Chris Bryce reflects on a busy few months for self-employment. In the space of a month, the UK has held a General Election, celebrated National Freelancers Day and seen the publication of the long awaited Taylor Review.
Summer is here, and I hope you’re all enjoying a welldeserved break.
IPSE has a lot planned for the next 12 months, and we’ll have some very exciting announcements to make throughout the year. But for now, let me just say that we are always looking for ways to expand not only our membership offering, as well as the range of independent professionals we speak for, ensuring that we are as representative as possible of the entire self-employed community.
Since the last IPSE Magazine, we have welcomed many professional drivers who use the Uber app into our membership. To you, and all our recent joiners, welcome. You arrive at a time when it would be difficult for self
employment to be higher in the political agenda.
Now I’d like to give particular thanks to the team at IPSE for organising a wonderful National Freelancers Day. This year as every year, we shouted from the rooftops about how great it is to work for yourself, and also gave some muchdeserved recognition to the exemplary work being done by self-employed people right across the country. And as well as our brilliant winners, I’d also like to congratulate everyone who was nominated for an award this year. You are all a credit to our community.
On a more political note, the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices has now been published – amid much anticipation. And it’s IPSE’s responsibility – as the leading voice for freelancers in the UK – to protect people who
actually choose to be self-employed from any negative consequences. I know most of you work this way because you want to be your own boss and do things on your own terms. That’s why we’re glad the Review recognised the major contribution that you, the self-employed, make to our economy.
As well as recognition for the self-employed, there are also a lot of positive recommendations in the Review, which we hope the Government will act on. However, the Review’s call to replace ‘worker’ status with ‘dependent contractor’ could add to the existing confusion.
At IPSE, we believe a statutory definition of selfemployment is the best solution. This would give legal clarity about who is and isn’t genuinely in business for themselves, as well removing the need for costly, stressful and time-consuming employment tribunals. It would also help distinguish the people who really need to be supported from the vast majority of people who actually choose to be self-employed, whether as independent contractors, consultant interim managers, or working in the so-called ‘gig economy’. The next steps will be important. First, there will need to be further consultation before the significant changes suggested can actually inform any new legislation. IPSE will be fully engaged with this process, making the positive case for self-employment.
Finally, onto internal business. In the coming months, IPSE will be holding elections to our board, which is responsible for setting the strategic direction of our organisation. It has been my pleasure to serve the board since becoming chief executive, and in the autumn any member in good standing and who’s been an IPSE member for at least one year can put their name forward to stand for the board. Becoming a director is a big commitment, but a rewarding one. I urge anyone interested to put themselves forward.
Details of how to stand will be circulated to all members by our chairman James Collings in early September.