INSPIRATION FOR INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS AND THE SELF EMPLOYED ISSUE 59, JANUARY 2017 – £4.95
Taking care of business Future of work trend
Is UBER a one-time gig, or the future of work?
We speak to NASA about opportunities for freelancers
A spotlight on contractor taxes in 2017
INSIDER'S INSIGHT: Planning your finances
An interview with Director-General of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn
A BIG event to help grow your business Join us for a one-of-a-kind event designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Grow your skills and your network with a variety of workshops, seminars, and speakers.
...by leading entrepreneurs and business experts.
...with other successful business owners.
...in hands-on workshops and seminars.
Save 20% and get your ticket for £59 £37 with the promo code GROW20.
7 March 2017 | Tobacco Dock, London
FROM THE EDITOR JAMES GRIBBEN
FROM THE LOBBY
The political views on self-employment from freelance journalist Natasha Clark
FINANCE FEATURE FINANCIAL PLANNING
Guest writer Benedict Smith looks at freelancing and finances
Jim Cassidy interviews Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI. They discuss glass ceilings, women in business and British innovation
Technology writer Gemma Church reviews some of the best
IS UBER A ONE-TIME GIG? We investigate whether the UBER model is here to stay
AFFORDABLE TECH: FINANCIAL APPS
FINANCE FEATURE THE DOG ATE MY TAX RETURN, AND OTHER STORIES Some of the horror tales of self-assessment deadline and tips to avoid them
How could entering help you and your business?
FINANCE FEATURE HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE LATE PAYMENT The first of our financial special features
A SPOTLIGHT ON CONTRACTOR TAXES IN 2017
We look at the changes expected from Government in the coming year
CRSE Global Workshop 2016 Leading global academics gathered in November to discuss the future of self-employment
We also report back on what was a tough Autumn Statement for freelancers, contractors and interim managers. Big changes are ahead if you take on any public sector work. Deputy Director of Policy Andy Chamberlain outlines what the changes will mean for your business. Ever thought of freelancing in Delhi? We have a wonderful report from local journalist Mridu Khullar, which might inspire you to give it a go. January is also the last opportunity to file your self-assessment. Look out for some tips alongside some of the worst excuses we’ve seen for missing the deadline. Make sure you don’t leave it too late!
FREELANCER AWARDS 2017
Welcome to this, the first IPSE magazine of 2017, and I couldn't be more proud to share it with you. We were delighted to speak to Carolyn Fairbairn, DirectorGeneral of the CBI about what it takes to be the voice of business. Read our cover story on page eight.
Enjoy the read.
THE FREELANCER'S GUIDE TO DELHI
London and Delhi resident Mridu Khullar Relph writes from experience
NASA GIVES FREELANCERS LIFT-OFF
IPSE interviews NASA and the opportunities available to freelancers
WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG? JIM STORER
Nuclear project engineer shares what he carries around and why
CO-WORKING & COFFEE
INSPIRATION FOR INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS AND THE SELF EMPLOYED ISSUE 59, JANUARY 2017 – £4.95
Taking care of business FUTURE OF WORK TREND
Is UBER a one-time gig, or the future of work?
We speak to NASA about opportunities for freelancers
A spotlight on contractor taxes in 2017
INSIDER'S INSIGHT: Planning your finances
An interview with Director-General of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn
A MESSAGE FROM THE CEO 2017 is set to be a tumultuous year, not least in terms of the bigger political picture (both at home and abroad) but also because it will be dominated by several landmark decisions and reviews that will affect the self-employed.
Currently there are six (six!) reviews exploring self-employment taking place this year, focusing largely on the tax system and the changing nature of self-employment. This is quite extraordinary. As a result, IPSE is incredibly busy, ensuring the voice of independent professionals is heard in these major debates. Perhaps the most important of these six is led by the Chief Executive of the RSA, Matthew Taylor, with his government-commissioned review into modern employment practices. We have already met with senior civil servants from the Department for Business who are working on this review, and in the coming months we will be making the case for freelancing at roundtable events and public evidence sessions, as well as submitting written evidence. IPSE wants to see clear definitions of selfemployment, as well as greater segmentation of the self-employed workforce in order to address the growing confusion created by the rise of the “gig economy”. Government has never paid self-employment as much attention as it is now - and if the Autumn Statement is anything to go by, this sector may be about to experience it's most difficult year yet. We need to show this Government that the majority of the UK's
4.8 million self-employed people love what they do, and would not want to work any other way. And so IPSE will continue to stand by the side of independent professionals up and down the UK, and continue to grow and enhance our support network. Together we are stronger.
James Gribben firstname.lastname@example.org @JamesIPSE
MEDIA CONSULTANT Jim Cassidy
DEPUTY EDITOR Sophie Gibson
Gary Barker Natasha Clark Gemma Church Ben Smith Mridu Khullar Patricia Leighton Nick Walton Mark Williams
Even in the tough times, IPSE will be there for you. We are constantly looking at the services our members have access to, and we are hard at work to ensure any independent professional who wants to operate in the public sector is able to do so on a freelance basis. We are in the process of developing a guide for independent professionals in this respect, which will be launching soon. We’ll keep you updated.
As we move away from policy, there's still plenty to look forward to this year. I’m particularly excited for the new and improved IPSE awards in June, as part National Freelancers Day 2017. As you'll expect, this year will be even bigger and even better as we build on the successes of 2016. You can read more on page 15, including personal accounts from last year’s winners. The competition is open now so don't forget to apply!
IPSE, Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1H 0DX
IPSE MEMBERSHIP ENQUIRIES 020 8897 9970 ipse.co.uk/join @IPSEmag
IPSE does not necessarily agree with, nor guarantee the accuracy of, statements made by contributors or accept any responsibility for any statements which are expressed in the publication. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic form, or in any other format, without the prior written permission of IPSE. IPSE, its directors and employees have no contractual liability to any reader in respect of goods or services provided by a third-party supplier.
FROM THE LOBBY Freelance journalist Natasha Clark lets us know where self-employment sits on the political agenda
n January there’s the usual shudder from freelancers across the UK at the TV adverts, letters and email reminders that can only mean one thing - tax returns are due. Once you’ve reset your 63-digit password from last year and actually logged in to your online account, locating your P60 from the pile of invoices, expenses receipts and payslips becomes a very real struggle. But despite levels of self-employment hitting their highest since records began, the Government is still struggling to adapt to the changes which have hit the workplace. The
growth in freelance workers has helped the economy get back on its feet after the recession, but our changing workplace practises aren’t yet reflected in Whitehall thinking. On the bright side, the Government appear to be in what they like to call “listening mode”. We can see this in at least six reviews taking place this year which will consider the rights of the self-employed, the process of how they pay tax and one specific inquiry from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on self-employment and the gig economy, which at the time of writing is soon to close (Monday 16 Jan). The Taylor review on modern employment practises will also feature a regional tour to discuss the labour market - a review commissioned by the Prime Minister.
This focus is welcome in the light of concerning comments from the Government which were ill-received by some freelancers. In last year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor described plans to “consider how we can ensure that the taxation of different ways of working is fair between different individuals, and sustains the tax-base as the economy undergoes rapid change”. So far, so fair? But he went on to launch a thinly-veiled attack on those who were self-employed, blaming “rapidly rising incorporation” for lower tax receipts which “further erodes revenues”. Bit of a slap in the face to 15 per cent of the workforce, some might say.
He continued, announcing that the Government was “committed to tackling tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning”, before declaring he would commit to removing the tax benefits of “disguised earnings for… the self-employed” to raise £630 million. The differing tax rates between a company employee and someone who is self-employed have been described as a perk for freelancers. But it seems Mr Hammond wants to plug a hole in his budget by removing some of those. Quite a difference from the DWP minister Damian Green who insisted last week that the Government was keen to “support those who aspire to be their own boss.” He cited the “good work” of the 2011 Enterprise Allowance which aims to help the self-employed to kickstart their new businesses. He claimed that 80% of those who started a business last year benefitted from funding, access to a loan or a business mentor. The silver lining of last year’s budget was the promise to improve broadband access, which the self-employed are dependent on as many work from home. Rural areas have long complained at the inadequate speeds they face in remote parts of the country, and ministers promised £400m to speed up broadband.
But aside from that nugget, Labour MPs say it’s been left to them to make the case for supporting the self-employed in Parliament. Earlier this month during DWP questions a string of MPs lined up to chip away at the Government over their help for freelancers. Peter Dowd, the MP for Bootle, said that “exploitative companies” were “forcing staff down the self-employment route”. The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams then claimed that millions of selfemployed workers were still earning less than the national minimum wage. Last year she set out plans to give greater social security rights to self-employed workers - which could include sickness or disability pay, and maternity cover. And changes to the state pension are set to come into force in April - alongside plans for auto-enrolment in pension contributions. But these won’t apply to freelancers, MP for Torfaen, Nick Thomas-Symonds, pointed out. He said that the self-employed were also likely to “lose out with cuts to tax credits”. He told IPSE later: “There’s not enough attention given in Whitehall to this rapidly growing group of people”. He went on to say “We have to bear in mind what happens in tough times - we have to look carefully about the self-employed losing out.”
While it’s easy to see why the self-employed may not be at the top of the Prime Minister’s inbox as she gears up to trigger Article 50 in
March, a changing workforce should still be a concern as the economy threatens to wobble later this year.
IN THE NE WS
Brexit could be a mixed bag for freelancers. While some MPs are hopeful that it will release self-employed workers from so-called “red tape”, others are concerned at the impact of a potential economic downturn once we leave the European Union. Fears of inflation rises later this year could also squeeze the selfemployed, who are already likely to earn less and work longer hours, without the security nets of sick or holiday pay.
Can self-employment help halve the disability gap?
“We will be looking at what Europe do, get our ideas across and transpose them - we won’t be going back to the Victorian days” David Morris MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the self-employed, is concerned about what will happen to VAT structures when Britain leaves the EU, and feels that the Government is “playing catch up” to the changes of the self-employed on the economy. He called for the Government to introduce a self-employment minister as “the selfemployed work differently from everyone else… you need someone who understands this.” But he played down concerns of a bonfire of EU regulations on workers’ rights, and welcomed the opportunities he hoped Brexit would bring. “We will be looking at what Europe do, get our ideas across and transpose them - we won’t be going back to the Victorian days,” he insisted. “Stripping back of some business agreements and trade agreements could open up a whole new ballgame for the self-employed,” he added. As with all British domestic policy at the moment, the priorities for the selfemployed are likely to be pushed back until after the Prime Minister gets a firm grip on the immediate challenge of Brexit. MPs are concerned that the Government is playing catch up with its numerous reviews and consultations, but as the numbers of freelancers in the economy continue to grow, ministers and the civil service can’t continue to write off their concerns forever.
