Government should not tax interims when employers need fluid workforces

Web Kings Cross Station roof.jpg

Last week I spoke on a panel for a conference organised by recruitment firm Penna which took place at the Guardian newspaper’s offices near King’s Cross Station, hence the photograph above. It’s the new inspiring roof on the station, well worth a look if you’re in the area. 

The topic discussed was “HR the next five years”. One recurring theme was the need for HR directors to have “agility”, a current buzzword, particularly in managing a fluid workforce during the downturn (on the issue of the economy one panelist, CIPD chief economist John Phillpott, said we will probably have to wait another 18 months for economic growth - although nothing is certain). 

This need for workforce fluidity may not yet be appreciated by the Government, unfortunately. Eagle eyed HR people have spotted a clause in the recent Budget which could put a spanner in the works for organisations hoping to employ interims: Paragraph 2.207 in the Budget red book on personal service companies and IR35.  The Government will introduce a package of measures to tackle tax avoidance through the use of personal service companies. The Flip Chart Fairy Tales blog is not impressed:

“This proposal is craven populist nonsense. It is a knee-jerk response to a very small problem. There are a few interims who have been in organisations for too long and who should be on the payroll but for most, these arrangements make perfect sense. For a government claiming to be against red-tape, restricting the use of interim managers would be a very stupid, and very unpopular, thing to do.”

However, the author, “Rick”, is confident business will overturn this measure. 

This is just one of the issues covered in this post, a twice monhly round-up of content on HR strategy, with topics including leadership, social media, HR metrics, talent management and employer branding. 

General HR strategy content

CIPD code of conduct ‘raises the bar’ in HR standards

Cranfield Management School has published its latest report on women in UK boardrooms and  on and confirmed that women now make up 15.6% of the boards in FTSE 100 companies, compared to 12.5% last March and a government target of 25% of female directors by 2015.But Alison Chisnell is not convinced in her article “Women and Boards” on The HR Juggler. 

Weekly Wrap: How Does HR Spend Its Time? The Answer Won’t Surprise You
by John Hollon on TLNT. 

 7 Ways HR can Contribute to Exceptional Customer Service, by Cathy Missildine-Martin on Profitability through Human Capital.

7 Habits for Directing An HR Dept, by Paul Smith on Welcome To The Occupation.

Business Issues, Not HR Programs, by Sharlyn Lauby on HR Bartender,  Live from #UltiConnect 2012: Statistically Aware Human Resources.  


The future of leadership and management in the NHS - No more heroes, from The King’s Fund

Breaking strategic inertia: Tips from two leaders (Guy Elliott CFO of Rio Tinto and Andreas C. Kramvis, president and CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies) explain how they overcome the barriers that all too often separate capital, talent, and other resources from vital strategic goals). On McKinsey Quarterly. 

How To Be a Great Leader (in under 300 words), by Jeremy Dean, a researcher at 
University College London, on PsyBlog.

Employer brand

9 Employment Branding Buckets, John Sumser on HRExaminer. 

Talent management

Book Recommendation — The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else, by Laurie Ruettimann on The Cynical Girl. 

Challenges & Opportunities for Talent Managers: 1: The Truth About Talent, by John 
Ingham on Strategic HCM. 

Social media 

The real value in social analytics: a conversation with Marie Wallace, by Daryl Pereira on IBM Developer Works.  

Personnel Today.

Mustering the 5′Cs of the Social Work of Leadership: Connection, Conversation, Community, Collaboration, and Co-Creation, by David Zinger on his blog. 

HR metrics and analytics

American ‘HR metric mania’ produces a concrete lifejacket, argues Paul Kearns on Evidence Based HR.

Employee engagement

There is little evidence that organisations are currently taking proactive steps to engage staff aged over 50 and many still hold stereotypical views about their performance, according to an ACAS  paper “The Employment Relations Challenges of an Ageing Workforce”

on Human Capital League. 

 A Snapshot of the Employee Engagement Industry, by Brenda Kowske on Bersin. 

Corporate culture

Trying to Change Your Corporate Culture? Here Are 3 Lessons to Remember, by Derek Irvine on TLNT- The Business of HR.


One of the reasons for excessive executive pay in the UK’s top companies is that too many remuneration committees are filled with current and former FTSE executives, a think tank has argued in new research, reports People Management responding to a report by the High Pay Centre (formerly the High Pay Commission). 


College London’s Management Learning Board and Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labour Relations and will hold forums at least twice a year in both New York City and London. Themes that will be explored in the forums this year include: 
  • The changing role of HR and the chief HR officer 
  • Developing international HR strategy, metrics, analytics and ROI  
  • Managing major organisational change across international boundaries  
  • People risk and reward in an international context. 
Five-day SQ & Quantum Leadership Workshop; Oxford, UK – 17 June- 24 June 2012.
Workshop by Danah Zohar, an MIT and Harvard-educated physicist, philosopher, and 
author helping leaders develop the skills needed to revitalize their organizations. 
Workshop includes: Spiritual Intelligence;  Quantum Leadership. 

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