Julia Kermode writes an open letter to the umbrella sector
We have all noticed the recent increasing negative attention on the umbrella sector due to the questionable practices of some. Indeed, I have called out some companies myself because I will not stand by and watch whilst contractors are duped out of their income due to legalese or unethical practice. I have been personally targeted as a result, accused of certain untruths by more than one seemingly reputable company, but I will not be bullied into stopping my mission to support and empower contractors.
I am saddened to see that FCSA members particularly appear to be under attack. Yes, there are dubious practices within the umbrella industry but they are not reflective of the whole sector. I know many of you personally, and I know that there are significant concerns about collateral damage to your businesses. I cannot stand by and allow the majority of good companies, FCSA or otherwise, to be tarred with the same brush.
So, to inspire confidence within the umbrella sector and the entire supply chain, I have decided to collaborate with PayePass and to join its Board with a focus on its ‘Verify Award’ used for the auditing of umbrella payroll. PayePass ensures the correct handling of all payroll funds paid to an umbrella, including proper treatment of holiday pay and correct payments to HMRC to ensure there is no tax avoidance.
In short, there is nowhere to hide if you’re skimming or diverting funds away from contractors and HMRC.
The audit forensically checks what is actually going on within an umbrella’s payroll, and can be run on each and every payroll processed, or on-demand at your chosen frequency. It is a financial integrity test to bring ultimate peace of mind, and complements industry accreditations offered by FCSA, Professional Passport and others.
Whilst I will have nothing to do with the operational aspects of the audits themselves (which I will leave to others far better qualified!), I will have full control over the criteria. I plan to ensure the requirements are truly independent, fair, unobtrusive and capable of preventing systematic or opportunistic financial misconduct by any umbrella that passes the award.
I know we need to restore trust and that many of you are crying out for something to confirm to the supply chain that you are genuinely not one of the bad apples. That’s why, as a condition of me joining the PayePass Board as a non-executive director, I have a limited number of PayePass Verify Audits available at no cost. If you’re interested, let me know asap.
Assuming there’s nothing to hide in your payroll process, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Anyone that knows me, knows my commitment to championing everything that is good about the world of independent work. If you share the same ethos and have nothing to hide, then let’s work together!