What flexibility will be lost for PSCs with IR35s new changes?

How much is going to change for Personal Service Companies during IR35s shift in liability? With not just the concern for a lack of control over the final determination, there is unease over what will happen to the flexibility of contracts. If deemed inside IR35 then the ability to work under your own terms, setting your own fees and hours to work, as well as being able to take on multiple contracts are not a part of the contract.  

With many benefits coming from working as a limited company outside IR35 it can be seen as an attractive position, but many of these benefits help both the contractor and client. Although the shift in who determines the status will highlight those illegitimately working outside IR35, it means it could also be putting those legitimate cases at risk. With a lack of understanding or preparation, many clients and agencies are looking to blanket ban all outside IR35 work, making it much harder for outside IR35 contracts to be found. By offering outside IR35 contracts to PSCs, we are constantly trying to match up the right work with the best talent, maintaining fairness with combining legitimate outside IR35 workers with appropriate contracts. 

When losing an outside IR35 status there are many benefits no longer available to the contractor, in addition to potentially losing 20-30% of their income.  

  • Working their own hours 
  • Taking on multiple contracts 
  • Expenses no longer covered 
  • No substitute 

With travel expenses not covered for inside IR35 contracts, there is little incentive for limited companies to work on long distance roles, restricting this flexible workforce and making it equally hard for clients to find the best talent. Being able to utilise these can help provide better skills and results to projects and attract further work in the future, benefiting both client and contractor. Causing these to be restricted has meant many contractors are prepared to find alternative roles or discontinue being a contractor altogether. In a survey conducted by Contractor Calculator of more than 12,000 contractors, 23% said they intend to quit contracting due to IR35 leading to a potentially far smaller pool of talent to choose from for clients.  

What can you do?  

Be a part of the process and make your own assessment to bring a more robust decision to your employment status and opening up the opportunity to challenge the outcome if required. As a part of this, going over any current contracts to make sure they reflect the actions you are doing in the role off paper. Just having it written in the contract may not be enough to show your status and by performing the role as described in your contract then the guidelines within which you are working are made clear. 

Status determination statements are legally required to be given to contractors under limited companies as they give the chance to challenge determinations made by the client or agency. Despite this, only 38% of respondents in a survey say they have been provided with a Status Determination Statement. While the clients, fee payers, and contractors can all make an assessment, SDS’ provide a final chance for you to get appropriate IR35 placement as clients are required to meet the 45-day challenge process. Having these three parties individually assess your role can lead to a more robust determination, alongside giving you some control within the process.  

With the concern of clients being unprepared, it is vital for YOU to have as much understanding as possible so as to be able to seek the right work for you; whether inside or outside of IR35. The initial delay for when it will come into effect has given more time, but with few companies taking advantage of that it is valuable for all involved to take action. Speak to one of our experts to gain guidance in getting a status determination reflective of your work.  

Survey reference: 


PSCs concerns: loss of 30% earnings with IR35 changes

Getting IR35 wrong can be costly. Both contractors and fee payers are at risk of losing out without paying careful attention to IR35 assessments. With contractors at risk of losing between 20-30% of their income if their status changes it is no wonder some may be nervous about who makes the status determination. 

Making it the responsibility of the client to now make an assessment on whether a Personal Service Company is deemed inside or outside of IR35 has the potential to cause these contractors to feel they have lost control of their personal earnings. This is not entirely true. There are some clear actions you can take to be involved in the process, alongside having the opportunity to challenge the final decision. This shift in liability will help to discover disguised employees, and classify them with the correct determination.  

The majority of contractors had hoped the initial delay in the changes to IR35 could help ease their concern over their clients understanding and ability to correctly assess their IR35 status. Giving them more time to get to grips with the legislation and view each PSC within the extended timeframe. However, 63% of contractors surveyed would rate their current client’s knowledge on IR35 negatively. Being a part of the process can make it easier for everyone involved. 

