There is more bad news in the world of IT contracting with new data indicating the public sector could lose almost 10,000 of its most skilled digital workers come April.
A leaked outline of the government’s digital Transformation Strategy shows the size of current digital workforce to be 18,000. However, a recent poll has revealed that as many as 54% of public sector PSC workers will quit if the proposed IR35 changes take place come April next year.
This would result in a mass exodus of 9,720 digital contractors. The problems this would cause would be drastic with many contractors trained in specialisms hard to find at best amongst the government’s 12,000 full time employees.
Further compounding problems are figures released by the accountancy firm Deloitte which suggests the government is already facing a shortfall of 30,000 additional civil servants needed to deal with Brexit.
Chris Bryce from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) commented on this saying “The public sector has never needed self-employed contractors more, they supply vital specialist skills on a flexible basis. Yet the government is considering bringing in a measure that will drive these specialists out. This policy must be stopped urgently.”
There is a feeling that these contractors who are very well suited to working on shirt government projects will be leaving the public sector and not “redeploying” as the government claims.
With a task unequalled to anything the civil service has faced since probably the second world war there is great concern that with at least 500 Brexit related projects on the go a skills shortage is the very last thing needed.
What with the end user/agency set to become liable for determining IR35 status of the PSC Contractor an exodus from the public sector is expected. This will put much strain on the vital public services as they are robbed of a key, flexible resource.
The IPSE has warned that “Many other business organisations are warning the government of the potential disaster on the delivery of public services if the measures are pushed through.
The Chancellor is being urged to consider this and use the Autumn Statement to assure public sector bodies and the self-employed that the government will abandon this particularly concerning proposal, particularly in light of the requirement for more resources to handle the UK’s exit from the EU.