Public Sector Contractors & IR35 – a real alternative!

Risky Bridge

If you work in the Public Sector and employ contractors, you’ll almost certainly have been made aware of the upcoming changes to IR35 compliance.  As you’ll know, in future it will be your responsibility – not theirs – to ensure that your contractors are compliant.  IR35 risk has always hung heavily over the heads of contractors, and the compliance rules themselves haven’t changed, only who is now taking the risk!

No one really knows what effect this will have on the available market of contractors for Public Sector roles – we’ve seen people quoting as high as 85% of PS contractors moving over into the Private Sector.  While this may be an over-estimation, whichever way you look at it things are definitely changing.

The Responsibility is All Yours!

Before co-founding LightStart, Digital Business Analyst Dan Akers worked as a contract Business/Systems Analyst for over ten years, and knows all the boxes contractors have had to tick to remain IR35 compliant. While there are subtleties, the key points are:

  • The contractor retains the right to send a substitute provider to deliver your services.
  • The contractor provides all their own equipment, at their own cost (unless there’s a VERY good reason why not, such as security or special software.)
  • The contractor sets their own working hours (hence why day rates are better than hourly rates!) – and the location where they work from.

When working with a contractor who works from your site, unless the contractor is incredibly keen on IR35, it’s almost impossible to prove compliance – and still get the service you require for your project.  However… for digital projects, there is an alternative – fully IR35 compliant out of the box, fixed cost and cheaper!

The Fixed Cost, IR35 Compliant Alternative

LightStart are an analysis-led digital design house. Our team works with our clients to provide analysis services that are often provided by contract analysts – requirements gathering workshops, process mapping, systems selection and functional specification documents.  Where applicable, we also then carry those specifications through into development, building apps, websites and the platforms and infrastructure to drive them.

For digital projects, we offered both fixed cost and bespoke analysis services – based on your requirements and the goals of your projects.  We work with public sector, 3rd sector and private sector clients.  Within the last few months we have completed analysis projects for The Youth Association and drydensfairfax – and are currently providing analysis and development support for Locala on their new digital platform.

Because we are our own team and company, we are fully IR35 compliant (and always have been.)  As we focus on a specific set of project requirements – and are engaged for a set amount of time – our costs are lower than contractors, and fixed at the start of the project.  They only change if together we agree a change in project scope.

Our bespoke costs for digital specification projects usually fall somewhere between £6-12k.  Contrast that with engaging a contract Business Analyst – with recruiter fees, and a three month minimum commitment, you’ll almost certainly end up paying upwards of £20k – or much much higher (from experience!)

If you’d are facing the uncertainty of using contractors for your digital projects – we’d love to talk to you about how we can provide you with the same services, while removing the risk from the project… that’s what we do best!

If you want to see how we work, there’s a lot of ways!  Give us a call – 0113 360 8428 – drop us an email – – or sign up for a free workshop.  If you like free coffee and pastries, come to our monthly coffee mornings and take part in our real-time app spec sessions!  Best of all, come visit us at our central Leeds offices for good coffee and a conversation about the other way of doing things!