they have scented power. But even the possibility of power can’t quite put the lid on the party’s simmering tensions, and the challenge for Corbyn and Labour will be maintaining their uncharacteristic veneer of unity
in the months ahead. That may prove no small feat when the party’s fudged stance on Brexit comes under real scrutiny. And with Chuka Umunna and the new Labour campaign for the single market taking aim at Corbyn’s eurosceptic tendencies, there may be trouble ahead – sooner than many expect. Now the big question: what does all this mean for the self-employed? Well, although May’s new team are hunkered down and holding the fort, it ipsemagazine.co.uk
M THE RO
Y PART ECE FER CON CIAL SPE LO BBY
recommendations. And with the review’s talk of the need to ‘address the disparity between the level of tax applied to employed and self-employed labour’, perhaps that’s a relief for the UK’s freelance community. However, there is no room for complacency. With confirmation of the government caving in to pressure and lifting the cap on public sector salaries (not to mention its other extensive public expenditure commitments in the NHS and elsewhere), it may soon be in urgent need of easy money. So there is still some risk that the chancellor, Philip Hammond, might circle back on the self-employed, seeing them as easy targets for quick funds. And if Spreadsheet Phil does indeed turn his attention to the self-employed again, there are two key times he’s likely to do it: after consultations on the Taylor Review and, of course, in his Autumn Budget. Now, after his humiliating u-turn in
Whatever happens in the course of this parliament, IPSE will be working hard to represent the interests of the UK’s self-employed community, ensuring they get the recognition they deserve
will be a long time before they’re confident enough to put their heads over the parapet and actually launch new policies. And with two major threats – Brexit and the massing forces of Jeremy Corbyn – on the horizon, it’s unlikely Team Theresa will be keen to cause controversy any time soon. So even though May tied her ‘relaunch’ to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, her weakened government now has neither the will nor the strength to actually implement any of its September 2017
March, it’s extremely unlikely the chancellor will want to directly increase NICs for the selfemployed again. It was a major embarrassment for a majority government: for a minority government, such controversy could prove fatal. Instead, there are two slightly less outlandish possibilities. First, though unlikely, there is some chance Hammond may try and extend the disastrous changes to IR35 in the public sector to the private sector. Because, despite a growing mountain of evidence that switching the decision about IR35 status from contractors to public sector bodies has been a monumental catastrophe, HMRC have been presenting it as something of a success. Extending these changes to the private sector would be even more of a disaster, and IPSE will be doing everything it can to prevent this. The other possibility is a bit more positive. Not many people remember now, but when Hammond first turned his attention to the growing self-employed sector, many freelancers were optimistic because of his talk of thorough consultation. The idea, it appeared, was to base changes on the views and needs of real selfemployed people. In the end this was brushed aside in favour of a heavy handed NICs rate rise. But maybe, just maybe, this is the approach that will now be taken. It’s certainly the approach that should be taken. Perhaps with a view to providing real support to the self-employed through the private sector – if not through expensive government initiatives. Whatever happens in the course of this parliament, IPSE will be working hard to represent the interests of the UK’s freelance and self-employed community, ensuring they get the recognition they deserve not just in government but across the political landscape.
Ashley Cowburn Political Correspondent Independent
Sir Vince Cable – the new chief of the unashamedly pro-EU Liberal Democrat party – has just published his debut novel, containing “very discreet” sex scenes. Expect the party faithful gathered on Bournemouth’s seafront to be clutching signed copies of what is billed to be an “explosive thriller which circles from Whitehall to the slums of Mumbai”. The conference itself, one former senior party aide describes to me, is typically a “cross between freshers’ week and a Star Trek convention”. It is the one moment of the year, they added, that the party “gets to put itself in the shop window, gets the media hit and allows itself to lay out its policies.” The explosive issue of this year’s annual get-together will be the party’s position on the EU as delegates seek to force a significant change. While the party membership surged in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, the Lib Dems under the stewardship of Tim Farron failed to make a significant breakthrough at the snap election. Despite increasing its presence in the Commons from eight to 12 the party’s vote share dropped from 7.9 per cent in 2015 to 7.4 per cent in June. Some party members believe the deal offered in the election to voters – a second referendum on EU membership – was too equivocal. They hope conference will change the party’s policy and force the leadership to pledge to reverse Article 50 should the Lib Dems ever return to power. This, they believe, would provide a more coherent message to the British public that the party believes in membership of the bloc. Others say the four-day conference will allow Sir Vince to set out his stall and explain to members – in the absence of a proper leadership contest – where he wants to take the party and his vision for the Lib Dems. As Sean Kemp, a former adviser to Nick Clegg, tells me, this conference will be interesting “as the election result, Brexit and the rise of Vince mean there are some big questions that need to be answered about where the party goes from here”. He adds: “There are fewer lobbyists now there’s no coalition, and fewer journalists, but there’s also less plotting as people are there to get things done. Labour and the Tories can feel like mass city breaks for party obsessive with some speeches chucked in; Lib Dem conference is a policy debate that feels increasingly hungover as the days go on. Sometimes it can feel a bit worried about the micro issues not the macro strategy, I don’t think that will be the case this time.” Insiders tell me another highlight will be the party’s annual infamous karaoke night. Last year members of the “Lib Dem Glee Club” sang “Tony Blair can f*** off and die” in the presence of the amused British media. 7
POLITICS Helen Lewis Deputy Editor, New Statesman
The last two Labour party conferences have had a strange, divided feeling, reflecting the split between Jeremy Corbyn and the majority of his backbenchers. In 2015, there was numb shock in the bars and fringe meetings in Brighton – what did his victory mean? Where was the party heading? The next year’s conference was even stranger. It happened in the shadow of two seismic events: an EU referendum in which Corbyn’s campaigning was notably low-key (he is a lifelong Eurosceptic) and a failed coup against his leadership. In Liverpool that year, much of the energy seemed to have drained away from the main stage to the nearby Momentum conference, “The World Transformed”, where radical policies such as universal basic income were discussed. This year, the mood will be different. Corbyn is triumphant: not only did he avoid the expected Labour wipeout in this year’s general election, he led a spirited, genial
The biggest row could be over continued free movement campaign. That means even former critics such as Lisa Nandy will speak at The World Transformed, alongside Clive Lewis, an early Corbyn backer who resigned from the shadow cabinet over the vote to trigger Article 50. At the main conference, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham face having their speeches shortened or cut from the programme altogether – the former backed Owen Smith last year, but the latter stayed resolutely neutral. The ostensible reason for the cutbacks is to allow more Labour members to speak from the floor – a reflection of the swelling size of the party’s grassroots. One of the big schisms of Corbyn’s leadership – Trident, the nuclear deterrent – will not be debated, as it was tackled last year. The biggest row could be over continued free movement: most of the party’s activists want the softest possible Brexit, but the current line is that Britain will leave the customs union and single market after a long transition period. Managing the divide will be a tough challenge for Corbyn, who has staked his leadership on transferring power to the grassroots. There could also be compromise on one of the most bitter internal wrangles, the so-called “McDonnell amendment” covering how many MPs would need to nominate any future leadership candidate. The level is currently 15 per cent, but Corbynites wanted it cut to five per cent to make it easier for the party’s left to flourish in future contests. Given Corbyn’s newly strengthened position, however, some of the anxiety has gone out of the debate. A compromise seems likely. 8
Overall, both sides of the party are keen for this to be a conference that heals divisions, not reopen old wounds. With the TV cameras rolling, and political journalists waiting with open notebooks, Labour wants to paint itself as united, disciplined, and full of ideas: a government-in-waiting.
Commissioning Brexit Editor The Daily Telegraph “A party conference can be many things,” Francis Urquhart mused in the TV classic House of Cards, “a show of confidence, an agonizing reappraisal, or, as in this case, a series of auditions by pretenders to the throne, while the lost leader withers before our very eyes”. Theresa May had an easy conference debut as party leader as she basked in adulation from her fellow Conservatives, but then she staked her authority on crushing Jeremy Corbyn in a snap election. The initial confidence among Tories in their leader swiftly turned sour when the results came in. They have been swift to reappraise May, but have reached an agonising conclusion: she must go, but not yet. Members will use their latest gathering to vent their frustrations about her leadership in the bars of Manchester, but what can they do? The party can ill afford to waste time holding a leadership election when it has to drive forward Britain’s effort to negotiate its exit from the European Union. Even if it did, polls show that none of the obvious challengers would improve the Tory party’s popularity - they are stuck with Mrs May. Cabinet ministers insist they are behind the Prime Minister, but few will be able to resist using their turn on stage to show the conference faithful what they could be like in charge. The boldest auditions won’t happen in the hall though, as Tories will be searching for inspiration at fringe events. These lower-key gatherings in the bars and conference spaces around Manchester will be where the party starts to examine why it failed to win big in June, how it can successfully manage Brexit, and how it will renew itself afterwards. It does not need to rush in its search for Mrs May’s successor, as it is determined to give her the chance to get Brexit right. It has a cruder reason to support her too: stopping Jeremy Corbyn getting into power. He came too close to the gates of Downing Street for comfort, and the Tories know if they fall apart that the resulting election could see him waltz right in. If backing Mrs May will keep him away, so be it. The Conservatives are not bereft of ambition. The question is, as activists consider the future, will they be able to inspire their audience with positive visions? Those who can will have the best claim to the throne.
