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 self-employment, 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.
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!