Words by freelance journalist for The Sun and The Sunday Times, Natasha Clark
During December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Disability published its report "Ahead of the arc". The report highlights that if it sticks to current trends and policies, the Government is certain to miss its target to halve the disability employment gap. One particular section covers self-employment, and the benefits and challengers of it. IPSE's submission to this APPG was used significantly to form their policy ideas on this area. The report comes two months before the deadline to submit to the Government's long-awaited green paper on disability which IPSE will respond to as well. It is an important part of our agenda to ensure that self-employment is properly represented and understood, contributing to such reports paints an accurate picture to Government.
Bike courier wins "gig economy" case In the first week of January, a bicycle courier won an employment rights case in a ruling which could have implications for the "gig economy". A tribunal found that Maggie Dewhurst, a courier with logistics firm City Sprint, should be classed as a worker rather than self-employed. City Sprint said it was "disappointed" and will review the ruling "in detail". With this decision so soon after the UBER decision ruling in the later part of last year, it will make Matthew Taylor's independent review of modern working practices even more important. IPSE is following this story closely, and is of course responding to the Taylor Review, which is set to present its findings in the spring.
The future of work Better pension provision, maternity allowance and research into the selfemployed were called for by IPSE, in a response at the beginning of December to a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee inquiry into "the future world of work and the rights of workers" – the first of the six reviews launched covering self-employment. IPSE believes it’s important for Government to create policies that serve to support the vulnerable while also increasing the business skills of those newly entering selfemployment. We will work closely with BEIS to provide support and information wherever needed once this inquiry is published.
Carolyn Fairbairn means business Jim Cassidy finds out what the head of the CBI thinks about the future
hen the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was born on Friday 30th July 1965, the UK was in the midst of an economic crisis with strikes, political instability, blackouts, factories and heavy industry grinding to a halt and workers sent home.
For a woman who has smashed through the glass ceiling wherever she has gone, it seems appropriate that her open plan office above Cannon Street tube station is a homage to glass, with her view of the dome of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline like a stunning moving mosaic.
independent professional sector, and the work of IPSE.
There was another problem: Europe!
While there are more intimate break out offices, there is a real collegiate team spirit around the stunning 21st century contemporary environment.
IPSE has taken a glass half full approach to the Brexit vote. Did the Director-General of the CBI believe the UK’s self-employed and small businesses can weather the years of uncertainty?
The French had vetoed the UK’s application to join the EU and more and more people in the business and political communities felt we were being isolated and cast adrift. The CBI was formed out of a merger of the Federation of British Industries, the British Employers' Confederation and the National Association of British Manufacturers. In 1965 the very young Carolyn Fairbairn was growing up in Marlow, Bucks. Fast forward 47 years and Carolyn Fairbairn is one of the most powerful women in the UK and the first female Director-General of the CBI.
The CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. Together they employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce. With 13 offices around the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the voice of British business around the world. It is an organisation that appreciates the importance of the growing self-employed and
But as showers sweep over the dome of St Paul’s there is a reminder that the 2017 outlook around Brexit remains unsettled, with stormy periods predicted throughout the year.
Carolyn is considered with her reply: “First and foremost, the CBI’s members, small, medium and large, want to make the best of Brexit. The UK economy was strong going into the EU Referendum. Following the vote, companies have shown remarkable resilience, by continuing to serve their customers and ultimately getting on with their business. There are, of course, real challenges, particularly for those who are self-employed, as they’ve no compliance teams to rely upon for guidance.
No matter what size, for firms to grow in the present environment they need tariff and barrier-free access to the Single Market.” On that issue, how important did Carolyn feel it is to retain access to the European single market while embracing global free trade, which has been a cornerstone of IPSE’s thinking post the Brexit vote? “Britain is a trading nation, with a long history of commerce across the globe. That said, it’s a matter of fact that the EU is our largest trading partner, and our future trading relationships with other parts of the world will be reliant upon the outcome of the Article 50 negotiations. It’s absolutely critical for the UK to foster trading relationships worldwide, but the priority must be the EU first. “Inevitably this will all take time, which is why, in the meantime we’re working with the UK government to enhance access to support for firms that wish to trade abroad. After all, exporting companies are more productive, which can have a positive knock-on regional effect too, which is essential if the benefits of economic growth are to be shared equally across all regions and nations of the UK.” The former head of strategy at the BBC and ITV has made it plain in the past that she thinks red tape should only be used for wrapping presents. Did she think central government had done enough in recent years to cut the red tape tangle for the more flexible economy, streamline the tax system and ensure there is the right springboard for small businesses to advance? “Cutting unnecessary red tape gives firms bursting with potential – especially small and medium sized ones – the space to grow and thrive. This is absolutely essential for the UK’s productivity and ensuring that all regions and nations of the UK are able to contribute to the UK’s prosperity. Ensuring an environment in which all businesses can thrive up and down the country is a prerequisite for success in creating and sustaining economic growth.”
The issue that still concerns IPSE members more than anything is IR35. It was interesting to see the CBI respond to the Government consultation on proposals to change how IR35 legislation works in the public sector. What are your main concerns with the proposals are you worried they may be rolled out to the private sector in the future?
Challenging gender bias must begin in the classroom to change the perception of women in work “The employment status framework for tax has been under some strain. Whilst we recognise concerns about the operation of IR35, to see real change in the effectiveness of employment status for tax we think a holistic approach is needed, which includes a strategic review of how the UK wants to tax flexible workers. This will deliver real results, rather than sticking plasters which impose complex administrative burdens and additional costs on businesses with no meaningful improvement in tax revenue. “I think we need to avoid a scenario where tax policy pushes greater numbers of workers towards an employment model for tax purposes, even when the legal relationship and expectations on both parties is mutually agreed to be something different.” Carolyn is on record questioning why so many business dinners are held, pointing out that they are "not very inclusive" for career women with families. Black tie dinners take place in large central London hotels most nights of the week, and are regarded as important networking events. She said of the issue: "I would rather have an early evening discussion panel, hold a proper debate, and then people can go home by 7.30pm."
I reminded her that more and more women in the UK are joining the ranks of the selfemployed, but asked, are we as a society doing enough to help women start new careers? “Being self-employed suits the working lives of many people. The opportunities for flexibility, entrepreneurialism and innovation make being self-employed a great way for many people to pursue their careers, including women. “Tapping into the widest talent pool is vital for businesses, as well as being essential to ensure that UK firms are able to compete successfully in the global economy. “Businesses that attract women into their workforce and take steps to enable more women to progress have greater access to skills, better collective decision-making, and ultimately boost their business’ performance. “Many firms are encouraging more women into business – some by establishing mentoring programmes to spot and develop top female staff. But challenging gender bias must begin in the classroom to change the perception of women in work.” In the past, at a personal level you have shown that a work/life balance is important to you. Do you see this growth as an opportunity for women to achieve, or at least strive for, that better balance? “Having a work/ life balance makes good business sense. Colleagues that have down-time are able to spend time with friends and families, make time for their other commitments, are more motivated, more engaged and ultimately more productive at work. “Adopting flexible working policies to achieve greater work/life balance greatly benefits all colleagues, as well as being of particular help to working parents, care givers and older and disabled workers. “It’s fantastic that many businesses now offer flexible working policies. This means
INTERVIEW advertising flexibility at the point of hire, giving managers the tools to discuss flexible working with their teams and in some cases redesigning job roles to accommodate greater flexibility.” In general, are things getting easier for women in business? “We have made great strides in increasing the number of women in business over the last 10 years, and I am encouraged by the great work many businesses are doing in this area to improve female representation over the long-term. “But we still have a long way to go. We cannot just look at the glass ceiling, women in board positions, we also need to talk more about what I call the ‘sticky floors’ – the barriers which cause women to leave work or not achieve their
A question I often ask CEOs is ‘what do you value most about doing business in the UK’ – and they often answer ‘creativity and imagination’ full potential. This limits business’ access to top talent and skills, and ultimately reduces the number of female leaders of the future. “Businesses are keen to do more to improve female representation in the executive pipeline, and this is reflected in the recent HamptonAlexander review which has set a combined target for women to make up at least 1 in 3 positions on FTSE 100 executive committees and 1 in 3 direct reports to the board by 2020.” You are now a year into your role as the first female head of the CBI; what have you achieved in those formative months and what is your 2020 vision for the CBI?
“I think this is far more about what the CBI and business has achieved. I think that business has been extraordinary since the June referendum, taking a calm and practical approach to the challenges and opportunities. They are seeking to make a success of Brexit and I am proud that the CBI has been supporting them. We have made clear the main principles that should underpin the negotiations – particularly the need for barrier free access to the single market and access to skills and talent – and communicated them clearly on behalf of our members to government. We have also identified growing productivity across the regions and nations of the UK as a major priority for the next 5-10 years and we’ll be focussing on a government/business partnership in skills building and infrastructure as core areas for new ideas and collaboration. “My vision for the CBI in 2020 is that we can look back and say we supported our members across all sectors and all parts of the country to deliver greater prosperity for British people, families and communities during a period of extraordinary change.” IPSE has a strongly held view that we should do more at schools, colleges, and university level to prepare and encourage more young people to see starting their own business as an attractive career path. Is that something you would buy into? “Absolutely. A strong instinct towards autonomy and fulfilment comes from running one’s own business. We should support this new generation of young people in every way we can – through careers and financial advice, innovative funding models, confidence building and connecting them to each other and to organisations like IPSE who can support them.”