Nick Eardley Westminister Correspondent, BBC Scotland
The SNP approaches conference season with a renewed focus on the “day job”. June’s general election saw the party lose 21 seats, with big hitters Alex Salmond and ex-Westminster leader Angus Robertson among prominent casualties. That result led Nicola Sturgeon to park (though not scrap completely) plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Gains for the Scottish Conservatives, as well as other unionist parties, were widely interpreted as a protest against Ms Sturgeon’s referendum plan. Ruth Davidson’s calls for the SNP to focus on running Holyrood appeared to have gone down well with voters. Hence the packed programme for government launched by the SNP at the start of September. With 16 new bills – from reform of education to phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by 2032 - Ms Sturgeon appeared keen to show her party was about more than constitutional wrangling. Brexit will be front and centre too. The Scottish government wants to remain in the single market and the customs union after the UK leaves the EU and is focussing, for now, on getting support for that position. There is genuine anger in Edinburgh at the way some believe UK ministers are bypassing devolved counterparts in the Brexit process
Sturgeon appears keen to show her party is about more than constituential wrangling and as things stand it is unlikely Holyrood will give consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill. Expect to hear more at the conference about the Scottish government’s position on Brexit and calls for a more inclusive approach. Will there be more detail on what the SNP government in Edinburgh does next? As for independence, it’s a difficult balancing act for the party hierarchy. Nicola Sturgeon knows it’s the issue that fires up her activists more than any other - and always attracts the biggest ovation during her keynote. The SNP leader needs to keep the tens of thousands who joined the party after the 2014 referendum coming back. But after the general election, it’s not the issue she wants in the headlines. An interesting backdrop to the conference will be questions over party management, after criticism over the handling of the Michelle Thomson case. Ms Thomson called for Ms Sturgeon to apologise, criticised the SNP’s business manager Derek Mackay and questioned the set up at the very top, with Ms Sturgeon being married to SNP chief executive Peter Murrell. Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has questioned that relationship and “centralisation of power” too. ipsemagazine.co.uk
A work in progress
From being an inside left to making a substitute appearance on the right, Matthew Taylor talks about how he came to conduct the review into modern working practices. By Jyoti Rambhai
eing asked to head the review into modern employment was the “equivalent in public policy terms to being asked to play for England,” says Matthew Taylor, whose two sons went to America on soccer scholarships - with one now playing at a professional level in the MLS (Major League Soccer). From working as an adviser for Tony Blair’s Labour government to producing a report for the current Tory government, Taylor has been
a significant figure in British politics for a long time. But it is only in the past year, that he has truly stepped into the spotlight. The 56-year-old chief executive of RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) explains that he has always cared about employment and the issue of “quality of work”, so when the opportunity to lead a review arose, he snapped it up. “To provide independent advice to the
government and to have a public role, knowing that the government is going to respond to what you say – that’s an incredibly exciting opportunity,” he says. “It’s not so much about the political leadership as it is about the task. When I worked for Tony Blair, I was an insider, I was there to advise him and to work for him. Nobody knew who I was, I didn’t speak to the press and I didn’t have a public profile. “The role I had with Theresa May was to
POLITICS —— How can we address the underlying incentives that are driving what goes on in the labour market? According to Taylor, policy making is like being a “painter or a poet”. “You go into something with a set of skills and you look, and you search for inspiration to solve a particular problem and try to fine tune the product – that product is the policy recommendation.” Whether or not you agree with his analogy, Taylor certainly looked to address the issues he had identified – but was he successful? The review, published in July, called for “seven steps towards fair and decent work”. These recommendations included making the “taxation of labour more consistent across employment forms”; introducing a new dependent contractor status; and calling for the government to “explore ways to improve pension provision amongst the self-employed”.
“The common sense idea of what it means to be selfemployed is that you exercise a high level of control over the work that you do; so I wanted to put more emphasis on control”
Matthew Taylor put forward seven key recommendations in his review
produce an independent report. Leading this review meant that I was on the road, doing events, talking to the press… I had become a public figure.” Taylor admits that although he had been in talks with Downing Street about conducting a review – partly because the RSA had done some work on self-employment, gig work and the future of work – he was rather sceptical about it actually being done. “I suspected that it would never happen,” says the father of three, “my experience of the government is that people are always posting ideas but very few of them actually end up happening. But then I got a phone call to say it was going ahead and that was it.” When asked if he had any preconceived notions about the world of work that have changed following his research, Taylor claims there were none. In fact, he confidently says that “there were no huge surprises”. “There wasn’t some bit of truth or a bit of 10
reality that I was completely unaware of, that I suddenly had to confront. Nor was there one really big idea which I had never thought of.” The former Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) director goes on to explain his initial process going into the review and his anxieties about it one month in. “I felt that untangling this, setting up an approach and developing policy ideas was going to be very, very difficult given that it is such a complex set of issues. “I realised that this is not just about gig work, agency work or work in general. Once I’d got a handle on that, we were able to identify three broad areas to look at.” The three key areas he set out to address in his review included: —— Exploitation – who is being exploited; why they are being exploited; what can be done about it? —— Why is the system so confusing and complex and what can be done about it?
IPSE welcomed the review from the outset and backs many of the recommendations. However, it has questioned the new dependent contractor status, which is based primarily on control, adding that it could lead to greater confusion rather than simplifying the system. IPSE has long called for the government to bring in a statutory definition of self-employment based on a set of principles, which include day-today control of tasks, mutuality of obligation and the ability to substitute, to address this confusion. In response to this, Taylor labelled IPSE’s matrix “very interesting” and explains that his recommendation for a new dependent contractor status is “not new”, but falls within the worker category. “It felt to me in the end, the common sense idea of what it means to be self-employed is that you exercise a high level of control over the work that you do; so I wanted to put more emphasis on control and supervision. “This is, by the way, what HMRC use as their primary criteria for determining someone’s status. “I suggest that over time we move to aligning HMRC categories and employment categories.” This is one of IPSE’s long-standing recommendations. He went on to add: “I also wanted to address a particular problem, which some delivery companies are known to do. They use substitution as a kind of get out of jail card on workers’ rights and I don’t think they should do this. “The fact that you can get someone else to do your job for you, doesn’t change the nature of the relationship. The capacity for substitution might distinguish someone from a worker and an employee, but it shouldn’t be something that distinguishes a worker from a self-employed person.” ipsemagazine.co.uk
And if he had to choose one element from the report for the government to prioritise, Taylor suggests higher minimum wage for variable hours, mostly as it has two main aims. He explains: “If it were to mean that people on minimum wage got a bit more money, then that is of course a good thing. “But more broadly, it is an appropriate way of making sure that employers don’t simply transfer all their risk on to the most vulnerable. So, if we gradually introduce the principle that if you don’t guarantee people the hours, you have to pay them a little bit more – which is a principle that is applied in Australia, America and many other places. “Then if that principle starts to work, over time you could increase that differential. Although my recommendation only applies to those on minimum wage, you could, hopefully, start to increase this as more of a norm across the rest of the economy.” The whole of the review is based around moving “towards a more consistent and fair way of taxing labour”. In the spring budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond’s initial announcement that he would increase class 4 national insurance contributions was met by outrage, particularly in the selfemployed sector. But Taylor is an advocate for this rise and firmly believes this is the way forward. He says: “At the moment, the way we tax labour depends on the form through which that labour is provided. Employees and workers are generally taxed at the highest level – they pay higher national insurance themselves and employers pay national insurance on them. Whereas the self-employed pay a much lower level of tax. “There is a widespread misconception that somehow the lower taxes the self-employed pay is due to the fact that they don’t get the benefits you get from employers like holiday and sick pay. But the reality is that holiday and sick pay are not things that the government provide – employers provide this. “It is not the job of the government to compensate people for the fact they have made a decision to go self-employed.” Taylor adds: “The real issue here is access to public services and state benefits. Self-employed people get more than 99 per cent of the same benefits as people who are employed – they only miss out on paid parental leave and earningsrelated jobseeker’s allowance, which are very small parts in the overall expenditure of the state. “So over time we should move towards a more consistent and fairer way of taxing labour. We think to do that will take a long time and it will be very difficult, but we do say the chancellor was September 2017
right earlier in the year when suggested increasing national insurance contributions for the selfemployed. “However, we do need to explore ways of tackling the much more pronounced difference at the lower end of the self-employed spectrum and reduce that gap. For example; if I employed a gardener to sweep leaves in my garden – I would implicitly pay 13.8 per cent extra for that labour if they were employed by a company to cover the cost of the employer’s national insurance than I would if they were self-employed.” It has now been two months since the review came out, so how does Taylor feel it has been received? So far, the RSA boss believes the review has been received “pretty well”.
