IR35: Are Companies Aware of Supply Chain Risk?

IR35 is now almost upon us, and one of the main complaints we have had from contractors and sub-contractors is that many companies are being slow to review contracts and make status determinations.

The concept of IR35, on paper, should be pretty straight forward to implement. A contractor deemed outside IR35 continues as they are with only some adjustments to the way they set up their own company and tax liabilities, and those deemed inside IR35 receive their net income instead of their gross salary and the employer pays their tax direct to HMRC. In reality, the burden on a principal employer is far greater. The process of reviewing contracts, making determinations, assessing liabilities and then adjusting contractual relationships with individuals or agencies to be compliant has proved quite daunting for many.

The problem has been compounded by many not considering their supply chain and associated liabilities. A huge proportion of the UK’s contract workforce are in technical roles both on and off site and there is a concern that some sectors such as construction, may see project costs rise as a result of IR35, especially in the short term.

The key steps are firstly identifying contractors supplying their services through an intermediary is and completing due diligence on the supply chain. This includes the financial position of the entities in the chain. Secondly, it is essential that status determinations are then communicated to everyone within the contractual supply chain. Supply chain transparency is essential to mitigate risks.

Whatever the outcomes and repercussions, it is clear that end employers should already be knee deep in the review process if they are to meet the looming April deadline for compliance. Whilst HMRC have said there will be a “soft-landing” approach over the next 12 months to those that can prove they are trying to meet requirements, the process of review and assessment needs to be completed as a matter of urgency to avoid any potential disruptions to the labour supply chain.

The preparation process should include the following:
1) Engage with stakeholders. Engage with your contractors, managers and agencies to tell them what you are doing and discuss how you can work together.
2) Conduct an audit Understand who your contingent workers are, how are they engaged, what the contracts look like, how they are paid and what the associated risks are.
3) Create a process. Following a process which allows fair and thorough assessments of workers and safeguards the organisation against any liabilities, with minimal impact to the day to day operations.
4) Implementation. Consistent implementation involving all stakeholders ensuring ‘Reasonable Care’ is demonstrated.

We are able to work with you to help create processes to best protect the business with minimal impact. Carrington West, along with our supply chain partners, have a huge amount of experience of navigating the legislation changes and can help your organisation further understand IR35 and its implications.

One Month to IR35: Top Tips for Private Sector Contractors Looking to Work “Outside” IR35.

By James Fernandes, March 3rd, 2020

IR35 regulations are extending to the private sector in one month, so time is running out for contractors to ensure they are compliant after April 6th 2020. If you consider yourself “outside” IR35 and wish to continue operating so, there a number of measures you can take to help you address the implications of IR35.

1. Conduct a contract review. In other words, get your house in order. Working with your current client(s) to make sure they understand that your services are employed for a specific reason and that they are not seeing you as an extension of their permanent team. This will avoid any misunderstandings and make it more likely that they will treat you accordingly. Ensure that your contracts are accurate and consistent and clearly state the service you are offering and that it is independent of the client’s control.

2. Exercise your right of substitution. HMRC consider this, and personal service, as a key factor in demonstrating IR35 status. If you are able to send a replacement even for a day, you are consolidating your position and enhancing the argument for your “outside” IR35 status determination.

3. Show how you are treated differently to an organisation’s employees. Different pay and benefits are not enough, collectively, factors such as

• flexible working hours
• unpaid holiday and sick pay
• other/multiple clients
• your own equipment
• your own training and development
• a company name that is not your own, with marketing material
• working to a fixed fee for project delivery
These are all indicative of a genuine contractor arrangement. It maybe helpful to produce and maintain a document that details the evidence that you are a genuine contractor and not a disguised employee.

4. Take out business insurance (specifically professional indemnity) if you don’t already have it. This is another factor HMRC look at when considering whether you are genuinely running your own business or not.