What you should be doing now 

Educating yourself on the IR35 changes is the first key step in order to understand what to look for in new roles and how you can challenge a status determination that you disagree with. Communication is always a vital part of any process, so if you’re in a contract that will continue beyond April 2021 then discussions with your hiring manager and agency can help you establish what actions have been taken to prepare.  

While a vast majority of the responsibility now lies with fee payer, there are actions you can take to be involved in the process in order to get a fair assessment. You can evaluate whether these three main points that determine IR35 are within your contract as well as the actions you take within the role. Ensuring that the performance in the role is reflective of the contract will reinforce your status and allow you to work in the clear definition of either outside or inside IR35. 

  • Substitution  

Being able to send a substitute to complete the work on your behalf. 

  • Direction 

Being directed on how to complete the work by the client, using instructions, guidance, and advice. 

  • Control 

Someone is dictating what work you do and how, including the power to move you to different tasks. 

There also should not be a mutuality of agreement, meaning that both stating within the contract and being carried out in the position, the client has no obligation to offer you more work as well as an absence of obligation for you to take it can indicate the contract is more likely outside IR35.  

Working with a proactive agency that advises their clients on how they can assist your process of determining an appropriate status. At Highfield, we have many years of knowledge regarding IR35 and have spent time understanding the changes, so contact us via [email protected] or phone a consultant on 01489 774010.  

Anyone within the process can make an assessment such as the client, contractor, or the fee payer (like a recruitment agency). Statement determinations from all three will make for a far more robust outcome, creating consistency and certainty through multiple matching decisions and making it even more important to have clear understanding on these changes from all involved. Clients are required to provide a Status Determination Statement (SDS) which is used to: 

  • Declare a contractor’s deemed employment status following an IR35 assessment 
  • Provide the reasoning behind the conclusion. 

This SDS allows you to see how the determination was reached in a fully detailed way, giving you the opportunity to challenge a decision if there are specific factors that can be disagreed with. Alongside this, it helps to prevent companies from enforcing blanket determinations due to requiring justifications for individual workers through the SDS.  

So, take action in your own earnings and utilise the options and people available to get your contract recognised with an appropriate status determination. Speak to our experts and avoid risking losing 30% of your take home pay. 

Make IR35 work for you; how to retain and attract your best talent

IR35 changes in April 2021. Are you concerned about contractors going elsewhere? Some of the best talent will be looking for correct assessments and processes, which they will now be relying on their clients to provide. IR35 doesn’t have to be daunting but instead could be beneficial to your company, bringing and retaining the best skills to keep projects running smoothly all with the flexibility that is provided by contractors. 

Understanding IR35 and the new changes is your best starting point. We have plenty of experts so feel free to ask us about any concerns you have at [email protected] or view our IR35 Hub to understand a little more. There is one main point you need to be aware of with this change and that is where the responsibility and therefore some of the risk will now lie. As of April 2021, it will be down to the fee payer to provide an IR35 assessment to all contractors working for the company, which in turn brings the risk with it.  

It will NO LONGER solely be the responsibility of the contractor. It is yours. 

With businesses already contending with the various challenges that the pandemic has presented it is not surprising that this may feel a little overwhelming, however, it is a crucial process to get right. In a survey of companies with 30-200 staff, 73% of them have classified themselves as having little or no process/system for the new IR35 changes. 

There are many benefits to hiring contractors.  

  • Cost savings 
  • Specialist skills 
  • Flexibility 
  • Ease of separation 
  • Temporary cover 
  • Start at short notice 
  • Ease workload for permanent staff members 

Particularly with the current climate, having flexibility and an ease of separation allows you to not feel the need to take on a permanent member of staff but are still able to get projects completed, without overloading current staff members and while utilising specialist skills.  

Temporary workforce makes up 22% of the UKs overall labour market, highlighting the importance of contractors as they support the economy and provide great benefits for companies in completing projects quickly and effectively.  

