How We Helped RGP Prepare for IR35
Preparing for IR35 with RGP
At JSA, our focus is always on ensuring compliance throughout our contracting community. Our team of IR35 experts has years of experience in understanding legislative changes and contractor compliance that we can share with you. With the changes to the off-payroll reforms in the private sector due to come into effect in April 2021, we can work as part of your project team to help you prepare, just like we did with RGP.
RGP is a global consulting firm with over 2,400 clients across 70+ practice offices in 48 countries. The company was founded in 1996 to help finance executives with operational needs and special projects created by workforce gaps.
RGP knew that preparing for IR35 reforms was never going to be easy due to the scale of the business and the size of their contingent workforce. However, they understood the implications of the off-payroll reforms and how much it could impact their business model and reputation if not dealt with carefully.
The early stages
RGP’s first step in their approach was to secure a project manager to spearhead their operations. The appointment of a project manager proved enormously beneficial throughout the preparations, not least because it meant that there was continuous momentum behind the project. Having one single point of contact within RGP was also beneficial for ensuring clarity and transparency on this complex topic throughout the supply chain – from the management team, to contractors, end hirers, and other members of staff.
‘To keep continuous momentum, RGP appointed a project consultant to focus on IR35 legislative compliance.’
Initially, RGP’s focus was on assessing the business impact of the upcoming legislation to determine how best to prepare. RGP sought legal advice who suggested a conservative approach – bringing more contractors ‘inside IR35’ to mitigate the risk of being held liable for any contractors who were not working compliantly.
However, RGP was concerned with this approach as it was over-cautious and could have an unnecessarily detrimental impact. RGP knew that if they made the decision to bring the majority of their contractors ‘inside IR35’, it could affect their contingent workforce because those who were able to work compliantly ‘outside IR35’ may move elsewhere to avoid missing out on take-home pay. This would create large skill gaps in RGP’s global network. It could have a similar negative impact on their clients, business model, and company reputation.
Evolving the approach
With a clear commitment to compliance, we stepped in to help RGP take a more proportionate response that would not only mitigate the risk of compliance issues, but also avoid damaging their reputation, their relationships with contractors and clients, and their business model.
The shared goal was to ensure limited company (PSC) contractors could be retained where appropriate, continuing to work ‘outside IR35’. Any contractors found to be ‘inside IR35’ would be supported and guided through the reasons for their change in status. They would then be presented with the working options available to them, such as Umbrella or JSA’s toggle solution which can help them easily switch between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ contracts.
A key aspect to ensuring all contractors were content with their compliant working solution, was the implementation of a robust and reliable IR35 assessment procedure and enough time to undertake individual assessments. It was also important to RGP that they had the ability to insure ‘outside IR35’ outcomes, so they could mitigate financial risk to their company in the event of a challenge from HMRC.
‘The key was the implementation of a robust and reliable assessment procedure with insurable outcomes and enough time to assess contractors individually.’
Another crucial feature was the implementation of clear procedures for communication between all members of the supply chain. The updates to the IR35 legislation rely on all parties to disseminate Status Determination Statements (SDS) correctly, so transparency throughout the supply chain is vital for compliance. It was also essential that provisions were made for the re-assessment of both workers and assignments at appropriate points, to ensure continued compliance as roles change and develop.
‘Clarity and transparency throughout the supply chain is crucial to the correct dissemination of Status Determination Statements and mitigating non-compliance risks for all parties.’
Using reliable assessments with insurable outcomes and complete transparency throughout the supply chain, we helped RGP to assess their contingent workforce and prepare for the upcoming reforms. This ensured that their contractors could continue to work ‘outside IR35’ compliantly where possible, and those that couldn’t had enough time to assess their options and decide on the best solution for them.
“We couldn’t have asked for better support. JSA had little to gain commercially but did not hesitate to give us their time and expert input, both proactively and reactively. Not only were the JSA team highly knowledgeable, but they were also great at communicating the complexity of IR35 and helping us to understand how the legislation relates to our business and our specific circumstances. It makes a big difference on a project like this, to work with people you respect, but who are also very likeable and generous with their time and knowledge” – Crystal Metcalfe, Vice President of RGP.
To find out more about our instant assessment tool with insurable outcomes and let us assess a sample of your workforce for free, visit our IR35 Hub.