5. HMRC’s CEST (Check Employment Status for Tax) tool provides a useful indication of IR35 status. However, it does not guarantee an accurate determination and can give a rather unhelpful ‘undetermined’ outcome. Since its launch the tool has also been criticised for not taking into account Mutuality of Obligation (MOO). MoO refers to the obligation of an employer to provide work and pay for it, together with the obligation of the employee to personally do the work. The lack of any MoO in the relationship between the parties would be a clear indicator of a contract for services rather than a contract of employment, thus the lack of emphasis CEST puts on this when reviewing the IR35 status is problematic.

6. Get expert advice. Recruiters are among many well-versed professionals that can give you clear guidance on how best to approach IR35. At Carrington West, we guided many public sector contractors through the process when it first applied to the public sector a few years ago.

Highways programme approved to help move Hertfordshire forward

£46 million worth of highways schemes have been given the go ahead by Hertfordshire County Council.

Between April 2020 and March 2021 over £46 million will be spent delivering nearly 1,500 maintenance and improvement schemes across Hertfordshire’s 3,000 miles of road.

Planned works include repairs and maintenance to roads, pavements, bridges and traffic signals, as well as improvements such as tackling safety problems, reducing traffic congestion, and making walking and cycling more practical and attractive options.

This year’s highways funding includes £8m which the county council is spending on improving the condition of local roads people live and work on, as the latest part of a five-year £37m programme targeted on those smaller, local roads.

Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, said: “We’ve increased the budget for highway improvements to make sure we can deliver the maintenance and improvement schemes that our roads need, and we’re investing £37m over five years to improve the unclassified road network – that’s the roads most of us live on as well as rural lanes.

“We know that the condition of the county’s roads really matters to our residents, and it matters to us too. While we can’t do everything, this work programme, along with the regular repairs we do, will make a real difference to roads across the county.”

The Integrated Works Programme covers a full range of highway maintenance and improvement schemes that the council undertakes each year. These schemes are in addition to the minor repairs and routine maintenance, such as fixing potholes and cutting grass verges, which are carried out throughout the year.

The works are prioritised in a number of ways. For maintenance works we include a combination of roads – both those that need repairs because they are in a poor state now and those that need preventative maintenance work to avoid problems in the near future – while improvement schemes take into account factors like reducing accidents, tackling congestion and making it easier for people to walk, cycle or use public transport instead of their car.

The works programme is ‘integrated’ because, once we have established priorities, we look to see how those schemes can best be delivered together to increase efficiency and reduce disruption on the roads.

The importance of green building to promote wellbeing and sustainability

Sustainable timber construction panel manufacturer, MEDITE SMARTPLY explores the importance of a green building rating system to promote wellbeing and sustainability

In the time since the first green building rating system was established – BREEAM in 1990 – we have come to recognise the potential for buildings to not only safeguard but actively promote health and wellbeing, as well as sustainability.

We spend around 90% of our lives indoors – more than enough time for each and every building we encounter over our lifetime to have a tangible impact on our quality of life.

Across the world, building regulations and rating systems have evolved to reflect this, helping us to track our progress, maintain standards and incentivise more designers and developers to build greener, healthier spaces.

Across the UK, BREEAM is still the dominant green building rating system, ingrained in regulations. In the rest of Europe and beyond, however, LEED leads the way and has also evolved to focus not only on a building’s environmental impact, but on its human impact.

Now, the newest green building certification, The WELL Standard, is the standard-bearer for wellbeing in the built environment.

But it’s not just our thinking that’s evolved when it comes to wellbeing; technology has as well. The products we can now develop have enabled us to use the power of buildings to keep our bodies healthy, our minds calm, and even make our work more efficient – and do it all sustainably.

Sustainable timber construction panels

Products such as MEDITE CLEAR – a sustainably produced MDF specially manufactured with no added formaldehyde for interior fit-outs. Developed with even the most sensitive environments in mind, MEDITE CLEAR has a formaldehyde content of less than 1.0mg per 100g; the equivalent to levels found in wood in natural environments. It even outperforms the stringent Class E1 (EN622-1) low formaldehyde standards.