“Organisations like IPSE can play an important role. They can help us to know more about what is going on, because there are certain areas where our knowledge isn’t very strong” “It’s difficult when you dedicate a large part of your life to something, to be objective about it,” he says. “But broadly speaking, the more people that have actually read the report, the more they come at it with a reasonably objective perspective – and tend to be more positive. “The people who are less positive are those who haven’t bothered to read the report or who
come at it from a very ideological perspective.” From when the report was commissioned to when it was published, there has been a general election and we now have a minority government. On the one hand, this could prove a challenge when it comes to implementing the recommendations, but Taylor believes there are things in the report which have cross-party support. “There are some things that ought to have general support, such as every worker and employee should get a basic statement of their terms and conditions in plain English on the first day of their engagement,” he says. “And the idea that casual workers must be told they have an entitlement to holiday pay and they have the option of rolling that holiday pay up.” He went on to point out that some of his recommendations are already out of date, which include limiting employment tribunal fees. Now that the review is over, what’s next? Firstly, according to Taylor, who is currently learning to play the guitar “badly”, there is a danger of what he calls “uberisation” of the economy and this should be addressed. “It is not particularly helpful that there is a kind of obsession in the media with the gig economy and firms such as Uber and Deliveroo. Although these companies are important as they are very visible and have a distinctive model – if you take away the technology, it is not that different from models that have existed before. “There are some people arguing that this model could be explored in the retail sector and this is where the issues can arise.” According to Taylor, “this is where organisations like IPSE can play an important role”. “They can help us to know more about what is going on, because there are certain areas where our knowledge isn’t very strong.” He finishes off by saying: “You [IPSE] should keep your feet on the ground in terms of the change that is likely to happen. There is a tendency at the moment to say that everything is going to be utterly transformed by technology in the next few years. “I’m not so sure that is the case and I think it is important that we focus on what is really happening.” So, has Matthew Taylor scored a winner with his report on the changing face of employment or has the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed decided he’s well offside? We’ll need extra time for that result!
Prime minister Theresa May speaks at the launch of the Taylor Review
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When will the Government really figure out the employment figures? By Patrick Grady
nemployment levels have fallen to the lowest level since 1975 – a year when Bruce Springsteen released Born to Run, Manchester United gained promotion from England’s Second Division and the UK entered the European Economic Community. But, what is more remarkable is the astonishing correlation between the lowering unemployment figure and the rise in self-employment. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only 4.3 per cent of 18-64-year-olds are unemployed. In the last year, 400,000 more people have found work. This is despite fears of contraction in economic capacity and shaky investment forecasts. In recent years, political commentators have disputed the rise of zero-hour contracts and some have speculated that these hold the secret behind the UK’s impressive employment growth. However, there are 20,000 fewer workers employed on such a basis, compared with last year. So, what has been the source of the growth? ONS data indicates a staggering correlation between a decrease in unemployment and a rise in self-employment. The figures show unemployment has fallen by one million people in the last seven years, while self-employment has risen by almost the same number.
If you consider self-employment to be a sector of employment in its own right, it would have ‘employed’ more than twice as many people as any other sector – the equivalent to just over half a million people. In recent years, the media has focused on the growth of the gig economy – characterised by the likes of Uber – as the source of the rising self-employment. But actually, skilled professionals have been central to the growth. Figures from the ONS show that from 2011 to 2016, one of the fastest-growing occupations was media professionals (109.3%). Other notable increases were IT professionals (67.6%) and science professionals (58.9%). In contrast, the number of taxi drivers has only grown by 15.4 per cent. While the technology of apps like Uber has certainly injected competition into the industry, private-hire cabs are nothing new. They have been around for decades, and drivers have always been self-employed. The option of self-employment has seemingly catered for a rising number of skilled professionals in the UK. More generally, it is not a trend unique to the UK. IPSE research shows that from 2008 to 2015, the population of independent professionals in countries such as France and the Netherlands grew by 70 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. A particular stand-out performer was Latvia, which saw a staggering 192 per cent growth. Across Europe, the number of independent professionals rose by 24 per cent. This suggests there could be a
structural shift in the make-up of the modern economy – one that incorporates an increasing ratio of self-employed workers. The growth in self-employment has been quietly propping up the UK labour market. The sector has grown far more quickly than that of any sector of employment, and has catered for a huge rise in skilled workers in the UK. However, Jordan Marshall, IPSE’s policy development manager believes that the government is yet to recognise this. “Today, there are almost five million self-employed people in the UK – that’s one in seven workers. But in many ways the government still seems to struggle with this new reality, viewing rising self-employment with suspicion. Many freelancers worry that policy makers do not understand the challenges they face. This leads to ill-judged policies, particularly around taxation – proposals to hike national insurance contributions and damaging changes to IR35 are prime examples,” he said. Jordan pointed out that, while the review undertaken by Matthew Taylor was certainly a positive step, it did not go far enough in proposing solutions for the self-employed, particularly over issues such as employment status or saving enough for retirement. He added: “The government must look to really get to grips with these challenges. It must ensure self-employment remains a positive choice for all and these enterprising individuals can deliver their full potential for the UK economy.”
Uber driving ahead with change Drivers using the Uber app can now accept tips from passengers and decline jobs thanks to a host of new features launched by the taxi-service giant. IPSE has welcomed the move, which brings greater clarity over partner-drivers’ self-employed status. Over the past 12 months, Uber has engaged with thousands of drivers – over the phone, in their office and at roundtable discussions – in a bid to improve the experience of drivers using their app. Last month, the firm rolled out additional benefits, which give more control and security to partner-drivers. September 2017
Most drivers use the Uber app for the rewarding lifestyle of being one’s own boss, according to the company’s own research. The new features include an in-app tipping service, two-minute cancellation fees and generally a “fairer rating system”. Uber will also now penalise passengers who arrive late to the pick-up point or do not show up at all. From two minutes after arriving, riders will have to pay an extra 20p per minute they keep their driver waiting or a cancellation fee if they cancel after two minutes of ordering the taxi. They will also have the option to decline rides
now and have control over their destination and arrival time preferences. The news comes following the announcement of IPSE’s partnership with Uber in April this year, which saw the membership association continue to represent the growing and diverse nature of the self-employment sector. In a statement, Jo Bertram, UK general manager at Uber, said: “We will continue to listen to both drivers and riders on further improvements we can make. “More changes are on the way – watch this space.” 13
Justice reigns supreme thanks to employment verdict IPSE backs scrapping of the fees, which denied countless self-employed people justice By Tom Hayward
Unison stand victorious outside Supreme Court
n a landmark legal victory, the Supreme Court has ruled that employment tribunal fees are “unlawful”, and in doing so reinstated a centuries-old right to justice that was first outlined in the Magna Carta. The decision to introduce the fees – of up to £1,200 – in 2013 was labelled immoral and illiberal, and their severity was enough for the court’s seven judges to rule unanimously that they had become as obstructive to justice as no employment tribunal process at all. “It’s the biggest victory in a court in British employment history,” a triumphant Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the trade body who led the campaign, said. “Access to justice is so important, and is why Unison was determined to stand up to the government to get tribunal fees scrapped. Unison was not simply pursuing a legal case but also a moral one. “Everyone deserves the right to have their 14
case heard, and there should never be a barrier to justice based on ability or willingness to pay arbitrary fees. “Access to the courts has been a cornerstone of the justice system in England since Magna Carta. Yet the introduction of tribunal fees threatened to undermine this centuries-old right. When tribunal fees were introduced, they tipped the balance in favour of unfair employers and away from vulnerable workers.” With two of the most prevalent causes for claims being unpaid wages and employment rights, the ruling is of particular significance for the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed workforce – many of whom have had to rely on costly tribunals to achieve clarity over their employment status. In announcing their introduction in 2013, without significant parliamentary scrutiny, the coalition government and the then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling had hoped to reduce the number of “malicious and weak cases”.
The result, however, saw a 70 per cent reduction in the number of cases brought forward, and Unison said the fees prevented workers with genuine cases accessing justice, rather than reducing the number of “malicious cases”. Put simply, they were unaffordable. And Unison – who first lost tribunals in the Court of Appeal, before July’s victory – said their campaign had been motivated as much by its moral implications as its legal ones. The judges eventually ruled that the fees contravened both UK and EU law and ordered the government to refund £32 million to those who had paid to bring their cases to tribunal – a decision greeted with great celebration from those gathered outside the iconic façade of the neo-gothic court building. “People don’t choose to go to tribunals; they go because they have to,” Prentis continued. “Therefore, adding in the extra hurdle of fees made the whole process even more challenging ipsemagazine.co.uk
for those facing ill treatment by their bosses. Fees were set as high as £1,200 – more than a month’s salary for low-paid employees. It is not hard to see why working people, especially those on low incomes, were deterred by such expense. “As the Supreme Court pointed out, in reality, it was genuine cases that were affected – the type of claims employment tribunals were put in place to support. “They ruled that fees should be affordable for all. This result brings to an end the cruel employment tribunal fees regime, and ensures that no one else is ever forced to pay crippling fees just to access basic justice. “It’s the most significant judicial intervention in the history of British employment and constitutional law, because it overturns legislation explicitly designed to deny working people their rights.” In the absence of a statutory definition of self-employment, something IPSE called for in its submission to the Taylor Review, there has been long-term and widespread confusion surrounding employment status. “We were delighted with the Supreme Court’s judgement,” IPSE’s director of policy Simon McVicker added. “Since their introduction, countless numbers of self-employed people have been denied access to justice because of prohibitive fees. July’s decision brings us closer to ending this iniquity. “However, there are still concerns for freelancers who have to rely on tribunals to achieve clarity over their employment status – they’re costly, time-consuming and can make going about day-to-day business very challenging. “A statutory definition of self-employment would end this confusion, and improve working conditions.” With the way IR35 now operates in the public sector and the widespread confusion surrounding employment status it has caused, the confidence that contractors have access to a fair and affordable hearing cannot be undermined. “This decision has implications for the government’s whole approach to justice,” Chris
Wilford of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, told IPSE. “In terms of IPSE members, this goes right the way from how their dispute is viewed in the first place. Is it a contractual dispute or an employment dispute? “If they are going to have to go down the route of litigation in the courts, they need to know that they’re not going to be penalised for seeking justice and they do have that access to redress. This decision ensures they have confidence that this option remains open to them.”
