The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has ordered a review into how the government can support a thriving UK labour market in the future. This review builds on existing research completed as part of Matthew Taylor’s “Employment Practices in the Modern Economy” Review (2017). The ‘Future of Work’ review aims to address how to “build back better” from both Brexit and the recent COVID pandemic. 

What is the scope of the “Future of Work” review? 

Boris Johnson has asked that the review focuses on the critical areas of employment policy that fall within the broader strategic issues that are facing the future of work in the UK, with the aim to: 

  • consider the importance of place and local labour markets in creating and facilitating access to good jobs 
  • consider the role of automation and how quickly it is happening 
  • consider how we can build on the “good” flexibility in our labour market and the gig economy while ensuring sufficient protections to prevent exploitative practices, and how to do this in a way that encourages productivity and growth  

What is the objective of the “Future of Work” review? 

There are three main objectives for the study: 

  1. Build on existing government commitments (including those made in response to the Matthew Taylor Review) to assess the key questions needing address in the future of work as we look to build back better from the pandemic. It should then select a few of these to focus on without attempting to provide detailed consideration of every future challenge. 
  2. Provide a more detailed assessment of selected issues, engaging widely with independent experts, academics, think tanks and relevant government departments and drawing on international comparisons. 
  3. Based on this assessment, make recommendations to guide long-term, strategic policymaking on the labour market. 

What is the scope of the “Future of Work” review? 

The plan is to spread the review over two parts: 

  1. A high-level assessment to identify the critical strategic issues in the future of work 
  2. A more detailed focus on select areas that have been identified in stage one of the review 

It is important to remember that the goal of this review is not to identify and answer every challenge that may be faced in the future. Instead, it will focus on areas of less progressive policy – whether there is a limited agreement or where the most significant opportunity for change is to be found – and make recommendations in these areas.  

How will this review impact IT contractors? 

The Taylor review, which the Future of Work review follows, called on the UK Government to update and simplify ambiguous employment status rules, and ensure those working in a manner reflective of employment receive the protection and rights they deserve.  

It is expected that The Future of Work review will also explore ways in which the UK Government can improve the flexibility of the UK labour market, including looking at those who want employment rights receive them.  

The hope is that the review will allow the government to address critical issues facing IT contractors – such as the confusion surrounding IR35 and employment status. However, five years on, little progress has been made on many of the recommendations in the Taylor report – it is no wonder that many contractors are feeling a little pessimistic.  

As usual, Agile Recruit will keep a close eye on the review and update you on any published findings. 

If you have any further questions about the Future of Work or any of the IR35 reforms, please feel free to email Jonathon Webley (Managing Director) at j.webley@agilerecruit.com or ring him directly on 0161 416 6634 or 07941 798 021. 

Share this blog