Consciously limiting the level of formaldehyde able to be emitted by building products is a major factor in maintaining the best indoor air quality possible, and in turn in mitigating issues like Sick Building Syndrome, which can seriously impact work productivity as well as general quality of life.

Sick Building Syndrome is where building product VOC emissions, such as formaldehyde from wood products, combined with poor ventilation, can eventually build up to a level where people are lethargic and plagued with headaches and irritable moods. Other factors that can influence this are temperature and lack of light.

By specifying an interior MDF product that is not only sustainably produced but that has no added formaldehyde, we can consciously limit the VOCs indoors and proactively work towards maintaining healthier building interiors, and more sustainable buildings overall.green building, Sustainable timber construction panel,

Most recognised green building standard

Today, LEED is the world’s most widely used green building standard with projects in more than 167 countries and more than 205,800 gross sq m of space certifying every day.

Whichever green building standard is the aim though, specifying MEDITE CLEAR for a project could help it to lead the way when it comes to health, wellbeing and sustainability.

As part of the green building community, we ensure all our products are FSC® and PEFC® certified, are entirely sustainably produced with wellbeing in mind for both installers and building occupants.

Amey Consulting trials patented sensor technology to tackle sewer flooding

A new technology recently patented by Amey Consulting in the UK is currently undergoing trials with the Water Research Council to tackle the problem of sewer flooding.

 

Sewer flooding in the UK is a major issue – in 2018, over 3,200 properties were internally flooded by sewers causing millions of pounds worth of damage.

Water industry regulator Ofwat also imposes fines on the water companies for exceeding the allowed number of sewer flooding incidents – each incident can potentially cost a utility company over £40,000.

The technology is based on capacitive sensors (the same technology which is used in smartphone screens) to detect the depth and speed of the flow in the pipe. Analysis of the data picked up by the sensors is used to assess where blockages are and to predict the likelihood of flooding so that utility companies can take preventative action. Key advantage of the technology is its extremely low power consumption,combined with the use of cloud processing, that gathers insight from data across the whole sewer network rather than from individual sensors.

Commenting, Charles Oldham, Head of Strategic Consulting, Amey, said:

“Amey Consulting is working closely with our clients and partners to solve the problem of sewer blockages that lead to flooding, a situation that is exacerbated by our increasingly wetter weather.

“This is an exciting technology that if piloted successfully with our utility clients in 2020, could have further applications across large estates such as airports, cities that are impacted by being on or close to a flood plain or for local authorities trying to manage highways flooding.”

The data captured from the sensors will be communicated to the cloud via a mobile network operator at regular intervals. This enables utility companies, using a data analytics platform, to predict and take preventative action on sewer floods.

For connectivity of the project at the current trial stage, Amey Consulting is using the next-generation NB-IoT technology, which is specifically designed for this type of application. The next stage is a pilot programme with utility companies. If these are successful, Amey Consulting will work to commercialise the technology and expand it outside the UK.

Research and development work on the technology was undertaken by Amey Consulting, led by Dr. Stephen Gooberman-Hill and co-inventors Dr. Michele Gaio and Dr. Vergil Yotov. The team drew on the expertise of the Amey Utilities business and the project was supported and funded by Amey Investments.

https://www.waterbriefing.org/home/technology-focus/item/17004-amey-consulting-trials-patented-sensor-technology-to-tackle-sewer-flooding

Overtaking ban and reduced speed limits in place for six months due to roadworks on A27

Improvement works to the A27 near Eastbourne are expected to last for six months, with an overtaking ban being brought in and some speed limits set as low as 40mph.

The works, to be carried out by Highways England, will start on March 10 and end in September, which involve ‘junction improvements’ and ‘widening works’, according to Highways.

Traffic management regulations and road closures have been outlined by Highways. These will be in effect in phases and sometimes lasting up to 24 hours.