“Since their introduction, countless numbers of selfemployed people have been denied access to justice because of prohibitive fees. July’s decision brings us closer to ending this iniquity”
The ruling cannot prevent employer exploitation outright. However, it does send a significant message of fairness and progression, and with the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon, access to justice and clarity is as important now as ever before. As Lord Reed, one of the seven judges who presided over the case remarked – justice is not an embryonic right but one decreed almost 1,000 years ago. And now, four years later, justice is served.
Addison Lee faces defeat in court over cycle couriers’ status
Minicab firm Addison Lee loses battle in court over the status of its cycle couriers, who should have been treated as employees, not “independent contractors”. The London Central Employment Tribunal ruled that the company had unlawfully failed to provide holiday pay or the national minimum wage The tribunal ruled that cycle courier Chris Gascoigne should be classified as a “worker” rather than “independent contractor”. Addison Lee is the latest to face defeat – similar verdicts have been seen in cases brought against Uber, CitySprint, Excel and eCourier. The judge, Joanna Wade, said that Gascoigne should be guaranteed holiday pay and the national minimum wage. The judgment was based on the facts that Gascoigne had been issued an Addison Lee branded bag and shirt, answered to a central controller and used company IT devices, which did not have a ‘decline’ button when a job was offered. Gascoigne was asked to sign a contract which stated: “You agree that you are an independent contractor and that nothing in this agreement shall render you an employee, worker, agent or partner of Addison Lee.” The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain supported Gascoigne’s case. The ruling came just a week after employment tribunal fees were dubbed as being unlawful and an obstruction to justice. “We note the tribunal’s verdict, which we will carefully review,” a spokesman for the minicab firm said. “Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we have always had, and are committed to maintaining a flexible and fair relationship with cycle couriers.” This month Uber will begin its own two-day appeal against the ruling made by the London Employment Tribunal last year in favour of two of their partner-drivers, stating that they should be considered workers rather than selfemployed. The initial ruling last October claimed the drivers should be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage. The case begins on 27 September. 15
Freelancing: is it a risky business? IPSE surveys members to find out whether the rewards really do outweigh the risks of going self-employed. By Kayte Jenkins
ecoming a freelancer can be both exciting and scary. Exciting because of the prospect of freedom and control. But scary because of the risks you inevitably open yourself up to as a freelancer. The risks are great enough that if you’re a freelancer already, you’ve probably asked yourself countless times by now whether it’s actually worth it. But if you’re just starting out or thinking of making the leap into self-employment, it’s important to be aware of the possible rewards, but also the potential risks in advance. To help guide budding freelancers, IPSE has conducted a survey of its members to find out about their biggest concerns and whether the rewards really do outweigh the risks.
WHY TAKE THE RISK?
So, why do people take the risks? Experts aren’t entirely clear on this, and there are many different theories. One popular view is that, by and large, people are willing to take risks because they anticipate significant rewards. Starting and running your own freelance business can certainly be extremely rewarding. It is well documented that many people decide to go freelance out of a desire for greater control over their careers, and past research by IPSE has shown that working for yourself can have a very
positive impact on personal wellbeing. This most recent study set out to discover what exactly it is about freelancing that makes it so rewarding. Four out of five respondents said the most satisfying elements were not having to deal with office politics (82%), and having the freedom to choose projects they actually want to work on (81%). As well as giving people the freedom to pick and choose their projects, freelancing also
One of the biggest risks freelancers fear is that they will not be financially prepared for retirement significantly increases earning potential. In fact, 79 per cent of IPSE’s respondents said this was another of the most rewarding aspects of freelancing. This correlates with the results of IPSE’s quarterly Confidence Index, which has consistently shown that UK freelancers earn up to 2.5 times more than employees in equivalent roles.
The survey also showed that not having to deal with company bureaucracy and having greater variety of work are two more of the most rewarding aspects of being a freelancer. From this perspective – as a career free from bureaucracy and filled with professional freedom and financial prosperity – it’s hardly surprising some people just dive straight into freelancing without worrying about risks and potential challenges. But freelancing isn’t just easy rewards: there are risks and challenges too, which you need to consider and prepare for.
WHAT SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR?
One of the biggest risks freelancers fear is that they will not be financially prepared for their retirement. In fact, 69 per cent of IPSE’s respondents said this was among their biggest concerns about working independently. The state of the current pension system and how it works for the self-employed was also a significant concern for almost half of those surveyed (46%). Many of the pension options on offer at the moment just don’t work for the self-employed because they don’t take into account key factors such as fluctuating incomes and periods without work. As a result, many self-employed people find
Four out of five respondents said that the most satisfying elements of freelancing are:
Not having to deal with office politics
Freedom to choose the projects they want to work on
Increases their earning potential
79% *Respondents could select multiple responses.
A rewarding way of working...
themselves struggling to save for later life. Another of the main risks for freelancers is being investigated by HMRC (65%). Not only do HMRC investigations cause considerable anxiety for freelancers, they are also a significant financial burden. Many freelancers (60%) also fear not being able to work as a result of illness or injury. As a freelancer, you aren’t entitled to either holiday or sick pay, so it will pay – literally – to factor in downtime and non-working periods when you negotiate your rates.
The more you understand the challenges of freelancing, the less likely you are to be hit by nasty surprises IPSE’s survey also showed that for many freelancers (60%), the availability of work is another major concern. The good news, however, is that IPSE’s Confidence Index has consistently shown high activity in the freelance sector, so perhaps this is more of a perception than a reality.
of freelancers feel the rewards they get from self-employment outweigh the risks
Biggest risks according to freelancers:
69% Not being financially prepared for retirement
65% Being investigated by HMRC
IS IT ALL WORTH IT?
More and more people are following their dreams and going freelance, braving the risks to pursue the rewards. And with more people than ever before breaking out of the nine-to-five grind to become masters of their own destiny, the big question is: are the rewards actually worth the risks? Well, most freelancers seem to think so. The vast majority (83%) of those surveyed said they felt the rewards they get from self-employment outweigh the risks. Clearly, even fears about retirement savings and HMRC investigations can’t overshadow the advantages of having full control of your career. Freelancing will always involve a degree of risk, but based on these results, perhaps the biggest risk of all is not taking one.
Not being able to work as a result of illness or injury
46% The state of the current pension system
PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION
The more you understand the challenges of freelancing, the less likely you are to be hit by nasty surprises. There are bound to be bumps in the road, but by preparing for potential disruptions, you will put yourself in a much better position to overcome them and enjoy a genuinely rewarding freelance career.
17 *Respondents could select multiple responses.
Southampton cruises to victory as UK’s top city for the self-employed Freelancers in Southampton earn nearly £40,000 a year on average. By Tristan Grove
outhampton tops the list as the UK’s number one city for the self-employed, ahead of London, a study revealed. Intuit QuickBooks questioned 5,010 self-employed people from across the UK about a range of issues, from working hours and mean income to holiday and general life satisfaction. Drilling down the responses from different cities, Southampton came out top, followed by London, Edinburgh, Brighton and Sheffield. The study found that freelancers in Southampton had not only some of the highest earnings in the UK – an average of £39,024 per annum – they also worked the fewest hours: an average of 26 per week. Around 83 per cent of Southampton respondents also said their overall life satisfaction was as good as or better than salaried workers. So, what makes life satisfaction among freelancers in Southampton – and across the UK – so high? Well, when asked about the biggest advantages of working independently, Southampton’s freelancers said having control over their own schedules (79%), having more flexibility to work on their own terms (69%) and being their own boss (68%). Despite the notoriously high cost of living in south-east England, its cities actually dominated Intuit’s rankings, with Southampton, London and
Brighton all taking top five positions. Looking beyond Southampton and the south-east, to the wider national picture, Intuit’s findings actually echo IPSE’s own research into life satisfaction among freelancers. A study by IPSE, released earlier this year, found that 84 per cent of freelancers across the UK are satisfied with their lifestyle and way of working. Similarly, Intuit’s study found that between 81 and 85 per cent of freelancers in their top five cities felt more than or at least as satisfied as salaried workers. Most of Intuit’s respondents also said “their financial status is the same or better than being a salaried worker”, with the figures ranging from 65 per cent in Brighton to 71 per cent in Southampton. Again, this tallies with IPSE’s own Freelancer Confidence Index, which has consistently found that freelancers earn up to 2.5 times more than employees in equivalent roles. But it’s not just about the money; Intuit’s study found that higher incomes does not necessarily correlate with life satisfaction. In fact, in Sheffield, which came out as the fifth-best place to be self-employed, freelancers claimed to have the highest level of overall life satisfaction, despite having the third-lowest mean income of any city in the UK – £24,791. More people are choosing to work for ipsemagazine.co.uk
themselves now, not just because it generally brings in more income, but because of the freedom, independence and the increase in overall satisfaction. Dominic Allon, Intuit Europe’s vice president and managing director said in a statement: “The surge in self-employment has been fuelled by demand for a better quality of life.” And, he continues, it just so happens that Southampton’s freelancers have managed to achieve that with “the best balance to earn more, work less and be happier”. It’s certainly not just about Southampton, however. Suneeta Johal, IPSE’s head of research, education and training said: “This interesting and invaluable study shows that right across the UK – from Edinburgh to Southampton – it’s possible to enjoy a high quality of life as a freelancer. “And not only that; it also confirms what our own research has suggested: that wherever they are in the UK, freelancers and the self-employed can enjoy a level of financial security and life satisfaction that is at least as high as – and in many cases higher than – salaried employees.”
