PCG: An Assessment – the Quality of Their Officers


Recently we published articles assessing how we believed that the Professional Contractors group had performed so far. They have been in existence for three years.

We have them a mark of 5-out-of-10 for IR35, and a mark of 8-out-of-10 for Fast Track Visas.

Today, we will look at the most important asset (or debit) that they have – the quality of the people running the organisation.

There are two levels of management in the PCG. There is the Board, and there is the larger Consultative Council who are directly elected by members. The Consultative Council elect the Board after they have been elected themselves.

The current Chairperson of the PCG is Jane Akshar. Whilst not knowing Jane personally, I think that we have to look at results. It used to that Robert Redford used to be thought of as a reasonable actor with a pretty face who just happened to be in (and have directed) a goodly number of classics of the cinema. He wasn‘t thought of as a Bogart or Spenser Tracey or Dustin Hoffman or DeNiro.

Now he is starting to be given the credit he deserves for being a factor in making those movies classic, rather than having been lucky to be in the right place at the right time so often.

For that reason, Jane Akshar must be given high marks, as all the recent successes ‘˜just happened‘ to have taken place on her watch. Contractors are getting the upper hand on Fast Track Visas which have now been suspended and the Skills Shortage List wiped clean. They are also battling back on IR35 with the Paymaster General offering to look at IR35 again. The PCG-financed Lime-IT case which gave a bloody nose to the Inland Revenue over IR35 happened on her watch too.

They have also solved the perception problem where many contractors looked on in askance when founders of the PCG became the main suppliers to the PCG. This cost the PCG a lot of credibility, but has now been rectified.

The PCG lobbying team are also making inroads, and made an impression on the Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo, at the famous ‘˜poached egg and toast‘ breakfast at the Labour Party Conference. Government Ministers are now far more receptive to the PCG than they were before and see them in a more positive light. Relations with the IT Press have also improved greatly as NamesFacesPlaces can attest to.

I have it on good authority that there are a lot of very highly talented people now in the PCG, including on the Consultative Council. The CC work part time and give their services free of charge. They are very dedicated and supportive of the PCG (sometimes too much so).

One of the main influences in the PCG Consultative Council is Stephen Hunter. He is very articulate in his responses on other IT sites, including NamesFacesPlaces. He also has a great knowledge of the detail of the various battles in which the PCG, and is a mine of information on most of those battles. He is self-effacing and will probably be horrified to see his name here.

Another who should be singled out for very special mention is Gurdial Rai. Without Gurdial, the probability is that somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 would have been added to the supply of IT workers in the UK in the coming year, and probably in subsequent years as well. He has been the crucial factor in the great victories that the PCG have had on Fast Track Visas, along with the now departed Philip Ross.

There are many others that I could give honourable mentions to, but I think that these two stick out.

As far as the quality of personnel that the PCG have currently, I‘d like to give a 9-out-of-10. It‘s very difficult to give a lower mark to people who, on a part time basis, have turned the Professional Contractors group in the last six months into the most successful and most admired IT contractors group in the world.

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