IR35 is coming and we are already seeing an impact both on individuals working as contractors and the businesses who have grown reliant on the freelance economy.
Large corporations are drastically reducing their contractor headcount, and are enforcing rules with suppliers to restrict the use of contractors by proxy. Almost universally the companies do not want to be held up as the poster child for HMRC’s enforcement of the new IR35 rules.
The solution for many is seen as building up an internal team, but the reality of delivering this is more difficult and has longer term ramifications if the wrong hires are made or the business simply can’t afford the investment this requires.
A clear alternative is to look at specialist agencies who can offer turnkey teams to work on the affected areas. Our view is of course framed on our own passion for digital product design and build, but this is an area majorly impacted by the new rules.
It is difficult for organisations outside major hubs to have access to the pool of talent needed to realise their digital ambitions. Even for those in major centres like London, competition is fierce because demand is outstripping supply. Additionally, contractors are often highly skilled individuals who thrive working on separate projects in different industries for 6-12 month bursts. In short, some of the best people for your company do not want a job, they want an interesting project which will challenge them and push them forwards.
Agency support for key projects is an approach being adopted by many. It is critical however that your engagement is not based on people and time but on a clear SoW.
The agency you work with needs to be able to evidence a clear process of working against deliverables, clear expectations of what can be achieved in a time period, and a mixed set of skills that complement your internal teams. IR35 should actually result in better efficiency, value for money and quality of product, if you can find the right partner to work with.