Top five cities to be self-employed: 1. Southampton
mean yearly earnings
mean yearly earnings
mean yearly earnings
mean yearly earnings
mean yearly earnings
hours worked per week
hours worked per week
hours worked per week
hours worked per week
hours worked per week
people who said their life satisfaction is the same or better than being a salaried worker people who said their financial status is the same or better than being a salaried worker
Dark clouds on the horizon as freelancers’ confidence plummets
Co-working usage doubles The use of co-working spaces has doubled since Brexit, according to research from Free Office Finder. From July 2016 to June 2017, 12.4 per cent of people using office space chose coworking spaces, compared with six per cent the previous year. The figure is predicted to reach 21 per cent by 2020.
By Inna Yordanova
reelancers’ confidence in the economy and their businesses hit a record low in the second quarter of 2017, according to IPSE’s quarterly Confidence Index. The outlook for the next 12 months shows that just 19 per cent of freelancers express confidence in their business’s performance. Alarmingly, over half of all respondents (52%) said confidence in their business for the next 12 months has decreased. Two-thirds of freelancers also expressed grave concerns about the wider economy, with 69 per cent of respondents predicting a major slowdown.
WHAT’S PROMPTED SUCH PESSIMISM?
Two factors stand out as significant drags on freelancer confidence; government policy and Brexit. Four out of five freelancers believe that government fiscal and regulatory policies serve as the main constraints on their freelance business performance. This can be linked to the roll-out of changes to the taxation of freelancers working in the public sector. Because of the damage this policy has caused, extending it to the private sector would provoke significant negative sentiment towards the government. While freelancers have always believed that leaving the EU will have negative consequences for the UK, this view is now more widespread than ever. According to the most recent IPSE report, more than half of the respondents remain convinced that Brexit will contribute to a decline in the economy. With the negotiations now in full swing, it has become clear that Britain will probably cease to be a member of the European single market. These events might have increased the level of
pessimism about the economy, considering one in ten freelancers regularly takes contracts abroad.
The declining confidence among freelancers may also be driven by the anticipated rise in their business costs. In fact the vast majority – 92 per cent – of freelancers are expecting their business costs to rise. This might be related to the continued weakness in sterling, which directly affects most freelancers who personally cover business costs such as accountancy, marketing and equipment. As a result, the expected drop in business performance may not be just because of the slowing UK economy, but also because of the expectation that higher business costs will squeeze profit margins.
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE
In contrast to the low confidence levels, freelancers’ day rates reached the highest level reported in this survey, amounting to an almost five per cent increase since the first quarter of 2017. However, the majority of respondents (55%) said that the current day rates are not sustainable. This might be associated with the inflationary pressures on businesses and consumers, which remained higher than average during this quarter. The demand for freelance work has also remained persistently high, with freelancers on assignment 83 per cent of their time. One small consolation is that the main negative drivers are all within the control of the government and, if addressed, could and should help alleviate concerns. Successful Brexit negotiations and reassuring freelancers of their tax status would also go some way to increasing waning confidence.
Main factors lowering business performance in Q2 2017 81%
Government regulation relating to hiring freelancers
Government’s fiscal policy relating to freelancing
NEISR issues inflation warning The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) made positive predictions about growth in the remainder of 2017, but issued warnings that inflation will hit three per cent by the end of the year. NEISR’s inflation prediction could spell disproportionate trouble for the UK’s freelance workforce due to their significant overheads, such as equipment and travel.
Record-breaking employment statistics Employment figures have reached record levels, not seen since 1975, while the number of self-employed people reached 4.85 million, according to ONS statistics. The number of self-employed increased by 88,000 compared with the same period last year. “The UK Labour Market continues to show its strength and has maintained its leading position in Europe,” IPSE’s senior policy adviser Jonathan Lima-Matthews said.
iContract launch new platform iContract has launched a new online platform, which connects contractors with recruiters in an attempt to simplify and quicken the process of finding work. Contractors are matched to assignments tailored to their profile and unique preferences while recruiters are matched with recommended contractors, helping fast-track the candidate search process, and limiting the time wasted looking through CVs.
Outcome of the EU referendum
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BUSINESS & FINANCE
Is it time for universities to ditch the word ‘entrepreneur’? Lydia Wakefield gives an overview of the debates and highlights at this year’s IEEC.
IPSE attends the Gala dinner at the IEEC
e often hear that freelancers and self-employed professionals feel they do not receive enough education from their university about this way of working. Although a number of universities continue to increase their level of support, many students are still not accessing it. Each year enterprise and entrepreneurship educators from across the world gather at the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference (IEEC) to discuss and debate issues to do with enterprise education. This year, it was hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University and the theme was ‘Enabling Enterprise for All’ – a perfect platform to continue the discussion about enabling enterprise education for budding independent professionals. A key highlight was a debate on whether “we need to stop using the ‘E’ words (entrepreneurship and enterprise) with our students”, in which speakers discussed whether the terminology is understood and accessible for all. The problem is that not all independent professionals consider themselves entrepreneurs, even though many entrepreneurial attributes are required to work in this capacity. Linguistics specialist and enterprise educator Gary Wood, from the University of Sheffield, argued that entrepreneurship and enterprise education are important, but the terminology is not always relatable for different stakeholders including many students. Instead, he suggested that educators should tailor their approach to different groups to ensure students and other stakeholders engage with the support that is available through their institutions. This was IPSE’s third year attending, meeting and hearing examples of good practice from a September 2017
wide range of universities. There was a noticeable increase in the appreciation of freelancing as a valuable career opportunity for students, as well as stronger recognition that young people are increasingly choosing to work this way in a broad range of professional fields. This was particularly evident during the ‘Enterprise for 21st Century Working Lives’ Pecha Kucha workshop. The University of Sheffield, Newcastle University and Teesside University demonstrated some projects they have developed to engage medical, foreign language, linguistics and
Dragon’s Den has influenced many universities to run entrepreneurship competitions maths students and to enhance their enterprise skills. Each of the universities recognised that students from different academic disciplines pursue freelance and self-employed careers, and the importance of tailoring their support. Whilst Dragon’s Den has influenced many universities to run entrepreneurship competitions, we recognise that these are not always tailored towards students who are likely to go freelance. Catherine Brentnall, founder of Ready Unlimited and Professor Nigel Culkin of the University of Hertfordshire, shared the rationale and outcomes of Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK) - a funded research project on how to expand a pedagogic repertoire beyond the ‘Compete and Pitch’ model, and how detrimental it could be to students’ perception of enterprise. It is also important to ensure students have
positive introductions to enterprise education. Dr Kelly Smith of Coventry University highlighted key ice-breaker tasks to engage and inspire students who are new to enterprise through her workshop. Activities included everything from‘speed networking’ and the ‘untangling task’, promoting collaboration and teambuilding, to the ‘room task’ which encouraged participants to recognise they were surrounded by enterprise and that it didn’t have to be a big novel invention. IPSE is dedicated to promoting and raising awareness about the importance of education on self-employment and freelancing opportunities among students and young people. Hosting one of the last workshops of the busy conference, we were delighted to have a packed room of entrepreneurship educators keen to explore how we can better enable students entering the flexible workforce. We provided them with an understanding of the rising numbers of young people pursuing flexible ways of working before introducing IPSE’s Young Freelancer of the Year, Nisha Haq, and digital nomad Mark Williams, via AppearIn, an online live video conferencing platform. Each of them shared their professional journeys, the level of support they received at university and suggestions on how institutions can better prepare students who are starting their careers by either embracing the gig economy or embarking on freelance and portfolio careers. It is important to ensure that the next generation of entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals – irrespective of their educational background, subject area, and professional ambitions – are knowledgeable, prepared and confident enough to pursue their chosen way of working. Academics, enterprise professionals and careers advisors across the UK are continually developing new ways to engage and educate their students. IPSE continues to work with educational institutions to ensure that students pursuing freelancing and self-employment are as prepared as those intending to grow their business start-ups.
Lydia Wakefield gives a talk on students entering the flexible workforce
Making social media work for you and your business Supporting the award-winning book â€˜Relax! Itâ€™s Only Social Mediaâ€™, the Social Media Planner 2018 is the ultimate companion for getting results from social media. Buy now from luanwise.co.uk
Donâ€™t forget to visit the IPSE website events page for my monthly webinars, packed full of top tips for social media and moreâ€Ś
Life is sweet… Six years as a freelancer
ach wedding anniversary has a different meaning and gift associated with it, and September 2011 was my sixth anniversary of becoming a freelancer. Apparently your sixth anniversary is when things start getting sweeter! So, taking that to mean it was cake o’clock, I took some time out to reflect back on my freelance career. I left my desk on 31 August 2011, but it was business as usual on 1 September because my previous employer was, in fact, my first client. Here’s what happened over the next few years…
2012 In 2012 the opportunity came to speak at events. I said ‘Yes’, and it’s probably the best decision I’ve made. I’d already presented at internal meetings but this was different. The audience didn’t know me and I wasn’t talking about planned marketing campaigns: I was sharing opinion and insight. I was petrified, but the buzz afterwards was worth it.
