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Now for the good news…

Now for the good news…

The Conservative’s manifesto for business was released today. In among all the detail was a commitment to encourage the use of Open Source in HMG contracts, which is nice.

However they also are talking about breaking HMG contracts down into smaller pieces so SMEs can get in on the action, rather than being swamped by the Big 5 consultancies all the time.

This is seriously good news on several fronts. For one thing it is an exact match to something the PCG have in their own manifesto. That means that at least one party has read what the PCG wrote and, more importantly, acted upon it. It also puts pressure on the other parties to take note and maybe recognise the smaller businesses are every bit as capable as the big ones. Well we knew that anyway, I’ve yet to work not a Big 5 contract that wasn’t held together by a bunch of freelancers.

Even if that doesn’t reach as far down as the one-man band companies like mine, it does open the door to things like collaborative ventures and what I call the Virtual Consultancy, a small group of freelancers working together and pooling skills to deliver a piece of work. Provided, that is, you can get through the hurdle of the paperwork – have you ever tried to fill out a PQQ – and can agree how your little consortium is going to work and don’t get stuffed by some spurious demands for security clearance.

Still, small steps but, in this case, highly significant ones. Let’s see if the other parties have the courage to follow suit. And maybe actually deliver what they promised. Now that would be a first…

Elsewhere, life carries on as normal. The usual drip feed of questions from people who ideally should know more than they do on various forums. If I’ve seen one question about the 24 month rule this week I’ve seen a dozen, and I can’t keep referring them to an article I wrote a while back explaining it all. Or perhaps the other one I wrote, about how many people set up limited companies with no idea of what it entails in terms of knowledge and responsibilies.

It also occurred to me, reading some of these posts, that we have a fair number of contractors who have never known life without IR35, and who accept it as part of the landscape. Now that does wind me up more than a little; IR35 is no less of an abomination just because it’s there.

Now that would be a good entry in the Tory’s manifesto – a clear commitment to remove IR35 form the statute book. What, do you suppose, are the chances…?

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