Every Tuesday we send out the MedComms Networking email newsletter to subscribers. It includes brief commentary on what we're doing and planning, and highlights relevant news to encourage sharing of information, experiences and ideas and to stimulate discussion. The text and links included below, by definition, were accurate on the day of publication, but may then become outdated.
MedComms Networking - 16 February 2021
Shhh. Why does nobody in MedComms or related circles want to talk openly about the upcoming off-payroll working rules (#IR35) tax rule changes in the UK, which are now due to be implemented on 6 April?
This industry has become quite reliant on a flexible, freelance community of medical writers, editors, proof-readers, account managers, project managers, publication planners, strategic consultants, event organisers and designers amongst others.
Very nearly exactly a year ago, I reported my survey asking "what's the state of #IR35 readiness amongst #MedComms freelancers in the UK?". There was confusion. Uncertainty. And, worryingly, most clients weren't communicating their plans, 6 weeks before the expected changes. Then along came COVID-19 and everything changed. Long story short, the IR35 changes that were about to be passed into law, were unexpectedly delayed a year.
One year on, primary legislation has been passed. Nobody expects another delay. Are we better prepared? We've had an extra year to get ready. Did we use it?
So, I repeated the survey of the MedComms Workbook freelancers last week.
Has anything changed? Not really. And there's still precious little communication between clients and their freelancers. And very little public discussion.
We now have 7 weeks to go.
I've posted a short article on LinkedIn, Now what's the state of #IR35 readiness amongst #MedComms freelancers in the UK? and provided access to the full data set. The free text comments are fascinating.
Read it. Comment at will. Agree. Disagree. Like it. Share it. Whatever. But don't ignore it if you have anything do with UK freelancers.
Surely, the more we can acknowledge the current uncertainty and confusion, the better for everyone. Not everyone will be affected, and much will depend on individual circumstances. But it's surprising just how many organisations and people, inside and outside the UK, 'might' get caught up in it. And how many different approaches are being taken by client types.
We've just 7 weeks for this to play out. Unless you think there will be another delay.
Maybe we could run an open #MedComms Webinar with several client types talking about their different policies? Let me know. I'm keen. But I've been trying and failing for a long time.
Meanwhile, last week I was joined on the #MedComms webinar by Judy Brownsword, Will Wilson, Ciaran Wright and Rye Strutt from Bioscript. I think we provided some useful insights around the differences between working in MedComms and regulatory writing. Do you agree? The recording is free for all to view.
Tomorrow, I'm chatting with Alice Choi and Mike Dixon of the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA). We'll discuss the role of the HCA in supporting those of us working in healthcare communications and the challenges we'll all face in the coming year during these disrupted times. It's free to attend. Everyone's Welcome. Please join us.
Next week, it's the new ABPI Code with Jayne Packham.
And, there's lots more coming.. Give me a shout at any time if you've any questions, comments or suggestions.
Managing Director, NetworkPharma Ltd
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