No more senior roles for IT Contractors in Government departments

senior roles
senior roles

No More Senior Roles

It looks like there will no longer be contract senior roles in the public sector.

According to the new report by the Public Accounts Committee into senior HMRC staff paying themselves through Limited Companies whilst sending out their attack dogs to hunt down IT Contractors for IR35tax:-

‘While off-payroll arrangements may sometimes be appropriate in the public sector for those engaged on a genuinely interim basis, they are not appropriate for those in management positions or those working for a significant period with the same employer.

‘Such arrangements reduce transparency and can be perceived as an endorsement of tax avoidance.”

Contractors as Managers

There you are.

Managers can‘t be contractors and contractors can‘t be managers – at least in the public sector anyway.

It‘s perfectly fine in the private sector – but for how long.

If the Government think it is inappropriate for contractors to take senior roles in their own departments, it‘s only a short step to considering it wrong anywhere – including in the private sector.

Contractors in Senior Roles

But why should contractors not be able to take senior roles?

Why do they just have to be coders or analysts?

Some people go contracting after just 2 or 3 years of their careers and go in at the bottom rung of the ladder.

However, some stay permie for longer and have become Project Leaders or Project Managers or higher before they decide to take the contracting step.

Others start at the bottom rung of contracting and, because of their ability they are hired at levels above the bottom level.

What‘s Wrong With Government Contracts

What‘s wrong with that?

It makes perfect sense to hire those contractors and get the best use out of them.

I don‘t see any good reason why they shouldn‘t take contracts with Government Departments for a period of more than 6 months.

After all, a project would last longer than that.

Hired for Significant Periods

The committee say that contractors shouldn‘t be hired for significant periods.

They see a significant period as being more than 6 months.

But that makes no sense as few major projects are over in six months.

Organisations hire contractors for their flexibility.

Permanent Workers

They don‘t want to take on permanent workers just because they have a spike in work for the duration of a major project.

They don‘t need all the people who work on the project to maintain the system afterwards.

It makes sense to hire permanently only the number of people that will be needed to maintain the project afterwards and hire contractors to make up the rest of the numbers on the project.

That makes sense – but not to the Government or Public Accounts Committee.

It all smacks of anti-contractor bias.

Hiring in Government Departments

They are not going to gain anything from this.

Those hiring in Government Departments are not so stupid as to hire more people to do the project than are needed to maintain it.

What will happen is, if they have a year-long project, that they hire one lot of contractors for the first six months, get rid of them and then hire another lot of contractors for the next six months.

In between they would lose the company, business and systems knowledge that the first lot of contractors picked up over six months.

Explained to New Contractors

Everything would have to be explained again to the new contractors – which will hold the project up.

This will end up costing the Government more money – not saving it money.

However, that will not bother those who have insisted that these stupid rules are put in place.

The most important thing is that people who are your ordinary johnnies are paid amounts that might compare with the salaries of those on The Public Accounts Committee or those in Parliament.

They would cut off the noses of those who hire in Government departments to stop that.

Anti-Contractor Bias

No matter which Government are in there is always an anti-contractor bias.

This one is no different.

This could have been handled within the existing laws.

Those at the top level in HMRC who were paying themselves through Limited Companies were obviously caught by IR35.

So, why did the need to bring in new rules to stop the public sector hiring contractors?

I think we know the answer to that.

They used it to batter contractors with – as usual.

It doesn’t look as if those in senior roles can be contractors any more.