“I think we do shout – at the CBI we certainly do! But there is always more that can be done. A question I often ask CEOs is ‘what do you value most about doing business in the UK’ – and they often answer ‘creativity and imagination’. And our sense of humour!” Carolyn has extensive boardroom experience, including as non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group, Capita plc, the Competition and Markets Authority, the UK Statistics Authority, and, from 2008-11, the Financial Services Authority. In the mid nineties she was a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit, where she advised on health and social services. Everyone has heroes; who are the people who inspired you and indeed the people you think have inspired the UK business community? “I have been inspired by my father, who spent his life in British business and taught me that it is a profound force for good, through the jobs it creates, the products it develops, the public services it funds.” As a student Carolyn’s first job was at the check-out in Budgens food store. She now has a daily role checking out Britain’s industry for the CBI. As you exit the CBI office there is a sign on the wall proclaiming: Let’s dream of positive change! If anyone can turn those positive dreams into a reality you are left with the impression that Carolyn Fairbairn can.
Do we shout enough from the rooftops about the talent, drive and imagination we have here in the UK or is it a national trait to talk ourselves down?
Carolyn holds a first-class degree in Economics from Cambridge University, an MBA with distinction from INSEAD, and lives in Hampshire. She is an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She began her career as an economist at the World Bank, before joining the Economist magazine as a business and financial journalist. As a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, Carolyn advised companies across the UK in a range of sectors specialising in digital transformation, and as a partner led its UK media practice. Carolyn is married to Canadian Peter Chittick, and they have three children, two girls and a boy. Peter is a property developer, and together they live in Hampshire.
ITâ€™S NOT ALWAYS PLAIN SAILING Have you got your life jacket? Comprehensive business insurance for freelancers and contractors
10% DISCOUNT FOR IPSE MEMBERS ipse.kingsbridge.co.uk | 01242 808 740
Is UBER a one-time gig, or the future of work? A closer look at the working models operating in the gig economy and how they could affect the landscape of self-employment in the UK Words by IPSE Senior Policy Adviser, Adam Waters
he gig economy is big business. In the space of a couple of years it has gone from something most hadn’t heard of, to part of our everyday lives.
Going home late? Order an UBER. Need some DIY? Log on to Handy. Hungry for a takeaway? Use Deliveroo. By definition, the people working for these gig economy organisations work on a ‘gig’ basis, and are treated by the employer as self-employed. However this can cover an increasingly muddied area of employment law, as new technologies have made it difficult to clearly define this work as true selfemployment. So in addition to making your life easier, these new platforms are unsettling the labour market, as well as established players within it. This type of self-employed status was challenged in London late last year. Two UBER drivers, supported by the GMB Union, argued their relationship with the platform and the conditions under which they work make them entitled to workers’ rights. The drivers wanted a guarantee of the National Minimum Wage and paid annual leave, among other benefits. This was brought to an employment tribunal.
For its part, UBER said drivers - which it refers to as “partners” - are under no obligation to turn on their app or accept assignments if logged on, and there is no prohibition against “dormant” drivers. Therefore, they were not workers. The judgement ruled against UBER. The judges stated that “the notion that UBER in
London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common 'platform'” was “faintly ridiculous." UBER’s argument was also said to be reminiscent of the Shakespeare line “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” UBER drivers won the right to be classed as workers, not self-employed. When the app is switched on, it was ruled that drivers are under a worker contract and UBER acts as a transportation company, not a technology platform. The judges referenced Supervision, Direction and Control (SDC) in their ruling.
Things don’t end here. For a start, UBER is appealing the case, and feels confident in victory. If it loses, UBER may face a hefty bill and have to give drivers back pay for unpaid entitlements. UBER will also have to decide how to run their business going forwards. They could keep everything the same, and honour their legal obligation to offer workers’ rights, such as National Minimum Wage and paid annual leave. This cost could be passed onto consumers in the form of higher fares.
USEFUL DEFINITIONS Gig economy: Through the proliferation of technology, the gig economy provides a series of short-term gigs to people. These gigs are often for different employers, rather than long term employment. Worker: A person is generally classed as a worker if they meet a number of criteria, including: having a contract, turning up for work even if they don’t want to, not working as a limited company. Workers are entitled to certain employment rights, including: the National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave and rest breaks. Supervision, Direction and Control (SDC): the SDC test is commonly used by Government to determine whether someone is selfemployed or not. It is not law, judgement is generally based on the definition of the words. Only one element must be met for the test to apply.
Another option would be to alter the way they interact with drivers and modify working practices. This might mean allowing drivers to travel their own routes instead of following Google maps.
Leading by example
UBER are the first in a number of high-profile legal challenges to the gig economy. Delivery firm CitySprint has been taken to tribunal by couriers demanding workers’ rights.
A VIEW FROM THE EXPERT: PROFESSOR PATRICIA LEIGHTON
Few court cases received as much publicity as a London employment tribunal decision of October 28th 2016 involving UBER. Sadly, much of the media coverage was either inaccurate or misleading so it is important to look at what, precisely, the decision was about – see the main article.
As have another courier, Hermes, following criticism from Frank Field MP who said some firms “seem to be enforcing an employee contract under the cover of self-employment.” This might force other businesses in the gig economy to alter their model to point towards self-employment, and avoid incurring the cost and reputational damage of a tribunal. It’s a difficult balance to strike as increasing regulatory burdens on gig economy businesses could reduce competition. This would benefit existing players able to make the necessary changes and narrow consumer choice. It could also strip the self-employed of flexibility, and raise unemployment by restricting the labour market.
Policymakers are watching closely. They have launched a deluge of consultations; the highest profile is the Taylor review on modern employment practices. This was personally commissioned by the Prime Minister and is led by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA. This forms part of Mrs May’s core domestic agenda – to create an economy that works for everyone (expect to hear this more and more). The current public policy debate over these complex employment status issues, as well as pensions and maternity pay for the self-employed, will likely influence welfare provision for years. IPSE will be urging Government to provide clarity over employment status, to protect the flexibility of the genuinely self-employed and offer certainty to business.
Forcing employment rights onto the selfemployed working in the gig economy because existing law does not clearly interpret new business models, or because a small number of unscrupulous firms are exploiting false selfemployment, would only harm the flexibility they value. It is imperative the explosion of innovation is channelled considerately, with disruptive effects managed reasonably. Though a challenge, careful policymaking in the gig economy could reap massive rewards for the Exchequer, industry, consumers, and the labour market.
Simon McVicker, IPSE Director of Policy and External Affairs, commented: "While noting the result of the court case, it seems to us that UBER drivers tick most of the boxes that would make them self-employed. They work when they want, how many hours they want, and can work for others if they choose. The majority of them enjoy the flexibility this way of working brings. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if some UBER drivers were not already IPSE members."
UBER markets itself as a digital platform. It supplies drivers with phone apps as a means of putting them in touch with potential car passengers who have contacted UBER directly and then provides basic information to drivers on passenger identity, location and intended destination. From an outsider perspective, and ignoring the rhetoric of the sharing economy and drivers being UBER “partners”, this could look like a traditional intermediary/agency arrangement. However the judge ruled that they are a transport provider, not a digital platform (cases in some other jurisdictions have reached different conclusions). More importantly, he firmly stated that even the most carefully crafted documents will be overridden if the facts do not support them. All digital providers will have to take this on board. If the decision is upheld on appeal to the employment appeal tribunal, documents will have to match work realities. Will there be a rush of claimants? Possibly not, as tribunal fees are high and there are some procedural hurdles. But in any case people appear reluctant to claim against an employer who can simply stop using them with no comeback. Digital platforms and new ways of skills supply are here to stay. Current laws, certainly in the UK, have struggled to accommodate even the mildest new ways of working, such as job sharing, agency working, home-working, and, say, secondment. It is increasingly recognised that employment and social protections need to be more closely linked, a matter that clearly requires regulation. Some feel we are in a post neo-liberal phase and the calls for removal of red tape must sometimes be resisted. If this happens costs for employers/clients will rise, along with responsibilities. The UBER case may itself be the first, or one of the first, cases to begin this process.
Celebrating excellence in independence The IPSE Awards 2017 are open for entries from 20th January â€“ 17th March enter now at: nationalfreelancersday.com/ipse-awards Friday 17th March
Thursday 13th April
Thursday 8th June
National Freelancers Day 2017 with evening awards ceremony
020 8897 9970
The IPSE Freelancer of the Year Awards 2017 – Do You Have What it Takes?
n 9th June 2016, Emmeline Pidgen achieved something special. A talented illustrator with a wealth of graphic novels and advertorials under her belt, she was crowned the brightest and best freelancer in the whole of the UK. She was the IPSE Freelancer of the Year, the winner of a nationwide competition to seek out those with unparalleled commitment to freelancing and an unstoppable solo business. Emmeline went home with £5,000, plus a training package of the same value and national publicity. It made a big impact on her business – on her entire life – and it gave her the confidence to take her business further than ever before. This year, you could be like Emmeline. You could be walking away with that £5,000. The Awards are open for entries right now, but you only have a few weeks, so don’t hang about.
Richard Jeffs is Founder and CEO of FreelanceDiary, a global freelancer booking platform. He was one of two runners-up who each received £2,500 last year, and he hasn’t looked back. “Receiving recognition from IPSE opened many doors for me,” he says. “It provided some great exposure, and the cash prize enabled me to carry out additional work on the app.”
Previous awards judge and IPSE Magazine Editor James Gribben says freelancers from every background and profession should apply. “The important thing is that you work for yourself and wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re looking for people who’re passionate about freelancing as a career choice and who’ve excelled in their field. If you think that might be you, then we want to hear from you!” And according to Emmeline, it’s an invaluable experience whether you’re shortlisted or not. “I think it’s definitely worth applying, if only for the chance to meet so many other incredibly talented and varied freelancers,” she says. “As a self-employed person, you can get sucked into the bubble of your own industry, and you can forget the parallels we all face as freelancers – so it’s great to be able to get out there and share stories with freelancers from other sectors!” “Our panel won’t be trying to trip you up,” James says. “Instead, they’ll be giving you a platform to talk about what you’re passionate about.” 2017’s Awards promise to be the biggest yet. Don’t miss out.
You might assume that that telling IPSE all about your colourful work history would be a lengthy and time-consuming process. But that isn’t the case, Richard says. “Starting a large freelancer platform has left me with very little spare time. IPSE made the application process very easy, enabling me to apply for the freelancer awards quickly.” Emmeline didn’t have much trouble with the application process either. “It was simple, and if I’m completely honest, quite fun!” she says. “I think it’s really important to take a sort of stock-check of where you are in your career and a hard look at your goals every so often – it helps you to refocus on what you’re doing and why! I think a degree of honesty and understanding that you’re communicating with a person, rather than just listing your achievements, is important. “If you’re a talented individual then do make the effort to apply,” Richard says. “The  finalists were from a mixture of industries and all had very different skillsets. Every freelancer has a chance to win a large cash prize, and receiving an award can change your life overnight.”
HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE LATE PAYMENT A N C Words by IPSE Press & Policy Adviser Nick Walton
Getting paid late, or not getting paid at all. Perhaps the biggest and most damaging burden of being self-employed. Too many are victims of the UK’s poor payment culture towards the smallest businesses. With the much-anticipated Small Business Commissioner set to come into action later this year, there is light on the horizon – more on this later in the article. The media has begun to take a bit of notice of late payment (albeit not towards the selfemployed). Take, for instance, the response from national news outlets this time last year to a leading supermarket admitting to knowingly delaying payments to its suppliers. The media was quick to castigate that particular business – which led to legal action and the then Small Business Minister Anna Soubry criticising the company. Yet this isn’t making a difference. Small businesses and the self-employed still have little power to resolve disputes with larger clients or customers. The balance of power in such disputes will always favour the larger party, at least until we see the Commissioner in action.
costs of late payment
Dealing with companies that pay late is still one of the biggest challenges facing the selfemployed. IPSE research shows that almost three-quarters of disputes that self-employed workers have had with clients were because of late payment. And, according to the UK’s payment scheme for banks, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (BACS), £32.4 billion was owed to SMEs in late payments in 2015. It’s a startling figure. If paid late by a client, a self-employed person often cannot afford to resort to court action, either because of the expense or the reputational damage it would cause. And although commercial negotiation is possible, the reality is that this doesn’t work either. All too often the freelancer will just have to ‘let that invoice go’.
£32.4 BILLION owed to SME’s in late payments in 2015
of disputes between selfemployed workers and clients are because of late payment
of self-employed workers in a dispute with their agency were satisfied with how it was resolved
A look at the poor payment culture towards the self-employed here in the UK. What are the facts, and will it ever change?
Of course, being paid late isn’t just a financial cost – it’s a personal one too. The last thing you need is to spend hours a week chasing unpaid invoices from clients. It can cause a huge amount of stress. Not every small business has large reserves of cash, and a steady income is needed to keep any business afloat. The emotional burden is heavy, as some freelancers rely on being paid on time to cover their month’s rent – or even put dinner on the table.
What to do when late payment happens
You’ve been paid late so what are your options? It’s important to make clear from the outset when you expect payment to be made. You cannot hope for your clients or customers to pay on time if they don’t know what the timescale is, so make sure it is included in your contract terms. Be as clear as possible in all your communication with the client on your payment details. Double-check that you always include your details on your invoices and that they are clear and obvious. Make sure that your terms and conditions are contained in your contract with clients, and that they are prominently displayed on invoices. You may also consider performing a credit check before you decide on payment terms (there are plenty of websites for this, including Experian) – does your potential client or customer have a history of paying late? If so, it may be best to look elsewhere.
And if you receive no payment?
Worse than being paid late is receiving no payment at all. So, what to do when this happens? It’s best to start with the least damaging route: reference what’s in your contract to the client. In the contract, you should always state the payment terms, such as how much you are to get paid and when. You should also state the late fees to be charged if the client fails to pay within your timeframe.
Send a certified letter to the client to make sure the invoice and letter are received. Also, let them know that you’re considering taking this matter to court. If all options have been exhausted, and you have to fight for your money every time you complete a project, let that client go. Sometimes it’s best to be the one to walk away from a client that just isn’t reliable – it can be too much of a personal cost.
Other preventative measures
Get your contract reviewed Contracts are binding legal agreements between two parties and are the best way to protect yourself as a self-employed person when undertaking work for a client. It’s where you can lay out how much and when you wish to be paid. It’s also where you can add an interest rate charge for every day payment is late (past the 30 days). A vocal agreement will only leave the door open to expensive misunderstandings. It’s definitely worth going the extra mile here and employing a professional to review your contract.
Always be aware of any substantial changes to the brief you originally agreed Scope creep Scope creep is when the original scope of the project begins to drift and the client starts asking for things that weren’t in the original brief. This is usually OK, as long as the client understands the impact in terms of time, money and quality. If not, you may risk not receiving payment for extra pieces of work. This situation is relatively straightforward to deal with if handled with care. Always be aware of any substantial changes to the brief you originally agreed. Raise it early on and offer the client a series of choices. For example, you could say: “To deliver this change, we can either add another month to the schedule or increase the budget by £2,000, which would allow me to hire an assistant and deliver it within the original timeframe.” The key here is to provide a win-win situation, where you help the client solve their problem without playing down your worth. It’s essential to record the new project agreement in writing and update your contract or purchase order where necessary. Prompt payment code The Prompt Payment Code exists as a voluntary code of practice for big businesses, and is administered by the Institute for Credit Management on behalf of the Department of Business. Currently signatories must pay their
suppliers on time and provide them with clear guidance on payment terms. Yet there is little incentive for signatories to follow the rules in the code, and a greater voluntary commitment from the biggest businesses is still needed. You can find out more on the code by visiting www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk
The law on payment terms
Unless you agree a payment date, the customer must pay you within 30 days of getting your invoice or the goods or service. You can use a statutory demand to formally request payment of what you’re owed. You have the right to charge interest for late payment, but you can choose not to. For more information, you can visit the government website at www.gov.uk/invoicing-andtaking-payment-from-customers/paymentobligations
Claire Brown of Metamorfosis Ltd, IPSE member “At the start of my interim career I was engaged to deliver a project for a boutique consultancy at a high street retailer. After an initial successful project completed, I was asked to return a few months later. I had a good relationship with the consultancy and wasn’t too concerned seven months into the second project when my invoices covering March were not paid within 30 days. Payments had previously been prompt and I therefore accepted the initial response, that payment would be along in a few days. I carried on working and weeks passed. On 27th April the consultancy owner emailed to advise that he intended to ask the client if I could bill them directly from 1st April. Later that week I learnt the consultancy had gone into administration due to cash flow problems. The client did contract me directly; however, this took time to agree and implement. I received no payment at all between 31st March and 3rd July. Ultimately, I lost all fees and expenses for the month of March, heavily compromising my own cash flow. After this, I learnt to include a payment due on my invoices.”
www.ipse.co.uk To read more financial features go to page 26
The Small Business Commissioner’s process for handling complaints The Government acted on IPSE’s call for a Small Business Commissioner in its Enterprise Bill in 2015. One of the Commissioner’s key responsibilities will be dealing with companies that pay late. The Commissioner will be given the power to name and shame companies which persistently pay late. It’s essential he or she uses this power to drive real culture change among these companies, so the self-employed can get on with work without the worry of late payment or non-payment hanging over their heads. What do we think? Time limit for complaints We have to assume that initially there may be a low level of knowledge of the Commissioner’s existence. Government must bring in a longer interim time limit of 18 months for the first year after the Commissioner is in place. This then would reduce to 12 months once the Government and business groups successfully raised awareness among small and large businesses. Confidentiality When someone makes a complaint to the Commissioner, it must be made clear that the complaint will be treated confidentially and that details will not be made public unless the individual specifies otherwise. Mediation IPSE believes that where the Commissioner recommends mediation this should be outsourced to private sector arbitrators and mediators, who should agree to charge a fixed fee based on a tariff set by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in agreement with industry bodies.
what can ipse do? IPSE is here to help too. We and our partners provide practical advice on how to prevent you from falling victim to late payment. Our business interruption services provide compensation to members paid late if the client’s business falls into debt, or if the agency breaks the contractual agreement. We also offer a contract review service that provides you with a detailed report offering any appropriate amendments and improvements to the contract wording, as well as considering the day-to-day working practices of the engagement. Visit our website for more information.
Guide to Freelancing
IPSEâ€™s Guide to Freelancing has recently had an update. The new version is an interactive resource, full of business advice and tips, from tax planning to marketing & PR. If youâ€™re just starting out or already an established freelancer, this 45 page guide is specifically designed for you. Visit www.ipse.co.uk/guide-to-freelancing to download it today.
Contractors should prepare for a spotlight on taxes in 2017 As far as contractors are concerned, the big news from the 2016 Autumn Statement was confirmation from Government that they will be pushing ahead with plans to change the way IR35 works in the public sector. IPSE, along with many other business groups, strongly opposed this measure and we were very disappointed by the decision to implement it. But it should not be considered in isolation. The Autumn Statement also told us this Government is very concerned about the tax base, the staggering rise in incorporations, and the rapidly diversifying labour market. All of this tells us we can expect more policy changes over the next twelve months and beyond.
What are the changes to IR35 and who do they affect?
The underlying IR35 rules are not changing, but the responsibility for determining whether they apply will shift from the contractor to the public sector end client. So, in the public sector only, the hiring organisation will determine the IR35 status of an engagement. If it decides IR35 does apply, the contractor business will be taxed at source, through the electronic Real Time Information (RTI) system, exactly as if it were an employee. This change will be effective from April 2017. For now, the changes will only affect those engaged by public sector clients. Public sector clients are defined as set out in the Freedom of Information Act. In other words, if the organisation has to respond to Freedom of Information requests, it is a public sector organisation for IR35 purposes. But most, in fact all, independent experts we have spoken to
of contractors said they would leave the public sector if these changes were confirmed
of contractors would increase their pay rate if these changes were confirmed
rise on average per year of incorporations growth in 2000-2014
believe it won’t be long before the Government considers rolling out the measure across the private sector too.
Why does IPSE oppose the change?
Public sector bodies will take a risk averse approach. Confronted with the well documented complexities of IR35, they will be unable to determine whether it actually applies, and they will be unwilling to assess each engagement individually. Because they could become liable - should they fail to apply the rules correctly - they will feel compelled to apply IR35 to all their engagements, even where there may be clear evidence the engagement is not one of employment. Essentially the shift in liability will lead to over-compliance. This will result in thousands of contractors being taxed incorrectly and unfairly. They will be taxed as if they are employees, yet they will receive none of the benefits, such as pension contributions, holiday pay, sick pay and unfair dismissal protection, enjoyed by employees. IPSE carried out a survey to explore how contractors would react to this change. We found that over half would leave the public sector altogether and a further 40% would put up their rates to compensate for the additional tax bill. We shared these findings with the Government, demonstrating that this measure, instead of raising revenue, would actually end up costing the Government more. We reasoned that expensive consultants from the “big four” consultancies would have to be drafted in to
replace the departing contractors, while those contractors that remain would charge more. Unfortunately the Government chose to ignore our warnings.