2013 I got married... in Central Park, New York. And no one else knew about it (not even my husband) until just days before!
2014 I discovered the power of publishing on LinkedIn. As August is always a quiet month, I decided to write an article called Don’t let social media replace face-to-face conversation. I posted
it and almost immediately my notifications set alight. The views were insane… it was being shared across LinkedIn and Twitter. Then I got a message asking for a phone call…. could I deliver that blog as a talk? Again, I said ‘Yes’.
2015 “Hi Luan, We are LinkedIn’s PR agency in the UK and wanted to get in touch to let you know that you’ve been selected as one of the marketing/advertising/ PR sector’s most engaged women on LinkedIn….” The same week I was featured in Insider Magazine’s ‘42 Under 42’ listing! I also got an email about a project from Royal Mail, and ended up commuting from Cheltenham to London each week for four months.
2016 Now for the best InMail. “Hi Luan, I’m the content manager for marketing courses at Lynda.com…” Auditions, Skype calls, emails, documents… and I received my contract in May. I was a LinkedIn Learning Instructor – with a producer!
From June to September I had weekly Skype calls to discuss and rehearse scripts. In October I travelled to California to record the voiceovers. I was also writing my first book, Relax! It’s Only Social Media. The first copies arrived the night before leaving for the US and it was officially launched in November at the closing party of Bristol’s Social Media Week.
2017 My first LinkedIn Learning course – Social Media Marketing ROI – was published midJanuary. Then I got signed for two more! So, more writing and another US trip. In May, some amazing news about my book: “CONGRATULATIONS! It is our great pleasure to inform you that you are a Winner in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.”
I’m writing more and creating more online and LinkedIn Learning courses. I’ve also just announced a follow-up to my book for 2018, so I’m working hard to get that ready to dispatch. After six years as a freelancer, what have I learned? That it’s not easy. It’s not just ‘another job’. I need to not just do the work, but also think and act like a business owner. I need to look at the numbers, do admin, manage my time, keep on learning and – occasionally – remember to take a day off. If I knew six years ago where I’d be today, would I do anything differently? I don’t think so. I say ‘Yes’, then worry about it later… and that’s stood me in great stead. My top tip for freelancers? Network, network, network. My network is my most valuable business asset. I work hard to keep posting updates on social media, send messages and meet people for coffee, no matter how busy I am. I believe that’s why I’ve been consistently busy for six years.
BUSINESS & FINANCE
Nine steps to kickstarting your freelance career All you need to know when setting yourself up as an independent professional for the first time. By Jyoti Rambhai
tepping into the freelance world for the first time can be daunting – even when you think you’ve got everything covered, how can you be sure? And even if you’re a fully-fledged freelancer, are you doing everything correctly? Here’s a taster from our new guide to freelancing to get you on track.
There are many different ways of working as an independent professional, and each has its own challenges and risks. But the key thing to remember when you start working for yourself is that you are running a business, even if it’s just you and you alone. The first thing to decide is how you will refer to yourself. This might depend on the sector you work in, but often it’s just about personal preference. Independent workers can go by: freelancer, contractor, consultant, independent professional, interim, self-employed and business owner.
Now you understand what it means to be an independent professional, it’s time to get going. There are nine basic steps to get started. 1. Understand employment status This is important because it determines not only how you set up your business, but also whether you are treated as ‘employed’ or ‘self-employed’ for tax purposes. In theory, it should be simple: if you work for yourself, you’re self-employed. Unfortunately, in practice it’s a little more complicated, and HMRC will use the specific details of your engagements to decide your status. 2. Decide on a trading structure Before you start getting work, you need to establish a trading structure and let the taxman know what you’re doing. There are five main structures you can use: —— Limited company – you are employed by your own company —— Sole trader – you are self-employed —— Partnership – you are self-employed, but there are others in the business too —— Limited Liability Partnership – you are self-employed along with others, but have limited liabilities —— Umbrella company – you are employed by another company 26
8. Create a professional workspace
3. Source an accountant
Although it’s possible to do your own accounts, it’s often a good idea to get yourself an accountant. Not only will they save you a lot of time and hassle; they can also give you legal ways to help save on your taxes. And it will show the authorities you’re taking steps to comply with the tax rules.
Make sure you draw a clear line between your workspace and your living space – especially if you’re working from home. Otherwise you’ll find it difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance. One way to draw this line is by getting yourself a room or study area with a proper desk and chair. You might also want to consider co-working spaces.
4. Register for VAT
Technically, you don’t have to register for VAT until you reach the threshold for that tax year. The current amount is £85,000 for 2017/18. However, it can help to register for VAT before you reach that, as this will allow you to claim back VAT on goods and services for your business. So if you spend a lot on VAT-added goods and services, this could be a big saving. 5. Set up a cloud based book-keeping system By law, you have to keep a comprehensive record of all business-related paperwork, including receipts, invoices, bank statements, paying-in slips, business diaries, mileage logs and minutes from board meetings. Update your records continuously, and keep paperwork for at least seven years. You’ll also need to keep certain documents – like title deeds – for 12 years. 6. Get a business bank account No matter what trading structure you choose and what sector you’re in, if you’re working for yourself, you need a business bank account. That’s because it’s vital you keep your business and personal finances separate: mixing up the two can lead to confusion – particularly when it comes to tax.
7. Get connected
Creating a business plan will help focus your mind on your goals. It will also be important when you’re pitching to clients.
When you’ve got the basics sorted, it’s time to land your first gig. Start by doing market research and identifying your niche. This will be particularly important when you start talking to potential clients. Use social media and networking events to find potential clients, and make sure you have a good portfolio, CV and a strong business brand to win work from them. And if you want to get started quickly, recruitment agencies are a good option too.
Once you have found your client, seal the deal in writing before you do any work – that way you can be sure of getting paid on time. Use a contract for this, and make sure it clearly sets out your employment status. Next is delivering the project. Maintain a good working relationship with your client by setting clear goals and having regular reviews. And when it comes to actually getting paid, you don’t have to invoice the client right at the end: you could use a 14-day term or even have them pay 50 per cent upfront.
With a few projects under your belt, you may feel like you are in the swing of it all and know how it works. This is a good time to take a step back and look at what you can tweak to help manage your clients and get ahead in your career.
Get yourself a work phone and email, and don’t use your personal ones. Not only will you be able to claim your work phone against tax, it will also give you a better work/life balance and a more professional image.
Even when you’re just starting out, you need a clear exit strategy ready. Most likely this won’t involve selling your company: instead, you’ll probably just have to call HMRC, tell them you’re no longer trading and pay up your taxes. If you have a limited company, however, and there are funds in the business, you’ll need to decide how to take them out. You can remove them as: —— Salary/dividends —— Capital —— A company pension contribution
For the full Guide to Freelancing, please visit ipse.co.uk
On a mission for recognition By Tristan Grove
Few sectors are more closely associated with freelancing than the creative industries. In fact, almost half of the people working in the creative industries are self-employed. But despite their prominence in the UK labour force, successive governments have done surprisingly little to support creative freelancers. That’s why the recent report by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) is so important. Titled Creative Freelancers, it’s a study of 700 selfemployed people working in the creative industries, which ends with a set of key ‘recommendations to improve the working lives of this undervalued part of the workforce’. For IPSE, one of the key sections of the report was its examination of the epidemic of unpaid work in the creative industries. Of the 700 creative freelancers interviewed for the study, 65 per cent said they had worked for free in the past and, worse, 80 per cent said they thought unpaid work was normal. In fact, IPSE’s own research last year found that the average creative freelancer loses about £5,400 a year through unpaid work. As the CIF report explained, unpaid work and other problems such as late payment persist mainly because of a lack of recognition. Neither government nor industry do enough to openly recognise the vital role that both creative freelancers and the selfemployed in general play in the UK economy. One of the most direct ways of gaining recognition for creative freelancers and the self-employed is ensuring they are properly represented in government. IPSE has already successfully campaigned for the creation of the new small business commissioner post. But the CIF report suggests a slightly different approach: making “self-employment, across all sectors, part of a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministerial brief”. With the Taylor Review still making waves across government and industry, IPSE and the CIF agree: it’s now more important than ever to raise the profile of the self-employed, both through government representation and by simply highlighting their contribution at every opportunity. It is essential to secure recognition for the self-employed, not just because it’s fair, but as it’s the most effective way to end the pernicious culture of unpaid work and ensure freelancers across all industries enjoy the respect they deserve.
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BUSINESS & FINANCE
Cyber-security: How to protect your clients and your business Gemma Church details the ins and outs of how you can keep sensitive data protected as an independent professional
s a freelancer, you must take a professional approach to data protection and cyber-security. Your reputation and success depend on it, because if you open your business to any of the (ever-increasing) vulnerabilities in the online world, this could have serious implications for you and your clients. Seven million cyber-crimes are committed against the self-employed, freelancers and small businesses in the UK every year, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Dave Stallon, the FSB’s commercial and operations director, said: “It takes a small business 2.2 days to recover from a cyber-attack, and the average cost of cyber-crime against a small business is £3,000. It’s serious stuff. And there are a lot of factors to take into consideration to protect yourself against cyber-crime as a freelancer.