The traffic regulations include:

• A 24-hour 40mph speed limit on both carriageways between the bridge over the railway towards Cophall Roundabout

• An overtaking ban between Polegate junction and Cophall Roundabout

• A contraflow system in place for some carriageways

The road closures include:

  • The westbound carriageway between Polegate junction and Gainsborough Avenue
  • Both carriageways between Polegate junction and Wannock Road junction
  • The link road connecting the eastbound carriageway to the northbound carriageway at Polegate junction
  • All of the side roads’ junctions with the roads listed above
  • The footway adjacent to the northbound carriageway near Cophall Roundabout, and also the roundabout itself
  • The pedestrian crossing near Cophall Roundabout

A Highways spokesperson said the measures would be in the interests of road safety and that all traffic regulations will be clearly indicated by signs

Routes for diverted traffic will be via A22, A27, A2021, A2280.

Ep 8 Safely shaping a sustainable railway, Martin Frobisher

Martin Frobisher, Group director, Safety, Technical & Engineering and Network Rail, joins us in the RTM Podcast room to discuss the renewable railway of the future and safety on the track. As a Director of industry giant, Network Rail, Martin has a lot of advice regarding safety and security on railways, but it might not be what you think.

With hosts Emily Rodgers and Ailsa Cowen, the conversation kept flowing in the RTM podcast room in Manchester as we hear all Martin’s role in ensuring the 42,000 network rail staff are working safely, and how this can spread to the wider supply chain.

Find out Martin’s opinion on the Oakervee review, his work with RSSB and what aspect he thinks ‘Britain’s railway has got it right’.

Martin believes that technology is the key to a safer railway and that modern systems can take people away from the path of trains and a Safety Taskforce that has already seen a 30% reduction in the number of people working with lookout flags making a 70% reduction in near missed from people using that method of work.

Another area of passion for Martin is environmental, he talks in depth about a fully electric railway and says a zero-carbon railway is the really big picture for the next 20/30 years.

http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Rail-Industry-Focus-/ep-8-safely-shaping-a-sustainable-railway-martin-frobisher

What Does the New Immigration Points System Mean for the UK Built Environment Sector?

Today the government has announced a new points based immigration system for skilled workers wanting to move to the UK. The system, to be introduced in 2021, will require workers to achieve a total of 70 points to be granted a visa. The points can be achieved by having a skill, receiving a job offer at a minimum salary of £25,600 and possessing English language skills. Additional points can be awarded for specific industry sectors where there is a recognised skills shortage and for additional qualifications.

Despite being announced only a few hours ago, concern has already been voiced from organisations representing unskilled workers who will fail to meet the criteria but who, many argue, are needed especially in sectors such as social care. It is clear that there are still many details that need to be ironed out before the scheme is launched early next year. However, it is also clear that employers and recruiters will need to ensure they are prepared for the changes and play their part in ensuring access to the talent supply.

What does this mean for the built environment sector?

Carrington West works with employers across the public and private sectors on highly skilled technical roles as well as manual labourers, all working on planning, design, implementation and maintenance of major UK infrastructure projects. Blayne Cahill, Director of the Highways & Transport division at Carrington West says of the proposed changes,

“There has already been a focus on the skills gap in areas such as engineering. On the face of it, this could be a way of attracting to the UK those skilled and experienced at delivering much needed projects in the most cost-efficient way. Certainly, in this post Brexit era, it could make our role as recruiters easier if we are able to extend our search beyond geographical boundaries to fill those very niche and highly technical roles. However, we mustn’t lose sight of the initiatives that still need to be put into place to secure a homegrown talent pool. Reskilling or upskilling of existing workers has proved very effective. Similarly, a focus on STEM education in schools and colleges, leading onto government and privately-run apprenticeships is another way to future proof the supply of suitably qualified workers in our sector.”

Blayne goes on to say,

“It remains to be seen how the scheme will impact employees looking for lower paid, unskilled workers. The policy statement released today clearly states the aim is to reduce overall migration levels, and asserts that the number of EU citizens that are currently resident in the UK and can apply for the right to remain will be sufficient to cover any short term shortfalls in lower skilled labour. Whether this is the case remains to be seen.”

