Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Contracts mostly

Well, a couple of things lately. Spoke at length to a potential client last week. In the end it was a mutual "no", but there was certain aspects of the opportunity that seemed attractive. In the end, however, what they were really looking for was an employee rather than a consultant, and one has to be so careful of the tax situation nowadays. The Inland Revenue recently won what I think will be a landmark case where the court effectively set aside the contracts and accepted, hook, line and sinker, the client's view of the relationship as the "reality". And that decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. So when it comes to IR35 I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the contract I sign is largely irrelevant, the only relevant point is the buy-in of the client to a relationship that is outside of the rules. It is difficult, since the clients last week were very obviously uncomfortable with even fielding those questions. But it did enable me to make my decision on them before I'd even left their office. A shame, simce of course it would have been more lucrative than the present arrangement.

Speaking of the present arrangement, I thought it was crunch time for a while today. The contract runs out on Friday and whilst we have verbally agreed terms noting has yet been signed. However, as I've previously mentioned one of my goals here was to drop the agent out of the arrangement, and I believe that a new law allows me to do this. However the agency in question are still calling for blood, and I thought for a while that the client were effectively going to come down on the side of the agent by saying that I had to settle with the agent or they would withdraw the offer. And, of course, the only way of settling in such a short period of time would be to pay them some compensation. Fortunately, things did not come to that, and the client is going out of their way it appears to remain neutral. But it did cross my mind just to walk come Friday to avoid the hassle - there are certainly many contracts out there at the moment, and there's lots of equity in the house, although again the tax situation may well become an issue.

Am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I want to get out of this business altogether, and am spending a lot of time thinking about political things. What I believe in etc. The key thing at the moment is that my thoughts are somewhat unstructured, and I'm actually concluding that it would be a valuable exercise to run, in effect, a design project to bottom out the "first principles" involved. I think I'm going to try to find some reading material also. I've never considered myself a socialist per-se, but it might be interesting to see if the perspective strikes any chords. Plus, it might be good to find out about e.g. MacMillan, in other words Conservatism, but very wet Conservatism.

Heard today that John Peel had died. Nobody can believe it.

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