What about the online tool?
The Government’s solution to the complexity of IR35 is a new online tool which will enable hirers to make an accurate assessment of status. IPSE had expected to see a version of the tool before now but at the time of writing, it hasn’t appeared. IPSE does not believe the tool will work. The rules around status, and IR35, are too complicated and open to interpretation. Applying them to real life engagements can only be done subjectively. Generic tools are unlikely to generate an accurate determination. But we shall have to wait and see if this tool will prove us wrong.
Are there wider implications from the Autumn Statement?
Yes. Modern day Autumn Statements (soon to be Autumn Budgets) have at their centre a report from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). This year the OBR took the opportunity to highlight the drop in tax receipts and the Chancellor responded with this: “Tax receipts have been lower than expected this year, causing the OBR to revise down projected revenues in future. Added to this is a structural effect of rapidly rising incorporation and self-employment, which further erodes revenues.” Reading between the lines then, the Chancellor is effectively saying: all these people working independently means less tax for the Exchequer, and we need to do something about it. Oh, and we are especially worried about those that incorporate.
What do the figures tell us?
When looking over the OBR figures it quickly becomes clear why the Chancellor is alarmed. Between 2000 and 2014, growth in incorporations averaged 7% a year – much
higher than the growth in employees or the self-employed. More recent data suggests the number grew by 25% between 2014 and 2015. At this rate, say the OBR, the Exchequer will be worse off to the tune of £3.5bn by 2022, and that is entirely down to more and more people working via their own limited company. The gig economy and other forms of self-employment are a whole other issue, and one that Government is quickly trying to get on top of. Of course there are counter arguments to this. What about the unique economic contribution made by independent professionals? What about the VAT that many of them collect and
IR35 doesn’t work but the Government won’t let it go. Instead they have introduced a measure which tinkers around with it, but doesn’t remove any of its faults hand over to the Government (they will soon be handing over a few percentage points more too, once changes to the flat rate scheme are implemented)? What about the recently introduced tax on dividends? These are all valid points and IPSE will continue to make them, but we have to listen as well as talk. The Government is telling us that incorporation is eroding the tax base and they have the figures to prove it. We need to respond to that.
So what happens next?
In 2017 there is going to be a huge focus on the way people are working and how the tax system deals with them. It seems Government has finally woken up to what we’ve been telling them for years, that the world of work is changing, fast, and the tax system at the moment isn’t keeping up.
There are now no fewer than seven reviews or inquiries into the changing world of work. IPSE will be responding to all of them and we can expect to see more policy changes ahead. Is there an alternative to more IR35 changes? Against the backdrop of rising incorporation and falling taxes, it is hardly surprising the Government chose to push ahead with the one measure they had which is designed to get more tax out of incorporated entities. IR35 doesn’t work – on this we all agree – but the Government won’t let it go. Instead they have introduced a measure which tinkers around with it, but doesn’t remove any of its faults. The Government should instead have shelved the public sector plan while it considered more viable options for tackling the eroding tax base and the incorporation phenomenon. IPSE’s Freelancer Limited Company (FLC) would have been a good place to start, and it still is. The FLC is designed to provide a benign environment for freelancing to flourish, while at the same time protecting tax revenues. IR35 would not apply to the FLC, as businesses within the structure would have already demonstrated they are not disguising employment. Businesses should be able to choose FLC status – they must not be forced into it – and they would have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify to be an FLC. For more information on the proposed FLC framework - www.ipse.co.uk/policy/ freelancer-limited-company
One of the UK economy’s greatest assets
The UK’s flexible labour market gives us a competitive advantage over neighbouring economies and attracts investment. It is crucial to our future success, especially as we leave the EU. The Government must therefore be careful not to introduce measures which might curtail the dynamism of the flexible labour market. That’s why it’s so important the Government gets this right. Measures such as the changes to IR35 in the public sector, suggest we might be heading in the wrong direction. The FLC is the type of radical idea the Government should be considering. At this time we must embrace the invaluable flexibility and innovation which the self-employed workforce contribute to the economy, while also ensuring tax revenues are not completely lost. The changes to IR35 in the public sector are rooted in the past. We need to look to the future.
Words by Deputy Director of Policy, Andy Chamberlain Companies with two, three or more directors (the lines in red and green) have remained relatively steady. However companies with one director have soared in number, thus affecting the overall total significantly (the line in blue)
Specialist Accountants Brookson specialise in accountancy services for freelancers, contractors and self-employed professionals. As experts in the market we ensure our customers are working compliantly, continually keeping up to date with new legislation and changes within the ever changing contractor landscape. With specialist in-house tax advisors, we will maximise your earnings in the most tax efficient, yet safest, way possible so that you take home more of your hard earned money - after all you’ve worked hard for it! Approved Accountancy Partner
Key Benefits All-inclusive service with no hidden charges. Expert advice from a support team 6 days a week. All VAT, tax and year-end returns are completed for you. Fast and seamless set up within 24 hours. Secure online portal accessible any where 24/7, with any device. No tie-in period or exit fees. Daily updates of how much you can withdraw. Operate compliantly with unlimited IR35 reviews. Access to a free legal support help line.
Exclusive discounts for IPSE members.
0800 230 0213 email@example.com
Find out More ipsemagazine.co.uk
Tips on streamlining your finances Matt Fryer, Senior Compliance Manager at Brookson shares his tips on controlling your finances and why this is important.
Everyone wants to make a decent living from their job, and when you’re self-employed and contracting, the power to do that is in your hands. For any new freelancers starting out, my advice would always be to appoint a specialist freelancer accountant. They should not only assist you with things like the completion and submission of tax returns, preparation of accounts, VAT and bookkeeping, but also provide you with tax advice and guidance throughout the financial year so that there are never any surprises come the end of the year for you. Aside from these services, there are steps you can take to ease you through the financial year. Here are my top tips for controlling your finances:
Plan ahead for selfassessment
It’s probably easiest to submit your return online via the HMRC website, as HMRC will calculate your tax bill on submission. You do need to register for this service though, and this could take 5 to 6 weeks. You can submit your return anytime from the end of the tax year, so if you can do this from 7 April, why wait until 31 January?
Try to be as organised as possible. Keep a clear record of all business transactions including income and expenditure so that you will have all of the necessary information to hand as well as ensuring you know in advance key dates in the financial year for payments to be made.
Know your numbers
Include the right expenses
“If you can’t read the scoreboard, then you don’t know the score and if you don’t know the score, then you can’t tell the winners from the losers” - Warren Buffett. Most business owners only look at their accounts once a year. Crazy! A clear understanding of your daily cash flow forecast is critical to the success of your business. If figures really aren’t your thing, seek advice from a pro-active accountant.
Expenses incurred from your company account will be picked up in your company accounts and tax relief claimed as appropriate. However, make sure you don’t overlook advising your accountant of any expenses incurred personally that relate to your business.
Keep on top of your tax bills
This ensures you can plan how much more you can draw from the company and consider the tax implications associated with it – you don’t need to take all company profits as a dividend. You can choose to take what you need to fund your lifestyle or simply take the most tax efficient amount to ensure you do not breach the higher rate tax threshold.
If you’re filling in your tax returns up to nine months after the end of the year, it is crucial you stay on top of your tax position throughout, from the beginning. Once the year is over it will be difficult to put any planning measures in place, so it makes a lot more sense to plan ahead and stay up-to-date.
Consider pension contributions
Always think about your pension contributions throughout the year – are you happy with them? If your personal taxable income this year will take you over the higher rate threshold, then you’ll also face a higher rate personal tax bill once your self-assessment return is prepared. Pension contributions are a great way of reducing or even eliminating this liability. The amount you should pay into your pension depends on a number of factors, not least what you can afford and your attitude towards pensions as a means of saving in general.
Knowing how much you can take as a dividend
Minimise IR35 compliance risk
If you are a Limited Company Contractor, IR35 is an important consideration for you as it sets out the law relating to tax treatment of your income and also determines your tax position with HMRC. Contractors that fall outside IR35 are entitled to receive payment in the form of dividends. Those who fall inside IR35 are seen as ‘disguised employees’ and are only entitled to receive payment on a PAYE basis (albeit through their Limited Company). Therefore, It’s important to ensure you have had an up to date IR35 review to determine your status. We would advise that you have an IR35 review at the start of every new assignment and then again every 6 months in case circumstances have changed.
To find out more about IPSE accredited accountant Brookson visit www.ipse.co.uk/supplier-directory/brookson-limited
Think tank event draws map through murky policy waters Better known for its iconic pier and pebbled shore, Brighton played host to a cohort of international experts on self-employment late last year Words by Kayte Jenkins, IPSE Research Manager
ver two days in November 2016, top global scholars and industry experts met at Brighton Business School to define the future of selfemployment at the annual Global Workshop on Freelancing & Self-Employment Research. Organised by the Centre for Research on SelfEmployment (CRSE), an international think tank, and supported by IPSE, this landmark event featured cutting-edge research, with a focus on translating it into policies that support the self-employed. These workshops were first organised in 2013, to provide a platform for researchers studying freelancing and independent working. They serve to identify gaps in existing literature and raise the profile of self-employment, on both the research and political agendas. The CRSE was launched just twelve months ago, and in that time we have witnessed the huge impact that this pioneering venture is having on crafting effective policy recommendations. IPSE’s own influence has increased significantly as a result, as we have gained a deeper understanding of the people we represent. It plays a vital role in our ability to make evidence-based policy proposals to government and drive forward the debate in crucial areas of self-employment.
R ese a rch moti vated by business practice and public policy
From the UK and Ireland, all across Europe and as far away as the USA, this year’s workshop was attended by the world’s experts on freelancing and self-employment who shared research that has been motivated and informed by real business practice and public policy. Over two days a broad range of perspectives were explored, including: motivations for being self-employed; employment status and definitions; welfare support and the role of policy and trade unions; the economic impact of the self-employed; the gig economy and wellbeing. Despite the geographic spread of those involved and the variety of topics discussed, two key themes continued to be raised at the workshop, indicating a far-reaching global issue. The first concerned the definitions of self-employed workers. The second was the rise of the gig economy and how it is changing the nature of self-employment. These are two issues currently at the centre of UK policy debate, with Government announcing a multitude of inquiries in response. One of the most prominent is the Taylor Review of Modern Employment Practices, led by Chief Executive of the RSA, Matthew Taylor.