Bearing this in mind, it would be desirable to retain those specialised skills and become attractive to future talents looking to be recognised as appropriate outside IR35 contractors. The most ideal way to demonstrate this is through case-by-case analysis of each contractor working for your company, giving the opportunity for each person to be defined for their individual work. Demonstrating a professional in-depth understanding of the legislation shows the value to which you hold contractors and deeming them a great asset.  

This fair and informed process can be time consuming or confusing, however, there are plenty of experts that have handled IR35 for many years who are able to help clients and contractors alike. We have invested time and energy into understanding the best ways to make IR35 work for everyone involved. Specialists with clear resources and training are on hand with guidance to keep legitimate contractors working outside IR35 with ease and help take risk away from clients. Involving experts as well as the contractors themselves throughout the process can make it faster and clearer, alongside providing the opportunity for contractors to be involved in their own outcome.  

To summarise: ways of retaining the best talent can be 

  • Having the in-depth understanding of IR35 (check out our IR35 Hub
  • Case-by-case assessments (avoiding blanket decisions) 
  • Open opportunities for experts and contractors to be involved in the process 

This way of making IR35 work for you creates an efficient and smooth process with individual assessments showing care and attention as you make the company attractive to contractors, leading to the potential abundance of the best skills and talent to choose from.  

Why Drones are taking over the Construction Industry

Drones are no longer just an expensive high-tech toy for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to afford the hefty price tag and are highly into gadgets. They are now largely being used in billion dollar industries like construction to keep ahead of its competition.

In 2016, consumer drone popularity hit an all-time high, being the number item on a Christmas list that year. In 2016 2.5 million drones were sold in the world, which was almost double than that of 2015. It is predicted that this will increase to around 8 million a year by 2020.

So why has it become so popular for drones to be a crucial part of the construction industry? Well, there are many reasons and it doesn’t look like the use of drones within the industry is slowing down any time soon, with it being the number one trend to continue in 2019. If you want to keep an edge on your competitors then a drone will keep you ahead of the game.


A project in construction can take time, especially at the initial stages. You will need surveys and if there is a way in which this could take as little time as possible and cost you half the money, then you will want to use it. Drones in construction have made surveying much easier by playing a huge role in making data collection simple and capturing the best angles and views.


You will be able to show clients the progress in a much more quick and efficient way. If your client cannot be at the site, then a use of a drone will be able to capture development in an inventive way that can show angles and images that are better than a photo. You will also be able to keep the client updated on the progress of a project in real time.


Safety Regulations are crucial for the construction industry and can be difficult to maintain at all times. With a drone, you will be able to capture views that you may not have seen with a naked eye. A drone will be able to view a site in real time from all angles, this can help with safety, especially if you may be dealing with a dangerous structure. It will mean you will be able to send drones into areas that are not necessarily safe for a worker to enter.

Keeping on Track

Keeping on track of a project is important, you are wanting to make sure that everything is running how it should and that you are keeping to budget where possible. Being able to monitor your sites with the use of a drone you will be much better prepared to remove anything that may impact additions to the project time and cost.


Do you use drones in your industry? Do you think they are going to help? Let us know by tweeting us @highfieldrec

World Water Week 2018

World Water Week started back in 1991 in Stockholm, it has become the main event to discuss the water issues across the globe and has become the pivotal event of the year to reflect and make a difference to the water issues we have globally. It is organised every year by Stockholm Internalize Water Institute (SIWI).  Back in 2017, over 3,300 individuals and around 380 convening organizations from 135 countries participated in the Week.

Poor water management and strained ecosystems cause poverty and violent conflicts, and to avoid a global water crisis, more nature-based solutions are needed. Each year the event focuses on a new theme, in 2018, World Water Week will address the theme “Water, ecosystems and human development”. Previous themes have consisted of, Minimising Harmful Fluxes from Land to Water, Water and Food Security, Water for Development and many more important issues that affect the globe.

Additionally they offer a recognised prize to an individual who has made a difference to the water crisis. The Stockholm Water Prize is the world’s most prominent award for outstanding achievements in water-related activities. The prize honours women, men and organisations whose work contributes to the conservation and protection of water resources, and to the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. All who have made extraordinary water-related achievements are eligible.