£3,000 average cost of cyber-crime against a small business
2.2 days time it takes for a small business to recover from a cyber-attack
UNDERSTAND THE LEGISLATION AROUND DATA
One of the key concerns for freelancers and their clients is data security and preventing unauthorised access. A spokesperson from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said: “The law requires appropriate measures to be put in place to achieve this. We’ve fined a number of organisations where simple steps have not been taken, for example; where laptops have been lost or stolen but they’ve not been encrypted.” The UK legislation in this space is changing. The current Data Protection Act (DPA) will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May, 2018. The GDPR will introduce new requirements for businesses to be transparent and accountable for how they use personal data, together with strengthened rights for individuals to access and
control data held about them, according to the ICO. The ICO spokesperson added: “Freelancers need to understand they may have responsibilities under data protection law in their own right, in addition to their liabilities under their contract with the client. “Getting data protection wrong could lead to enforcement action by the ICO as well as litigation by the client, therefore it’s vitally important freelancers take appropriate steps to understand what data protection law means for their business and what the contractual obligations to their clients are.” As a freelancer, you need to have a robust system for handling and protecting personal data. You should also know who’s given you their personal data to work with, what the purposes for using it are, and when it should be deleted. Agreeing appropriate security standards for holding and sharing personal data is also essential for keeping data safe.
“Getting data protection wrong could lead to enforcement action by the ICO” Under the new GDPR law, it will also become mandatory to report data breaches to the ICO within 72 hours. “Freelancers should take time to understand what this means for them, and what action they should take in the event they identify a data breach,” the ICO spokesperson said. The changes the GDPR will bring should not be underestimated – it’s important that you understand your specific responsibilities and act now to meet the 25 May, 2018 deadline.
APPROACH SECURITY ON A CASE-BYCASE BASIS
You should understand the policies, limitations and guidelines if you are using a company’s systems. Rob Hadfield, technical and training detector at online security advice company Get Safe Online, said: “The company should manage and control access to its systems and ensure that any freelancers understand the rules and policies in place.” According to Hadfield, it is also important that freelancers consider transmission of malware. He added: “Most companies protect their IT estate but either do not have control, or have little control, over a freelancer connecting a malwareinfested laptop to the company’s systems. “This could be damaging for both parties. This situation may be covered under a company’s BYOD
Quick cyber-security checklist
PP Understand any company- specific policies, limitations and guidelines
P P Practise good cyber-hygiene with your own equipment, including software updates and strong passwords
PP Understand the sensitivity of the data you may be using
P P Secure your devices with a screen lock
P P Use encryption technologies to further protect your devices and work
PP Safeguard your most important data by backing up to an external hard drive or a private cloud-based storage system
P P Review your insurance cover to: ——Protect yourself in the event of a breach or cyber-attack occurring as a result of client systems/protocols ——Indemnify yourself in the event of claims against you by clients for damages in the event of cyber or information security-related issues P P Do not use a public Wi-Fi network to transfer sensitive information
(Bring Your Own Device) policy.” To protect your clients’ systems and your reputation you must “ensure you practise good cyber-hygiene with your own equipment, including patching (updating software and apps – including operating systems – to get rid of bugs), keeping your antivirus software up to date and using strong passwords,” Hadfield pointed out.
STAY SAFE ON THE MOVE
The flexible nature of freelancing means you may often find yourself working in a range of locations. Luke Milner, senior technical writer at risk management and compliance company IT Governance, said: “A phone, tablet or laptop is easily lost or stolen, and Wi-Fi hotspots, which are normally a boon, can be risky to use. “Just as clients’ businesses are physically static, freelancers can often work from anywhere and while on the move. This is a modern challenge that many businesses haven’t yet come to terms with, so in these situations it falls to the freelancer to protect their clients and their reputation.” So, password protect your devices and avoid using a public Wi-Fi network to transfer sensitive information such as card details. Hackers can set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots, which can enable them to intercept sensitive information you transfer online.
The Cyber Aware website (cyberaware.gov.uk) provides a quick self-assessment questionnaire and useful information on how to protect yourself against cyber threats. The ICO also provides advice and guidance on its website ico.org.uk. And don’t forget that good security is not just about cyber-security. Physical security measures, such as ensuring you can lock IT equipment away and properly destroying paperwork that’s no longer needed are also important. Vigilance and education are vital if you want to protect both your work and your clients in the online world. 31
BUSINESS & FINANCE
How to maintain a long-distance relationship? Jason Ward explains how to make clients fall in love with you
very freelancer will eventually find themselves talking to someone who’s enduring a difficult work relationship. A colleague is a curmudgeon, or insists on fielding personal calls in an open plan workspace, or is so incompetent they might conceivably be an industrial saboteur. While listening to forlorn descriptions of office politics and flagrant milk robbery, a thought will occur: “I’m so glad I’m selfemployed”. Even non-dysfunctional offices can soon grate. In an enclosed space, the small becomes enormous: I once worked with a woman who was
infuriating chiefly because she had the temerity to wear a lanyard that jangled. It baffles me now, but back then it seemed completely reasonable for my nemesis to be a noisy ID card. The proximity of an office isn’t wholly negative, however; one of the biggest difficulties when you leave behind company environments is the struggle to maintain working relationships with people you don’t see regularly. As a freelance writer, I work with many people I have never met before. I remember chatting to a stranger at a press junket and quietly realising that they’d been commissioning me to write articles for
two years, including the interview I had come there to do. When the person you’re reporting to is a name at the bottom of an email instead of someone down the hall, your interactions narrow to the task at hand. There’s little opportunity for small talk, let alone the release valve of a post-work drink. You’re a contractor, not a colleague, and the explicitly limited nature of this exchange has repercussions not just for how you interact with each other, but also how likely you are to do so again. It was worrying to learn that my career
partially depended on someone I couldn’t identify on sight, but there are actually certain steps you can take to remotely reinforce working relationships. If your only ongoing interactions take the form of written communications to each other, those messages hold greater significance. You’re not going to lose a gig because you once wrote “Dear Karen” to a client instead of “Dear Carol”, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on you. Attention to detail is key, not just to avoid embarrassment but to provide necessary information: in replies, asked questions should be answered and raised issues should be dealt with. To achieve good communication, the best practice is to operate as considerately as possible. We’ve been conditioned to think of an informal written style as the default form of interaction in daily life, but this is often inappropriate when getting in touch with clients. You don’t need a starched collar to send a
letter, but an email is, after all, an electronic letter – and it should at least partly reflect that. It should be addressed to a person, signed off by another person (you), and contain punctuation, proper sentences, paragraphs and hopefully even upper-case letters. This is both a mark of respect and makes a message easier to read and understand. There are obviously degrees of formality here – an urgent exchange over iPhones is not the same as a scheduled reply to a brief – but whatever the situation, the formatting should be clear and the tone of voice should be warm without being
linguistically dishevelled. You’re not writing to your best friend but you are writing to a human being. You should be just as attentive elsewhere. Email signatures shouldn’t be confusingly out of date. If an attachment’s size would be unreasonable, the materials should be sent through a file transfer service or uploaded online instead. Emails should follow the lead of Labour’s current Brexit policy: as short as possible but as long as necessary. No-one wants to receive a message that could technically be classed as a novella, but equally it’s not alright to send message after message because you’re trigger-happy and keep forgetting to mention points. You also shouldn’t send an email at 17:20 on a Friday and follow it up with a chase immediately
Many of the factors that will lead to further collaboration are beyond your control, but the one thing you can do is to present yourself as someone a client will want to work with again on Monday morning when you inevitably haven’t received a reply yet. It helps to be clear with a client about when you need to hear from them, but choosing when to send a polite – and genuinely not passiveaggressive – reminder requires intuition. Are you being ignored or have they just not amassed the information they need to be able to reply yet? In every situation there is a correct and useful amount of pestering you should do, and being able to find the right level is a precious skill that develops over time. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy working relationship from a distance is, of course, also one of the most obvious ways – do everything as well as you can. You should deliver the commissioned service by the agreed deadline and it should fulfil the brief.
If there are issues, you should be able to respond within a reasonable time. If you know you can’t provide what has been asked, you shouldn’t take the job in the first place, and if you find you’re going to be late, you should be open about it instead of indulging in magical thinking. It’s not enough for the work to be excellent: the experience must be as straightforward and hasslefree as possible. Sometimes you’ll need to choose your battles and just remember you’re being contracted to do a task, which might mean deferring to someone else’s vision. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand behind your professional opinions, but try not to be a pain while doing so. Remind yourself that the people you’re corresponding with often won’t have the advantages of being self-employed. Their colleague has undone half a week’s work, their lunch keeps disappearing from the fridge and they’re being driven slowly mad by the sound of an errant lanyard. An email from you should be a constructive addition to their day, not another frustration to add to the pile. If you don’t work in claustrophobic adjacency to someone, many of the factors that will lead to further collaboration are beyond your control, but the one thing you can do is to present yourself as someone a client will want to work with again. A quick Google image search might also be a good idea.
The freelancer’s guide to… the party conferences It’s that time of year again: Christmas for policy wonks – or ‘conference season’ as some still call it. And to mark this special season, IPSE has produced a themed edition of the ‘freelancer’s guide’, turning the selfemployed spotlight on each of the key conference cities.