The most pressing problems faced by policymakers in the UK, and covered by these reviews, relate to debates over “false self-employment” and vulnerable temporary contract workers. Without clear definitions of these workers there is a danger that fiscal authorities will use a broad-brush approach to the taxation and treatment of the selfemployed, which will undermine genuine, professional self-employment. Likewise, attempts to give self-employed people rights equivalent to employees will weaken the value that the more highly skilled independent professionals generate in the economy. A special guest at the workshop this year was Rebecca Seeley Harris from the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS). She spoke directly to attendees to provide an overview of the priorities of the OTS, ensuring that the CRSE maintains a demand-driven research agenda. Rebecca commented: “It was a very pertinent time to be attending the workshop as there is much focus on this area in government and across the board at present. When we carry out reviews in the OTS we are reliant on existing research, which does not always give us the information we are looking for. Discussing a more targeted approach with many of the researchers will help us a great deal.”
Message frOm the CRSE Chairman: One year on and a string of successes In the year following the launch of the CRSE, we have established a presence across the globe and significantly strengthened the link between research, policy and industry. It has been fantastic to witness the gravitas this think tank is generating as we move into 2017 – a year in which the CRSE will engender a major change in how we define self-employment.
Defining the future of selfemployment
Central to the CRSE’s mission is to produce research that will inform policy. To that end, the CRSE launched a new research project at this year’s workshop. This will look at the segmentation of the UK self-employed workforce, and will address the problems that have resulted from the gig economy and the homogeneous categorisation of selfemployment. The report will distinguish between the different types of selfemployment by creating a framework based on legal parameters, personal motivations and aspects of work. Providing clarity on the make-up of the selfemployed will enable a differentiated policy approach, one that recognises this group has varied segments and needs. Support can then be appropriately tailored, whether it to be to the more vulnerable or the more highly skilled. It’s a huge task, and one that hasn’t been undertaken to this degree before. And though it might not solve all of the problems, we are confident it will go a significant way toward bettering public policy on self-employment in the UK. You can follow the progress of the segmentation project as well as CRSE publications and videos from the workshop at www.crse.co.uk
With thanks to the presenters at the 2016 Global Workshop on Freelancing & Self-Employment Research:
Arjen van Witteloostuijn, Tilburg University, Netherlands David Cross, University of Bath, UK Dieter Bögenhold, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, Austria Ekaterina Nemkova, University of Nottingham, UK Erika Watson, Prowess, UK Jerzy Cieslik, Kozminski University, Poland John Kitching, Kingston University, UK Marcus Dejardin, University of Namur and Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium Martin Lukeš, University of Economics, Prague Mike Ribeiro, Middlesex University, UK Nardo de Vries, Maastricht University, Netherlands Pascale Peters, Radboud University, Netherlands Patricia Leighton, IPAG Business School, France and University of South Wales, UK Peter van der Zwan, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands Philip Ross, Great DIGITAL Company, UK Raquel Justo, University of Huelva, Spain Simon Best, Middlesex University, UK Terri Griffith, Santa Clara University, USA
To recap on the momentum the CRSE has been building, we launched the “Handbook of Research on Freelancing and Self-Employment” in November 2015 – the first authoritative source on freelancing and self-employment research. Research papers presented at the annual workshops have been selected for publication in esteemed academic journals, including special issues of Small Business Economics, the Journal of Management & Organization and the International Review of Entrepreneurship. We also continue to add to the CRSE’s growing online library of research. The launch event for the CRSE, which took place in November 2015, was named a finalist for Event of the Year at the Trade Association Forum annual awards. Commended for its convening power, the launch has acted as a springboard for vitally important research to take place. The acceptance of a new research trajectory initiated by the CRSE at the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Conference is yet another sign of great impetus. This high profile management event in Europe attracts top scholars from around the world. The inclusion of freelancing and self-employment as part of its conference programme demonstrates that the depth of knowledge in this area is expanding. To ensure that the CRSE maintains a demand driven research agenda, we’ve been engaging with civil servants and other think tanks in order to better understand the key issues facing UK policymakers. This is ahead of the CRSE’s first major research project the “segmentation of the UK self-employed workforce”, a feat which has every opportunity to have a huge impact on the sector.
Alex Metcalfe, Federation of Small Businesses, UK Ana Millán, University of Córdoba, Spain André van Stel, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and Kozminski University, Poland Andrew Burke, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Anne Annink, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Former editor of IPSE Magazine, Benedict Smith, shares his first steps into the world of financial planning as a freelancer
The Beginner’s Guide to Financial ANCE Planning N EATU
oing freelance brings with it a wave of new experiences. The freedom of working however, wherever and whenever you want. The thrill of securing your very first client. And the unforgettable, terrifying moment when you realise that, as a business owner, you are now entirely responsible for the business’s and, in turn, your personal finances. For the millions of us whose forte doesn’t lie in financial planning, it’s uncharted territory, and an unfamiliar, unwelcome aspect of our new lives as freelancers. That in itself can take some getting used to. Although you can make the transition easier by getting a handle on your finances the moment you go freelance. Like most things, it all starts with a plan… A simple plan at that, but a plan nonetheless. Amid all the excitement of chasing clients and enjoying my new-found work/life balance, I put together a simple financial plan. And if I managed it, you can too. No excuses.
Budgeting is the logical place to start. After all, you need an idea of the figure you must hit to make ends meet once you’ve accounted for bills and the rough amount to tuck away for tax, along with any other business or startup costs. I used the amount I had earned in employment as a rough marker to aim at. It was realistic enough without being stupidly ambitious. And between us, I gave myself a little leeway – I was prepared mentally and, to a certain extent, financially if I didn’t hit the ground running.
Let tech do the maths
In total, 88% of spreadsheets contain at least one error. So naturally I didn’t waste time doing sums myself. The financial side of freelancing is no strength of mine, so onto the internet it was, where I found a nifty tool on Product Hunt called Hourly. It’s rough around the edges, but it turned out to be a real time saver. Punch in the number of hours and days you expect or want to work, your business expenses such as internet, accounting or coworking spend, day-to-day expenses such as bills and living costs and your desired income each month. Hourly will estimate your tax costs and overall expenses before suggesting an hourly rate to charge for your services. Just multiply this by the number of hours in your working day and you have your minimum day rate – minimum because you can increase your price depending on experience, industry, location and even demand.
Some costs stay fixed, and some will vary. Your income might rise and fall, particularly at the start of your freelance career – which is why
your financial plan needs a degree of flexibility. Whether you’re faced with a dry patch, or you spend time chasing late payments, prepare and plan for the worst. This way you should be covered, and anything you earn above is a bonus.
Cash flow matters
Even if your business overheads are low, cash flow is king. As a freelancer, you quickly get used to being paid at odd times of the month and, inevitably, late. To speed up payment, I now invoice immediately and with 14-day
Freelancing isn’t just about making ends meet. We don’t work this way to survive, we do it to prosper. terms – which does the trick most of the time. That and a bunch of good clients, of course. For sending out invoices I use Albert, a free mobile invoicing app that creates personalised invoices instantly. I’ve started invoicing on the tube and on the go, which makes life just that little bit easier. It’s well worth taking advantage of every app and gadget out there though. They exist to make our lives easier. Check out the likes of Monizo – “the bank account for freelancers”, along with the handful of other tools Gemma Church has reviewed in this issue.
Have one eye on tomorrow
A financial plan changes over time. And if all goes well, the plan you created to simply survive your first six months of freelancing could well be redundant in four. Because freelancing isn’t just about making ends meet. We don’t work this way to survive, we do it to prosper. Don’t we? So the moment your freelance career begins to take off, be prepared to make longer, more ambitious financial plans.
Affordable Tech: Financial Apps By Gemma Church Hate the financial side of running a business? There are plenty of apps promising to relieve this administrative burden. Some help you keep on top of your expenses, others offer a whole suite of features to save you time and, therefore, money. Here are four top financial planning apps:
Intuit QuickBooks is a big hitter in the freelance financial planning scene. With more than 1.5 million online subscribers, it has an impressive range of intuitive features to give you “the snapshots you need to see the big picture”. For example, you can connect your bank or credit card to automate your expenses, and a handy coloured bar makes it easy to see which customers have paid and any outstanding or late invoices. The app also claims to save you eight hours a month on accounting tasks and gets you paid two days faster. Prices start at £6 a month for solo freelancers, £15 a month for small businesses with simple accounting needs and £25 a month for the full feature package. You can also sign up for a 30-day trial, without handing over your credit card details. “Uncertainty about how much tax you'll owe HMRC at year end can be highly worrying. QuickBooks gives you confidence by providing up to date estimates of how much to save in taxes based on your income, expenses and mileage.” – Keith Arkle, Marketing Manager QuickBooks UK
Harpoon takes a different approach to other apps. It encourages you to set and hit a yearly revenue goal. It’s a great concept and the app is designed around this premise of encouraging financial success. Harpoon is incredibly feature-rich. As well as invoicing and expenses tools, it has timetracking software and lets you manage the financial details of individual projects. It also includes in-depth analytics features so you can monitor your business and a new expenses budgeting feature to give you even more control over your financial health.
Benedict Smith is the Founder of Levo London (@levo_london), a PR agency which crafts beautiful content, thoughtprovoking and powerful campaigns to get people thinking, sharing and buying.
Andy Johnson, Co-founder of Harpoon, says: “Harpoon is unique in that it combines financial goals, planning, budgeting, time tracking and billing in a single package. This empowers the freelancer to schedule and predict their workload based on their financial goal progress. The result is increased control of your time and money, and a peace and confidence that’s not normally associated with the freelancing lifestyle.”
You can start with a 14-day trial and then you will pay $19(£15) a month for two users, $39(£30) a month for eight users or $99(£80) a month for 20 users.
