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There are now seven separate reviews into employment practices
by Susie Hughes at 10:46 12/12/16 (News on Business)
The Taylor Review has the best chance of solving Britain’s chaotic employment practices for a generation after unwittingly becoming the epicentre of a wave of initiatives by politicians, industry and think tanks, according to a trade body.
The review, led by chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts Matthew Taylor, will last six months and was commissioned by the Prime Minister in October.

However by the time it launched a fortnight ago the number of separate reviews had grown to seven promising a blizzard of recommendations and research.

As a result Crawford Temple, chief executive of employment intermediary trade body PRISM, said Mr Taylor’s role has grown to become one of huge national significance.

PRISM had campaigned in early 2016 for a Government-led strategic review of employment practices and legislation. It is sponsoring one of the reviews, an independent study by the Social Market Foundation which began surveying flexible workers and employers last week.

It will be the first of the reviews to report in the Spring of 2017 and has already identified a lack of accurate data and is facing the challenge in gathering enough data to result in robust findings.

PRISM is calling on contractors to complete the survey to help the SMF harvest enough information.

Mr Temple said: “For there to be seven reviews going on simultaneously is incredible but the SMF is very much the pioneer. It recognised a shortfall in valuable relevant data in this area and has now started the process to begin gathering the large amounts of data required. They will report first, setting the scene for the other reviews that come in its wake.

“The sheer number of reviews represents an earthquake in popular sentiment demonstrating the fact no one believes the system is fit for purpose any more. All reviews we feel will face the same challenge, lack of depth of data. Data is critical as it provides a true and accurate representation of the market removing the risks of mis-perceptions and therefore incorrect outcomes and conclusions.

“Without lifting a finger Matthew Taylor has become one of the most important people in Britain.

“The only question will be, is it a hindrance or a help? I hope and believe it is the latter.

“His report can enjoy the benefit of being informed by the findings of the other reviews, although there will be huge pressure on him to get it right and come up with workable and meaningful recommendations for government on how to deal with flexible working and the gig economy given the huge scale of the various reviews combined.

“If the country can’t sort its employment and tax system out this time, with so much accumulated expertise directed at the problem, my fear is it never will.”

The latest review to be announced was the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into Self-employment and the Gig Economy unveiled on December 1.

But there are another FIVE reviews underway - the Labour Party’s Workplace 2020 Review and separate Future of Work Commission, the Future World of Work and Rights of Workers Inquiry by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, The Employment Divide study by the Social Market Foundation supported by PRISM and the Resolution Foundation’s ‘Temporary Fix or Lasting Problem?’ review of agency work.

On top of that the Office of Tax Simplification announced it was doing a paper on the tax implications of the ‘gig economy’.

There have also been four other recently completed reviews bring the total to 11 - by the Federation of Small Businesses, Baroness Mone, Julie Deane and another by the SMF focused on low pay and self-employment.

Mr Temple welcomed comments by Business Minister Margot James who said at the time of the launch of the Taylor Review that the Government recognised 'the importance of being open to new and innovative ways of working – and having a skilled and flexible workforce is part of what makes the UK an attractive place to do business'.

Mr Temple said this was key: “The way we work in Britain should be driven by how people want to work, not held back by outdated ways of administering the tax system and this is what will nurture the flexible economy to the benefit of UK Plc in the long term.”

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2016

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