Manchester city centre
rom the vibrancy of its cobbled Northern Quarter to the bustling university suburb of Fallowfield, there is a feeling in Manchester that few other places in the UK can match. Born out of the warmth and inclusivity of the Mancunian locals, the city is fast becoming a go-to home for the UK’s thriving freelance community. With strong transport links to many of the country’s biggest cities, the government’s eagerness to build a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and its relative affordability compared to London, the booming city could be set to rival the capital in the coming years. Perhaps this is why this year, it will be the setting for the Conservative party conference. But if you’re a freelancer just starting out and need a base from which to work, where should you look? Nestled in the heart of the Northern Quarter is Ziferblat Edge Street, a unique pay-by-the-minute co-working space which aims to provide ultimate flexibility for its users. A self-styled home away from home, Ziferblat charges visitors eight pence per minute - six pence for the meeting rooms – which includes unlimited access to tea, coffee, cake, snacks and Wi-Fi. There is a four-hour cap, after which guests can stay as
long as they like at no extra cost. Ziferblat also boats a portfolio of events and networking groups, including Freelance Folk, run by IPSE Ambassador of the Year Katy Carlise. The group is a community of freelancers who come together every Friday to collaborate and negate the potential risks of loneliness or isolation that can come with working for yourself. Other popular co-working spaces, offering a range of monthly and weekly membership packages, include Beehive Lofts, WeWork Spinningfields and Central Working Deansgate. Freelancing can be hard work, so it is important to play hard too. With a rich musical heritage and an almost unrivalled nightlife scene, Manchester has it all. Ezra and Gil is an ideal venue for a lunchtime meeting, while Albert’s Schloss, The Liars Club or Hula Tiki are great spots for those with a later bedtime. And if football is more your thing, in City and United, Manchester has two of Europe’s biggest clubs. The only problem though? Deciding whether you are a blue or a red!
it’s the setting for the Labour Party’s muchanticipated annual conference. And no doubt Labour’s counter-cultural Momentum delegates won’t feel too out of place in Brighton’s famous alternative youth scene. Because if there’s one thing Brighton’s even more famous for than its renowned Gay Pride parade, it’s hipster youth culture. And everyone knows where there are hipsters, there are coworking spaces. Good news for freelancers thinking of moving to England’s answer to Barcelona: Brighton has more co-working spaces than you can shake a stick of rock at. Top of the pile is The Werks. Ironically named – and with a quirky aesthetic to match – The Werks has a small empire of homely, affordable workspaces across the Brighton and Hove area. Perfect for established and aspiring freelancers alike. And it’s not just the Werks: Brighton has a whole host of other top-notch co-working spaces, including Platf9rm, One Girl Band, the FuseBox and the nautically named The Skiff. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a little less commitment to begin with, Brighton is also saturated with work-friendly coffee shops, from the Mock Turtle just off the sea front, to Coffee@33 and Bread and Milk just round the corner from the train station. But while Brighton may be a haven for coffee shops and co-working spaces, there’s one thing it’s not great for: living costs.
righton’s pebbled seafront is a traditional home for party conferences and this year
The cost of renting – let alone buying – a flat in the centre of Brighton can be prohibitive. So if you’re keen on the city’s hip lifestyle, it could be worth looking at renting or buying in one of the smaller towns around Brighton – towards Peacehaven in the East or Lancing in the West, for example. But overall, it’s clear that whether you’re looking to move to Brighton or just passing through, there’s plenty for freelancers in this coastal city.
BOURNEMOUTH (LIBERAL DEMOCRATS)
to a hot desk per week, while, for more permanent freelancers, £250 gets you 24/7 for an entire month. Other popular venues include Factory Studios and the Old School House. However, if you’re looking for less of a commitment, cafés such as Espresso Kitchen and Jungle Café are popular among locals and tourists alike. Bournemouth’s pier is a must-see and with over 2,000 acres of glorious gardens and parks, when the sun shines, there are fewer better places to be. Living costs needn’t cost you an arm or a leg either, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre setting you back £700 per month, it’s considerably cheaper than Brighton and boats a similarly diverse and exciting nightlife. Smokin’ Aces Cocktail Bar and Whiskey Lounge has a comprehensive drinks menu and hosts regular live music, while the Firken Shed is one of the more impressive micro pubs with a superb range of local beers and ales. With its football team Bournemouth FC – forever an underdog – now riding high and enjoying the high life in the Premier League, there is an unavoidable sense of momentum and excitement around this picturesque seaside town.
spaces in Glasgow and home to “a thriving network of artists, designers, photographers, cultural producers, software developers and other potential collaborators”. For techies, ‘RookieOven’ is the place to be. The space hosts regular gatherings, meetups and ‘hackathons’. Having recently undergone a £6 million restoration it is an excellent place to work. Glasgow is a relatively inexpensive place to live and two areas are standout candidates: the West End and South Side. The West End carries a Bohemian allure, filled with trendy cafés, charity stores and art venues.
ournemouth, a coastal town renowned for miles of beautiful sandy beaches and a laidback atmosphere, is host to this year’s Lib Dem party conference. The town is not necessarily known as a traditional self-employed hotspot, but is increasingly becoming an attractive place for those looking to set out on their own. Forever the lesser-known relative of other south coast destinations such as Brighton, Bournemouth, the self-styled “Jewel of Britain’s South Coast”, is quickly carving out its own identity and, for a town of 185,000, is certainly not short of co-working spaces. Centrally located on the Triangle and a short walk from Bournemouth’s iconic Pier, Box 44 is among the more popular co-working spaces. Prices start from £100 per month for three days access
he motto of Scotland’s second city is, “Let Glasgow Flourish.” The city fathers should consider a 21st century gesture by adding… “Let freelancers flourish!” This vibrant, friendly and increasing cosmopolitan city plays host to this year’s SNP Autumn conference. The futuristic conference centre is set on the banks of the Clyde was recently renamed as the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) - it was previously known as the SECC, which stood for the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The city has become a fertile ground for migrating freelancers and there are plenty of great spots to work. Offshore is a casual, work-friendly café situated in Gibson Street. Wilson Street Pantry is a more down-to-business café providing plenty of space and, crucially, plug sockets. The Distillery is one of the best co-working
South Side is a little more quiet and family orientated, and home to Glasgow’s biggest green space, Pollok Country Park. For short stays, Grand Central Hotel is a fourstar hotel adjoined to Central Station, giving it the ideal location right in the heart of the city. For shopaholics, Buchanan Street is the city’s main shopping thoroughfare and is home to a number of designer brands on what is known as Glasgow’s ‘Style Mile’. Observers of ‘the beautiful game’ will know that Glasgow hosts one of football’s most intense rivalries: Celtic v Rangers. The city also hosted the first official international match – an inspired bore draw between England and Scotland. The Horseshoe Bar is a worthy sight – famed for its impressive 104-foot bar. The West End of Glasgow is just a short ride on Glasgow’s subway from the city centre and has plenty of quirky bars and homely pubs.
Co-working & Coffee By Jyoti Rambhai
rom the vintage desks to the large, decadent windows, The Old Print Works in Birmingham is a co-working hub that is steeped in history. Based in Moseley, it offers studios, exhibition areas as well as a co-working space, called The Transfer. The building itself dates back to the 1800s and its heritage is immediately noticeable as soon as you walk through the doors. “The Old Print Works is an old factory that used to make transfers,” explains Patrick Willcocks, who runs the hub. “It started off making stickers for rally bicycles, which were made in Nottingham.” The printing originally started out in a house, which is still present today at the site. It had orchids behind it and a workshop was set up in the back garden.
As business boomed, the house was expanded into a factory with the majority of it being built in the late 1800s and the front part during the 1920s. Over the next 90 years, The Old Print Works became an incredibly successful manufacturer, supplying stickers to companies right across the UK and internationally. But with the decline of manufacturing, business slowed down and by the early 2000s, it could no longer afford to stay at the site and moved to a small town just outside Birmingham. Since 2011, the factory has been owned by the charity Make it Sustainable Ltd and has been transformed into a co-working hub. The charity’s aim, Patrick says, is to “promote making skills and creativity for local people – especially as we are based in a disadvantaged area”. “We offer an affordable and friendly co-
working space. It’s not high-tech, but we have everything you need. Plus we have a salad garden and have shared lunches every day.” So what do The Old Print Works and The Transfer actually offer freelancers? The actual co-working space is full of mismatched sofas, desks and chairs, which somehow work to create a cosy, homely atmosphere. There are also meeting rooms available to book, and of course a healthy supply of tea and coffee. The upper gallery in The Old Print Works has north-facing windows, which is ideal for artists and designers as this offers very even natural light throughout the day. There are numerous studios available to rent here and the main concourse is often used for exhibitions. The downstairs, or the lower gallery, tends to be hired out for music events. In fact, Patrick says, “Some of the units are rented out to other organisations; for example, we have a yoga class running every day of the week and a pottery class several times a week. We also run some classes ourselves, like the textile workshops.” There are even more studios that can be rented in the lower gallery too. Currently, 75–80 per cent of all studio space has been rented out to freelancers. And there are a whole host of creative freelancers coming to the space, from furniture makers to illustrators, artists and jewellers. Details: oldprintworks.org
What do you want from a magazine designed specifically for freelancers? Share your thoughts and youâ€™ll receive a ÂŁ25 voucher. Thursday, 28 September 12.30pm to 2.30pm or 5pm to 7pm Work.Life co-working space, Tanner Street, London For more details on how to register visit ipsemagazine.co.uk
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