Loot wants to show you “what you can do, when you can do it and how much it will cost you”. Not just an app, Loot also includes a business bank account. When you open an account, you get a Mastercard that’s linked to the app. Your expenses are automatically uploaded and categorised to help you understand exactly where you’re spending the most money each month. You can use the card abroad and set budgets to prevent overspending. The app is yet to launch but if you’re interested you can sign up to the waiting list.
Monizo is “a bank account for freelancers” that you can open in a few minutes. The app will provide instant expense notifications, an automated tax estimate so you don’t get caught out by HMRC, notifications on payment and scheduled reminders for late receipts. There’s a handy dashboard so you can see your monthly cash flow, and your transactions, including receipts, invoices and bank statements, are all consolidated in one place. You can also send this transaction information to your accountant at the click of a button or just hook it up to your accounting package. Samuel O’Connor, Co-founder and CEO at Monizo, says: “When we went freelance, we just got fed up with how difficult it was to manage our money. We found we were spending a lot of time digging out receipts and working out if we’d been paid or not. So we used what we know about banking to set up a business that offers freelancers an alternative bank account where the card does the work for you. We wanted it to be really simple to use and to do much more than a traditional bank account, like help us save for tax and integrate with accounting packages.” Monizo is set to launch this year and you can sign up to get early access to the product or join its waiting list. Definitely one to watch.
The self-assessment deadline is 31 January and some freelancers will get caught out
The dog ate my tax return,N A N C E and other stories
Words by Mark Williams As HMRC’s tax return deadline approaches, there’s a cast-iron guarantee that they will be hearing some creative excuses for late submission. Last year, one business owner said she couldn’t concentrate because she saw a volcanic explosion on the news, while another apparently had an argument with his wife and went to Italy for five years. A third – my personal favourite – was late due to “a runin with a cow”. It’s probably fair to assume these events did not happen. They likely left it too late. They’re not alone; HMRC figures suggest 870,000 taxpayers, or one in thirteen business owners, failed to file their returns for 2014-15. But some of them, like freelance content marketer Chelsea Haden, had a genuine nightmare. “I moved house in November 2012 and requested a new Government Gateway ID and tax reference number, as they were lost in the move,” she says. “But in January, there was apparently no record of me contacting them. Instead, I was told to call my local tax office – and was put through to somebody who said there was no such thing. “I sent some old paper forms along with a letter of reason for being late. But they then sent a letter to say I’d incurred a £100 penalty for late filing, which I contested three times. I heard nothing for a few months, as the fines clocked up to £600!” Fortunately, Chelsea contested the fines again and again, and finally, HMRC accepted her appeal. But it was a long and stressful process, and one best avoided at all costs.
A spot of forward planning is essential to make sure the notorious tax-return-eating dog stays out of your neighbourhood. Yes, that’s another one. You need to keep records of all the workrelated transactions you make – your business sales and income, all your business expenses, the VAT you’ve paid and charged, the income you’ve paid yourself, and so on. An accountant can help you with this. “It’s all about discipline,” Darren says. “Taking a few moments to keep up to date is a fantastic way to stay ahead of the curve and make sure you’re on time. Try uploading scans or photographs into a Dropbox folder so they’re in one place, which you can then share with your accountant.”
Making the process simpler
Matt Fryer, Senior Compliance Manager at Brookson Accounting, thinks it’s always easiest to use HMRC’s online tool. “Our best advice would be to keep as organised as possible,” he says. “HMRC will calculate your bill upon submission. You can submit your return at any time from the end of the tax year, so if you could do it from 7 April, why wait until 31 January? “When you’re budgeting for your personal tax bill, don’t forget about ‘payments on account’. These are payments in advance of next year’s tax bill which are due on 31 January and 31 July. They’re payable if your self-assessment tax bill is more than £1,000 and you haven’t already paid more than 80% of all the tax you owe at source.”
What happens if I miss the deadline?
The bad news is that you’re probably going to get fined. It can get expensive; if you’re 29 days late or fewer they’ll fine you £100. If you’re between 30 days and three months late, it’s £10 for each day (on top of the initial £100), totalling £1,000 after the whole three months. Any later and the costs really do begin to rack up. HMRC’s online tool can help you calculate the amount owed if you find yourself in this position. However, if you really do have a good reason, all is not lost. According to Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, they’re not all out to get us. “We understand that life can be unpredictable,” she says. “For those customers who have a genuine excuse for missing the 31 January deadline, help is on hand. My advice would be to contact us through our helplines or online, as soon as possible.”
The bottom line
An accountant’s advice would be to get an accountant. They’d probably be right. Keeping track of the many hundreds, if not thousands, of transactions your business makes over a year is a colossal task. If you make a mistake, the penalties will almost certainly outweigh the cost of hiring a professional to take care of it for you. Apart from that, just plan a little further in advance this year, and unlike one freelancer in 2015, you won't get stuck up a mountain in Wales, unable to find a postbox.
Making sure you’re on time
“Don’t panic,” says Darren Roberts, Head of Contractor Services at Dynamo Accounts. “The form isn’t overly complex and you should be able to complete it within an evening. It can also be completed in a few sittings, saving your progress as you go along, but for most people this won’t really be necessary.”
the freelancer’s guide to delhi Words by Mridu Khullar Relph
hen F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposite ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” he might as well have been talking about Delhi, a city brimming with contradictions He might as well have been talking about Delhi, a city brimming with contradictions. If you’re ready for a challenge, to take each day as an adventure, to start walking without knowing where the path is leading, to know where you’re heading and still be surprised at where you reach, Delhi is the city for you. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. It’s that sense of adventure that brought freelance journalist Nilanjana Bhowmick back to India after a stint in the UK. “I was working with the World Today programme in BBC radio as a producer and dabbling in news [from India]. I was involved in the region and yet I could only do so much,” she says. She missed the excitement of being with the people she was reporting on and so she returned home to become a freelancer. “News wise, India is a much more vibrant place than the UK. I wanted to be where the action was.”
And action there is. Whether you’re a journalist reporting on the politics and economy of a growing nation or a designer who simply wants the bustle of being in a new city, Delhi offers a wide variety of experiences and a guarantee that no two days are ever the same.
Getting set up
Your first few days in Delhi are also likely to be your most difficult. If you can get yourself set up quickly, it gets a lot easier. Initially, you need to find yourself a hotel. “If budget permits, then [stay at the] Hyatt, which has a good business centre or the Diplomat hotel in Chanakyapuri,” says Nilanjana. “If budget is a constraint, then try Paharganj. I personally prefer Paharganj because of the people.” Paharganj is the first stop for backpackers in India, and it is for that very reason that locals are often available to help make the transition easier and enable a connection with other new arrivals to the country who may be able to help you get set up. If you’re in Delhi only for a short time, it’s preferable to keep your status as a sole trader or limited company in your country of origin and hire an Indian accountant to see if you can
benefit from any tax treaties to avoid paying taxes in two countries. If you’re only in India for a short while, ask your clients if they’ll pay you via PayPal or direct bank transfers instead. But if you plan to stay longer term, opening a bank account is a good idea to ensure that you can get paid in rupees. The process is easy and quick and requires only your passport and proof of address, assuming that you’re renting a place.
Freelancers in Delhi are young and middle class so more likely to be making plans online Although there is work to be found in Delhi, Nilanjana says it’s a good idea for freelancers to make contacts before they arrive. Having international clients while living in Delhi can allow you to benefit from the currency conversion rates and make the transition much smoother.
Where to work and getting around
Nilanjana says she’s worked from her home office for almost the entirety of the past decade. Most freelancers in Delhi, in fact, prefer this arrangement. There are coworking spaces everywhere in India but they’re mostly used by start-ups, and the functionality and dynamic of coworking spaces isn’t quite what it is in the UK. Coffee shops are a great alternative, according to Nilanjana. There are several small independent ones with a lot of character, but if you’re looking for some quiet space and a reliable Wi-Fi connection, you can’t go wrong with one of the many multinational coffee chains in the city. Getting around is not too difficult either. The metro connects much of the city, but for places where the trains don’t go, you can hire auto rickshaws or taxis without breaking the bank.
It can take a while to get the lay of the land and you’ll be overcharged in the beginning, but once you start moving around more you will be able to judge how much the fare should be between different parts of the city. Remember, in Delhi, everything is a negotiation. If you’re not sharpened up on those skills yet, don’t worry. The city teaches you.
Networking and support
The best way to find like-minded people in Delhi? Strangely, it’s the internet. There are tonnes of freelancer meet-ups and events happening all over the city at any point in time, but it is a big place and if you’re new, you may not hear about them immediately. Meeting people online first, joining groups, and then participating in meet-ups is far more effective than old-school networking because most of the freelancers in Delhi are young and middle class so more likely to be making plans online. If you’re a writer or journalist, check out the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, where you can find other expats and journalists who live and work in Delhi. Every Thursday evening, journalists from around the city come together to chat, talk and have a few drinks. New people are always welcomed. Do go with an existing member your first time, however.
Delhi is not the easiest of cities to navigate or live in but ask anyone who has ever spent time there and they will tell you that it is one of the most memorable. You will be challenged. Nothing will ever go to plan. You will find yourself becoming more self-assured and resourceful. And you will grow. As a freelancer, nothing can ever compare with the excitement of that.
NASA GIVES LIFT-OFF TO FREELANCERS IPSE Magazine spoke to Steve Rader just before Christmas to ask him why NASA turns to freelance talent Words by James Gribben, IPSE Head of Press
teve Rader is Deputy Manager of NASA's Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI). The centre focuses on the study and use of curated, crowd-sourcing communities that utilise prize and challenge-based methods to deliver innovative solutions for NASA and the US Government. When I spoke to Steve, he was at his office at NASA’s iconic Johnson Space Center in Houston. Why did CoECI first turn to freelance talent? “In the early days, we ran pilot projects to address just that question because we are known for our innovation. When we looked at the results we found that we received ideas our own community hadn’t come up with and we saw this replicated over and over.” “We worked with Harvard Business School to help us study why this was happening and how this was happening and what the dynamics behind crowd-based challenges "are. One study involved solving really hard problems and they found that 70% of the time these successes were coming from individuals outside of the core discipline. “If it was a chemistry problem, most of the time the innovation was coming from someone who was not a chemistry professional. They may have had some knowledge of chemistry but they brought another skillset from another domain. That’s a very powerful message. “Even if you have really smart people, they can get into a bit of an idea bubble and you have to find a way to break out of that. True innovation often comes from diversity of thought. People with unique experience and expertise.” What kinds of projects might a freelancer hope to get involved in? “My group has run about 250 challenges over the last five years. It has involved everything from algorithms for pointing ISS solar arrays to application development and swarm technology ideas to air traffic control. “People are always surprised by how well the crowd comes up with an answer. If you look at the numbers, it makes a lot of sense. By reaching out to platforms like Freelancer, Topcoder or Grabcad, you have access to a huge pool of talent, especially when you consider there are just 60,000 people working at NASA when you include all of the contractors. It’s a way to find ideas and expertise that you don’t have. When you think of NASA, you think of some of the most skilled people in the world, so why not
turn to them, or hire an employee to dedicate themselves to some of these challenges? “We’re not replacing anything that we normally do. We have employees who do design work, engineering and all of these functions. This is a way of augmenting that. Diversity of ideas and innovative inputs can be injected into our design ideas.