Today’s news will not be a surprise to many in the built environment sector but will likely be met with concern. The construction industry, in particular, is reliant on EU lower skilled workers. Mark Reynolds, head of the Construction Leadership Council has already said to industry magazine Building,

“the new system is likely to make it harder for the UK construction sector to deliver the homes and infrastructure we so desperately need”.

Whatever challenges lay ahead, everyone in the recruitment supply chain will need to undertake a period of adjustment. As recruiters, our responsibility is to continue to ensure the recruitment industry works transparently and to the highest possible standards to match employers with available talent wherever that talent may be.

Maple Grove to develop commercial scheme in Lancashire

Maple Grove Developments has been announced as commercial development partners for the Lancashire County Council-led commercial project

The Lancashire commercial development will create thousands of jobs on a 65-hectare site at Cuerden, near Leyland. Situated at the end of the M65 motorway, and close to both the M6 and M61, the development is planned to include office and business space, logistics and manufacturing commercial space, mixed-use areas and housing.

Based in Bamber Bridge, Maple Grove Developments are part of Eric Wright Group. They will now bring their expertise to the plans for the site before detailed plans are submitted later this year.

The City Deal

City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.

The City Deal will help to create more than 20,000 new private-sector jobs and see over 17,000 new homes built across the area, along with new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.

Make Lancashire Central a success

Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the County Council, said: “By working in partnership with Maple Grove on this major development, they will bring their extensive knowledge and expertise to help us to bring thousands of jobs to Lancashire through this very exciting project.

“Maple Grove have many years of experience of developing sites like this and will be integral to bringing our plans to life. They have also based a short distance from the Lancashire Central site at Cuerden, so they also really understand the area.

“It’s vital that we manage this project in the right way so that we create something which works for the needs of business and create jobs in Lancashire, while understanding the location and setting.

“We’re clear that the development of this important site will bring benefits to the whole of Lancashire, through new jobs and growing our economy.”

Karen Hirst, managing director at Maple Grove Developments, added: “As a Lancashire developer we are hugely committed to making Lancashire Central a success.

“Having worked closely with the council on this scheme previously, we feel privileged to have been selected again and look forward to making an immediate start on bringing forward this site to create employment opportunities for the local area.”

 

Wherry Lines see introduction of new signalling system

130 years of signalling history came to an end today (Feb 17th) on the Wherry lines alongside the reopening of the Norwich to Yarmouth line.

This follows completion of work to introduce a new computerised signalling system, improving dependability of train services.

A section of the East Suffolk line from Beccles to Lowestoft also reopened today.

Having been shut since February 1st engineers have switched the signalling system over from the old, Victorian mechanical signals which have been in place for over 130 years, to the modern computer-based system.

Work on the Norwich to Yarmouth line took place at level crossings including Brundall, Lingwood Chapel Road and Station Road to put in place full barriers and crossing lights along with upgrade work to numerous user worked crossing such as Acle Marshes to develop crossing safety.

New signals were also powered up along the lines and signalling engineers moved the last of the local signal box controls to Colchester as part of the modernisation programme.

Signalling work has also took place on the Norwich to Lowestoft line as well as track upgrade works at Lowestoft and renewal points outside of Oulton Broad North allowing railway trains to be directed from one track to another.

Brundall level crossing

 

The reopening of the Norwich to Yarmouth and Beccles to Lowestoft lines will allow engineers to now focus on delivering just over three kilometres of track renewals at Hassingham, improving the journey quality for passengers.

Conclusive work is taking place at Cantely, Strumpshaw and Oulton Broad North level crossings to bring them into use when the Norwich to Lowestoft line is expected to reopen on 24 February.

Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, Ellie Burrows, said: “The completion of the re-signalling work is a significant milestone for the history of the Wherry lines. and we are in a really good position to complete the track works at Hassingham and reintroduce train services on the Norwich to Lowestoft line on 24 February.”

Director at engineering consultancy Atkins, Scott Kelley, said: “Working closely with Network Rail and our supply chain partners, we look forward to completing the transformation of this important route which will serve communities right across Anglia.”

 

http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Rail-News/wherry-lines-see-introduction-of-new-signalling-system-