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 The text and links included below, by definition, were accurate on the day of publication, but may then become outdated.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 - 24 March 2020
Last Tuesday, amongst the other chaos, the UK government, suddenly and unexpectedly, delayed implementing the IR35 tax changes. Read some comments here, from the Association of Independent Professionals (IPSE)
Importantly, it's only delayed for 12 months until 6 April 2021.
Earlier today I ran a Zoom webinar for freelancers who subscribe to the MedComms Workbook. Thanks to Jackie Marchington (Caudex), Claire Inness (Highfield) and Angie Wiles (The Difference Collective) for joining us and talking about their different approaches to those now-delayed changes.
Their three companies are very different and that was reflected in their approaches. Which was to be expected.
It would have been interesting, and maybe less predictable, to hear several larger MedComms agencies talking together about their approaches.
A week ago, there was already quite a variety of positions becoming apparent. Some offering freelancers zero hours contracts. Some saying everyone has to work inside IR35, even for what seemed very straightforward project-based assignments. Some insisting all freelancers, including sole traders, have to work with designated umbrella companies. Some using new platforms like Worksome. Some simply deciding "no freelancers at all from 6 April". Some chasing freelancers to accept in-house positions. Some saying, literally, "we're too busy to do anything at the moment, we'll see what happens"...
In some cases at least, following Tuesday's announcement, plans were abruptly shelved, to be dusted off another day. That day will come. All being well, once we get through the COVID-19 challenges.
Meanwhile, some freelancers have already closed their businesses. Irreversible decisions have been made.
I hope this time next year, people in our MedComms community will have used the delay to think through their plans and talk more with those who are directly affected. And everyone will be somewhat better prepared. A "wait and see what happens" strategy was going to cause problems. You may not get away with that twice.
For now, I know many people have more urgent concerns.
I've simply cancelled all face-to-face meetings until September, which included several careers events. That's caused me a lot of work and a great deal of disappointment. I can only try to imagine how much disruption some of you have faced with much larger projects.
Otherwise, I'll work as usual. Most of what I do is online and that continues. Maybe more of you will join in. I'd certainly be keen to receive suggestions for what more we can do together. MedComms has to adapt.
So, join me for tomorrow's webinar with Amy Farr (Medical Writer at Zoetic Science, an Ashfield Healthcare Communications agency), Natalie Rounding (Medical Instructional Designer at AMICULUM) and Sarah Sabir (Medical Writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis). They've all been profiled in the new issue of our annual careers guide, "From academic to medical writer: a guide to getting started in medical communications". Everyone welcome.
Remember, details of all our activities are kept bang up-to-date at www.MedCommsNetworking.com or give me a shout at any time if you've any questions, comments or suggestions.
Best of luck and stay healthy, everyone.
Managing Director, NetworkPharma Ltd
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