This year’s main focal point of discussion has been for nature based solutions. Many of the speakers expressed their confidence for nature based solutions and the possibilities they were able to achieve from nature. An example is the work of Stockholm Water Prize winners Professors Bruce Rittmann and Mark van Loosdrecht. Bruce Rittmann said in an interview about this; “Microorganisms live in water and when we use microorganisms we are making water a key part of the solution to many of our environmental challenges.” He added: “We want to have a merging of environmental and economic interests. We don’t want to make pollution control and environmental protection just a cost to society, we want to turn that also into a generator of resources and economic value”.

Are you following world water week? What has been your highlight so far? Tweet us @Highfieldrec to let us know! 

South Coast Business Awards – Winners

The South Coast Business Awards took place at the Hilton Ageas on Friday 13th July, and as previously announced, Highfield were shortlisted finalists for two categories – Outstanding Contribution to the South Coast Region and Scale up Business of the Year.

Although we didn’t win the award for Scale up Business of the Year. We are thrilled to announce that Highfield won the award for Outstanding Contribution to the South Coast Region. We were honoured to be shortlisted for such prestigious awards, so knowing that we have been recognised for the work we do and winning, is a huge achievement for us.

South Coast Award Winners

Some of the team who have performed incredibly in Q1 and Q2 were invited along to the awards with the Directors, Liam Thomas, Sam Hughes and Andy Davis. This was a special evening for them, to be able to experience such a respected awards ceremony. They especially loved getting to meet Sir Geoff Hurst who was the guest speaker for the evening.

South Coast Business Awards

Director, Liam Thomas, commented “Our business model is about recruiting and developing local people and finding jobs for local people. The judges were pleased that we had decided to open up a larger office in the area rather than a smaller satellite office elsewhere.”

We are extremely proud of the whole team, their hard work and dedication sums up the reason as to why we won this award. As we continue to grow in the next year we are excited to showcase just what Highfield is capable of and what we have to offer not just the South Coast Region but globally.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists of the South Coast Business Awards, it was a great evening to celebrate the best in business on the South Coast.

If you want to keep up to date for all the latest news for Highfield then please follow our social media pages. Twitter and Instagram – @HighfieldRec

International Women in Engineering Day – June 23rd

National Women in Engineering Day was launched back in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate the launch of its 95th anniversary. They aim to celebrate the amazing achievements of female engineers and promotes the vast amount of career opportunities that are available to the female workforce as well as men.  In 2017, they took a bigger step when it became international for the first time due to the interest that was developed by an international audience.

2017 saw a huge success with record levels of engagement and reach. 150 separate events were registered including 18 international events, which involved countries such as Brazil, Mauritius and Uganda.

June 23rd, 2018 marks the 1st anniversary of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED). With the huge success of 2017s day, this year the theme is ‘Raising the Bar’. The theme is a direct approach at making more people aware of the importance of women in these roles, therefore this year they want to encourage more people to get involved. Targeting groups such as the government, education groups, professional engineering institutions, young people’s groups, the press and many more.

Here are a few statistics taken by WES in January 2018 which highlight the importance of making a change now.

  • 11% of the engineering workforce is female.
  • The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%, while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%.
  • 1% of engineering undergraduates in the UK in 2017 are women. Compare with India: where over 30% of engineering students are women.
  • In 2015/16 women accounted for only 6.8% of Engineering apprenticeship starts and 1.9% of Construction Skills starts.
  • 61% of engineering employers say a recruitment of engineering and technical staff with right skills is a barrier to business.

Highfield fully support women in engineering and work with local schools to inspire the next generation of engineers, both male and female, as we recognise fully the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Keep your eyes on our twitter to see us celebrate the achievements of some incredible women engineers, or drop us a tweet @highfieldrec if you have a female engineer you would like to celebrate.