How does NASA decide which freelancers are selected to be the winners of the competitions? “How freelance talent is selected depends on the competition being run. Sometimes we have specific requirements and design goals that we’re trying to hit, while at other times it’s more open.
“We run a full range of projects. On our larger challenges, those can be six months to a year. For smaller, well-defined projects, I can have a call at 8am and post it at noon. In terms of execution, that makes freelancers a perfect solution. A recent example involved designing a display to train astronauts on using torque tools under water and that project was turned around very quickly.”
“We often work with the curated communities themselves like freelancer.com. In this way, each community is incentivised by different things.” Have any winners gone on to work with NASA again? “It has happened. We have had cases with repeat winners, even when we look to a pool
of 20 million pIus. And in some cases, it has led to further work with us, but it depends on how technical the project is.” NASA is offering a fantastic opportunity to freelancers all over the world – to work for arguably the most famous space agency in the world. If you want to make the most of this opportunity, check the websites that Steve mentioned, including www.nasa. gov\solve, www.freelancer.com, www. topcoder.com and www.grabcad.com Competitions can be anything from designing a logo for a mission, to creating a robot for the Space Center. Good luck!
“It gives us flexibility. Our job is to explore space, but we have a limited amount of funds and we have to maximise the return of those dollars in that goal. We also want to do that in a way that engages the public and I think what we see with the freelance world provides a bigger bang for your buck while bringing innovation and being flexible and nimble. “NASA also has a clear mandate to engage the public in space exploration. And one of the ways we have traditionally done that is to get the word out, saying: ‘Hey, this is what space exploration is, this is how we do it. Isn’t it cool?’ And that’s great. A lot of people really respond to that. But one of the things I really love about our challenges is it allows us to engage the public in a real and meaningful way. They are actually contributing to the mission. “We get a lot of participation. People really have a drive to be a part of our mission. I get messages from competitors all the time saying: “This has been amazing to work on, even if I didn’t win.” They’ve always had a dream of working for NASA.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG? jim storer
Where are you based?
What’s your occupation?
How would you describe yourself?
How many years of experience do you have in your field?
CURRENT PROJECT: decommissioning projects in the nuclear industry
Decommissioning old nuclear reactors can be quite a time-consuming task. Many of the early reactors across the UK are undergoing this process right now as the generation of plants created in the fifties and sixties are getting to the end of their life cycle. I’m currently working with Magnox. Projects can take a year to 18 months, much of which will be spent designing and manufacturing new equipment. I spend quite a bit of time working on the Berkeley Vaults Projects. The vaults are a large legacy underground waste storage facility. Projects are currently underway to retrieve the waste from the vaults and package in containers for interim storage on site.
The Berkeley Waste Vaults
Between 1962 and 1989 the Berkeley nuclear power plant in Gloucestershire generated 43 TWh of electricity. The waste products from this site were buried underground in vaults. In 2010 the nuclear reactors at Berkeley became the first in the UK to be placed into Safestore (a passive state) while the site is cleared. This process will take an estimated 65 years and the reactors will start to be dismantled in 2074. Dealing with the waste in the vaults is a large part of the process, as there is a unique mix of waste from the reactor and from the nearby labs. All of this must be carefully stored so as not to affect the environment. The process of solving the long-term storage problem has involved years of testing.
Backup battery: ANKER– 2nd gen Astro E7
When searching for one of these online, I chose the biggest one I could find. It actually would just about fit in your back pocket, and when it’s in the backpack I don’t notice the weight at all. But it’s big on power – I can charge my phone or laptop so many times using this. It’s a brilliant product and probably the most important thing I carry around with me as it means I can work for long periods, anywhere. In industrial settings you don’t often get plug sockets, and on the move I can work and never worry about running out of power.
Phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
I chose this phone because it’s big enough to look up data sheets and other technical information on the move or in meetings. If I’m on site, it’s quite fiddly to get out my laptop. On the phone I can quickly bring up big datasheets or technical documents and check information as I’m going (and sound knowledgeable).
Torch: a really cheap LED one from Tesco
As you can see, I chose a bog standard one. It’s important to carry it around though as I’m often working in the dark, and if I open up a panel I need to know what I’m looking at inside. Things would be quite difficult without it!
Laptop – an old 15in Acer
My laptop is six years old now, so getting on a bit. I need to upgrade it really, but it does the job. I have to write up a lot of reports in Word, Excel and other Office programs. Most of my days are spent doing these. Occasionally I’m asked to go to site to support some of the operational plant.
This is a requirement in my line of work. If I forget it there’s always the option to borrow one from the gatehouse, but it’s nice to carry around your own.
Laser distance tool: Bosch PLR 15m
This is very useful when I’m on site because you don’t need someone to hold the other end of the tape. You just point and the laser shoots out and you can instantly see the distance between objects. It’s great for quickly checking dimensions of transit routes and even better when access is difficult and you need to measure heights. No need for awkward stepladders.
Lunch – the most important bit
I would definitely refer to myself as a hungry bear – I do love my lunches. Some days it’s sandwiches, but the best days are when I have last night’s leftovers. My favourite I’d say would be a classic spag bol, but I recently had coq au vin and that was brilliant.
REVIEW ROOKIEOVEN, GLASGOW @rookieoven | rookieoven.com RookieOven is a coworking space at the centre of a tech revolution and appears in the top 20 tech clusters in the UK, according to the Tech Nation 2016 report. According to Michael Hayes, one of the Founders: “RookieOven started in 2011 as a meet-up to bring together tech start-ups in Glasgow. The community grew over the years until it became natural to open up a space… I felt a coworking space with event space would be a perfect hub to bring people together.” It is now home to a wide range of tech professionals, further fuelled by a city supporting this sector. As Michael says: “We have a broad range of skillsets in the space, from web and mobile development to design and photography.” The final thing that sets RookieOven apart? “For me it’s the calibre of people who work here. We have some of the very best tech talent in the city working from RookieOven. But the space is also unique being in the drawing offices of a Victorian shipyard; we have tonnes of natural light and, as a developer, it’s cool to work in a space with such a proud engineering heritage.” Prices start at £120 + VAT a month and come with a host of benefits.
co-working & coffee LIVERPOOL SCIENCE PARK, LIVERPOOL | @LpoolSciencePrk liverpoolsciencepark.co.uk Liverpool Science Park (LSP) has a close affinity with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, and is located in the Knowledge Quarter in the centre of Liverpool. This area is home to the research and education organisations in the city. In total, the LSP provides over 120,000sq ft of office space, split between labs, starter pods, the Innovation Hub and the Rubix Room. As George Barclay, one of the team behind the LSP, says: “[They] were organic changes made to our smaller office spaces to better suit the needs of SMEs and microbusinesses in their infancy.” The Rubix Room is available to individuals looking for 24-hour access to the LSP, a central Liverpool location and to share a space with like-minded individuals. “The companies which have used our smaller office spaces vary greatly,” says George, “from biomedical companies to virtual reality engineers, and from clinical app designers to innovators in the education sector.” And it’s a self-operating not-for-profit company, which allows it to “constantly reinvest into the park’s facilities, ultimately to the benefit of our tenants”. Prices start at £100 + VAT a month.
IPSE Futures gives you the opportunity to take advantage of group rates for a variety of flexible benefits. Weâ€™ll be adding to these throughout the year, but you are now able to join pension, life assurance and private medical insurance schemes at group rates - usually at a fraction of the cost you would pay as an individual.
IPSE Plus members will also automatically receive ÂŁ5000 base life assurance cover as part of their Plus membership.
www.ipse.co.uk/futures October 2016
JAN FEB MAR Wellbeing for Business, series of seminars
RBS 6 NATIONS STARTS 4th FEBRUARY
International Women’s Day 2017 #BeBoldForChange
8th March, details TBC
26th January/23rd February/23rd March 1:30pm, Metal Box Factory London Attend a seminar individually, or the whole series, and develop techniques to increase energy and production levels, reduce stress and focus your attention. www.ipse.co.uk/events
valentine's day 14th february
To show our ongoing support for women in work, IPSE will again be involved in International Women’s Day this year. More information to follow on our website at www.ipse.co.uk
LONDON FASHION WEEK 17th February-21st February
SXSW Conferences 10th March–19th March, Austin, Texas USA International music, film and interactive media festival. More info at sxsw.com
LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN WEBSITE Proactive, empowered and confident freelancing a museum freelance event
'work from home' week
18th February, 10:30am–4:30pm Manchester 16th January-22nd January If you work from home , why not celebrate it? www.workfromhomeweek.co.uk
Hosted by Katy Carlisle, founder of The Wheel Exists. For more information or to register visit www.thewheelexists. com/squarespace-training-courses/ manchester-workshops
self-assessment online deadline 31st January www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns/ overview
Shout out to Katrina Bruni! Katrina recently became an IPSE member and wrote about us and the importance of support, so thank Katrina. You can read her blog Beau Twins at www. beautwins.com
13th March, 10:30am, TBC
Hear from speakers who are self-employed in the museums/heritage industry. www.ipse.co.uk/events
APR ANOTHER YEAR STARTS!
Start of the new financial year in the UK
Celebrating excellence in independence The IPSE Awards 2017 are open for entries from 20th January â€“ 17th March enter now at: nationalfreelancersday.com/ipse-awards Friday 17th March
Thursday 13th April
Thursday 8th June
National Freelancers Day 2017 with evening awards ceremony
020 8897 9970