I'm a contract Technical Author, working on my first contract through iCobus who are an ICT, Telecoms and Cabling recruitment agency. I'm the only Technical Author on their books, as they usually hire engineers. Their contract is within IR35 and says so at the very top. Before I started this contract I tried to get it changed, but was told that wasn't possible due to the client's wishes. However, after my first week working at the client's site, I knew that iCobus were wrong, because my working practices are in fact outside of IR35. I have since discussed the matter with the client, and they agree with my interpretation (particularly regarding supervision, direction and control). I have tried talking to iCobus to get this changed, but am not getting anywhere. They know very little about IR35. This fact could not have been any more obvious when I was today asked 'Why do you want to work outside IR35?' The client is eager to help me get this resolved, but I don't think the recruitment agency are going to help, as this is outside the norm for them and they see it as a huge risk. I came across this link from Contractor Weekly in 2012, from which I shall copy the relevant information below:
In the likely event that iCobus refuse to budge on getting the contract changed, it looks like getting a written agreement with the client could be an answer to my problem. My question though is this: now that recruitment agencies have to supply HMRC with details of all contractors and their IR35 status, is it worth my while pursuing this? I'm going to stick out like a sore thumb as I will be the only contractor with iCobus who is outside of IR35.I had my contract reviewed and it failed, so I’m definitely inside IR35.
This is a bit of a tricky one. Having a good contract is obviously important. In the event of an IR35 enquiry it is HMRC’s first port of call, and they are likely to focus on any negative wording.
Having said that, if (and only if) your working practices are compliant and your end client confirms this, it could override any written agreement. The sad fact is that many agencies peddle out the same rubbish contracts, regardless of how the individual contractor actually works.
If you do have a poor contract that can’t be changed, it is highly advisable that you look to put a confirmation of working arrangements in place directly with your end client. This is a short document that sets out what the true working arrangements are and will trump your dodgy contract.
All advice most welcome for this newbie contractor. Thanks.