REC Blog

The government consultations affecting our industry
The government consultations affecting our industry
Policy & Sectors 03rd Apr 2018


Matthew Taylor review

Over the next couple of months, responding to the government’s consultations on agency work, transparency, enforcement and employment status will be a key priority for us. These consultations follow Matthew Taylor’s  review of modern employment practices in 2016/17.

As well as highlighting the ‘vital role of agency workers’ in the UK’s labour market, we were pleased to see the government acknowledge that changes in the labour market have put pressure on the current regulatory framework. This is something we have long been highlighting.

The government is seeking views on a range of topics including the use of ‘swedish derogation’ contracts, employment status, enforcement of the Agency Worker Regulations, ways of improving the information provided to agency workers and a ‘right to request’ a more stable contract for atypical workers.

The government is also consulting on Matthew Taylor’s recommendation for a higher minimum wage for hours that are not ‘guaranteed’. We are concerned that this proposal lacks the necessary detail and may have unintended consequences. We’ll be feeding in these views to the Low Pay Commission’s inquiry on the topic.


We are still waiting for the consultation on compliance with IR35 in the private sector. It was expected this would be published at the Spring Statement but instead, the Chancellor released a written statement saying the consultation on IR35 would be released ‘in the coming months’. We hope this means that the government will not be proceeding with changes to IR35 this year, but there is still time for them to proceed with changes in time for April 2019 so we will be monitoring closely.

We will continue to stress in our ongoing engagement with the Treasury and HMRC that introducing changes to IR35 in the private sector would be premature, as the impact of the public sector changes is not yet fully known and there are still issues with implementation that need to be rectified. We’ll be continuing to monitor developments and working with other business bodies like the CBI to push the government to make improvements to the system in the public sector.

Next steps

We’re working on our responses to the published consultations at the moment but we need your input. Industrial strategy and Matthew Taylor are the themes of our next Scale up Live events in London  on 24 April and Manchester on 26 April. These events will be a chance to hear from industrial strategy experts, learn more about the Matthew Taylor consultations and share your views. We’ll also be holding a webinar in April which we will confirm timings for soon.

This is perhaps the biggest consultation our industry has seen for a number of years, and is a great opportunity for you to help shape the future regulations governing our industry. If you can’t make it to our events or webinar, feel free to share your thoughts by emailing

Karen O'Reilly is the REC's Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Karen O’Reilly works with the policy team to represent the interests and concerns of  members to policymakers and stakeholders in a number of sectors including executive search, interim management, financial and legal services, HR and office support. She also works on cross-sectoral issues including employment tax and social mobility and inclusion policy. Prior to joining the REC, Karen worked at the British Chambers of Commerce.  

View More articles by Karen O'Reilly >

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