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Central Government - A Market Update

Posted by
20 Sep 2016
Over recent months there have been many changes for both Central Government and in-house organisations, with developments in tax legislation for temporary workers coming into effect and impending reformation following the vote to leave the European Union. But how will these changes affect lawyers both in the short and long-term.  

Historically, Central Government has always been a busy area to recruit for – there is a consistently high demand for lawyers, whether that is within personal injury, tax litigation, employment, contracts, procurement – the need for high-calibre talent in these areas is always high.
There have been a number of shifts recently, namely within commercial teams, and within tax law due to the changes mentioned above. Given the result of the referendum and the success of the leave campaign, it was not a surprise (although it was a surprise how quickly) that government teams looked to expand and adapt to the impending workload. Given the changes that are being predicted/anticipated, government departments immediately looked to secure numerous commercial locums in readiness for the increased workload.
Not only this, line managers have also slightly changed the candidates that they are willing to consider, and there is now a demand for candidates from a non-public sector background

Those from a local government background have made the seamless transition to central government, and have always been in high demand but recent shifts in attitude has seen a huge focus on diversifying the commercial teams to bring in those from a private practice or in house background.  This has opened the door to a whole new range of candidates, who are still seeking the high-value, high-quality work, along with the work/life balance that locuming within Central Government affords.
Another area that has seen an increase in demand is tax law, as government organisations seek to close down tax avoidance schemes by increasing the number of tax litigation and tax advisory lawyers. This is in response to the legislative changes enforced by HMRC in April 2016 which means that if a contractor was working through their own limited company, an umbrella company, or as a self-employed worker, they are no longer able to claim tax relief for travel and subsistence expenditure. This is being enforced if HMRC consider that the worker is under supervision, direction or control of the end client. For the avoidance of doubt, if there is no SDC, contractors are able to continue as they were with expense claims.

Given the above, there is a lot of work out there, particularly for commercial lawyers and tax lawyers. If you are looking for your next role, please do get in touch with me by calling 0161 834 1642 or email

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