Our new HQ

11 years ago, Liam Thomas and Sam Hughes founded Highfield Professional Solutions in their parent’s house. With the last 8 years being in Botley Mills, we now begin an exciting new chapter in our incredible new home in Durley, which is situated a short distance from Hedge end, Southampton. This new step marks a thrilling growth for Highfield and will represent a big step in our vision going forward.


The process of securing a new office space took some time as we wanted to ensure we had a space to grow as well as a space where our employees would want to come to work every day. The much larger and unique office space will create many more opportunities for Highfield, signifying the exciting growth period that we find ourselves in.


The Breakout Area

We now find ourselves in the position of being able to grow to up to 80 employees in this amazing open plan space in the coming years. From the very start of this process all employees were included in having their say in what they would like to see in the new office. Unfortunately, the hot tub was not included, although the suggestion of a dart board to coffee machines and all in-between were taken on board and the team now get to enjoy all the amenities Highfield offer.

The Boardroom

Commenting on the new office, Director, Sam Hughes said,

“Highfield has grown considerably over the last few years and it is extremely exciting to now have an office space that mirrors our ambitions, planned expansion and ongoing success.  We believe we have created the most unique and best working environment on the South Coast to empower all of our staff’’

Office Space

We would like to say a special thank you to local contractor, Leading Edge Builders, who completed the fit out of the new space for us.

Would you like to join us over at Highfield HQ? If you are interested in role in recruitment, then get in touch today!

South Coast Business Awards 2018

Highfield Professional Solutions are thrilled to announce we have been shortlisted for two awards at this year’s South Coast Business Awards.


Highfield have been shortlisted for Smith and Williamsons ‘Scale up Business of the Year’ and British American Tobaccos ‘Outstanding Contribution to the South Coast Region’.


At Highfield, our mission is simple: to be renowned as the trusted partner for Recruiting Excellence within the Technical Engineering sectors. We provide the highest quality led recruitment service delivered by specialist consultants, utilising a search methodology derived from a passion for innovation, thought leadership and corporate social responsibility.  We ensure this is central to our core values and it is this focus that has led us to become an employer of choice in our region.


The South Coast Business Awards, in partnership with Trethowans Solicitors, will take place on July 13th, 2018 at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl. It looks set to be a great event as the best of the South Coast business come together to celebrate.


We are delighted to have been shortlisted and are looking forward to the awards evening!

World Water Day

World Water Day takes place on 22nd March every year. It is held to act on and tackle the worlds water crisis, with a target to make sure everyone on the planet has access to safe water by 2030. This year World Water Day will be celebrating their 25-year anniversary. The theme this year is ‘Nature for water?’ This explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

The campaign is called ‘The answer is in nature’ and raises awareness of NBS. The idea is to raise awareness of nature-based solutions to help the water-related crisis. These solutions include planting trees to replenish forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands, creating buffers of vegetation along water courses

Surprising Facts:

Water demand:

  • 1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.
  • By 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people and global water demand could be up to 30% higher than today.

Water availability:

  • Today, around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people. Water quality:
  • An estimated 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from human faeces.
  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the environment without being treated or reused.

What can be done to support nature-based solutions?

Water availability and supply:

Water storage via natural wetlands, soil moisture and/or groundwater recharging can be more sustainable and cost-effective than grey infrastructure, such as dams.

Water quality:

Pollution from agriculture can be drastically reduced by NBS such as conservation agriculture, which protects soil from erosion, or riparian buffers, strips of land along water courses planted with native trees and shrubs.

We can do our bit by just following a few steps, the suggested steps are the following;

  • Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth
  • Turn off the tap while washing up or scrubbing vegetables.
  • Put rubbish, oils, chemicals and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.
  • Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bath and use it to water your plants
  • You can also collect and use this water to wash your bike or car.


If you would like some more information on this, please visit http://worldwaterday.org/ and we can all support the fight for a everyone to have access  to a safer water supply by 2030. Let us know how you are supporting this cause by tweeting us @HighfieldREC!

Highfield are a Certified Carbon Neutral Business