The prospect of yet more legislation impacting on the supply of contingent workers, contractors and freelancers into the private sector as of April 2020, ensured healthy audiences at two seminars billed as ‘The How-to Guide for Off-payroll’.

The first event was held in the Manchester Deansgate Hotel’s expansive conference centre and featured both a morning and afternoon session both of which attracted a crowd primarily drawn from regional recruitment agencies and umbrella. The subsequent London seminar took place in the glossy corporate confines of the Kings Fund in the capitals leafy and distinctly autumnal, Cavendish Square.

Both events included a mini-exhibition for half or dozen sponsors, and Solutio’s interactive stand stood out among the plethora of pop-up banners favoured by our fellow-exhibitors. This is not a criticism as the logistics of transporting and erecting our stand are arduous, but the impact is both immediate and memorable. This is due in no small part to the two Solutio software demonstrations flickering on the large TV screens embedded within the stand. This accompanied by Solutio’s new brochure, branded notebooks, pens and tote bags, lured numerous delegates to our display including recruiters, providers and, especially in London, end-user clients.

Professional Passport’s Crawford Temple led the sessions with a step-by-step overview of the legislation’s salient points plus, the operational implications for businesses operating in the contingent worker supply chain. As ever, an element of confusion reigned within the audience who were all desperately seeking answers to the challenges raised by the legislation. The news that many of the UK’s leading banks were considering no longer commissioning any contract labour as a strategy to counteract the legislation, only served to intensify the palpable sense of ‘fear’ in the rooms.

Following Crawford’s insights, Dave Chaplin demonstrated IR35 Shield’s software capabilities and how his product could be integrated into the IT landscape of recruitment businesses to help maintain compliance. A vibrant Q&A session at both events suggested that the seminars raised as many questions as answers among many still clearly bemused attendees.

The reality is that until all contingent worker supply chain entities embrace a transparent single instance platform that manages every facet of the assignment and payroll process, compliance with employment legislation cannot be guaranteed. Relying on trust alone is no longer an option in the “new world” especially in light of recently publicised acts of blatant non-compliance, tax evasion and outright fraud among various players operating in the market.

Given Solutio’s inherent ability to share all data across the supply chain, it becomes obvious why we chose to exhibit at these events; for those who visited our stand, they walked away no doubt comforted by the fact that a very real solution to the new legislation does exist.