The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, or IPSE for short, is a not-for-profit organisation representing the interest of almost 70,000 freelancers, consultants and self-employed people from across the UK. It is run by its members to help other self-employed people get advice on tax and legal issues and to help provide cover if your freelance business is interrupted by something like illness.

Alex-grove-ipseWith the massive increases in tech and digital startups and entrepreneurial freelancers in the West of England, TechSPARK thought it was time we found out more about IPSE and what it could offer those people starting out in the world of self-employed. Here’s what Alex Grove (pictured right), IPSE’s Business Development Manager for the South West, had to say about IPSE, the networking events and information gathering it takes part in and why it is sponsoring TechSPARK:

TechSPARK: What is IPSE and why was it created?

Alex: IPSE (previously PCG) was established in 1999 to provide independent contractors and consultants with a representative voice in opposition to IR35 legislation. In 2014 we became IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, to better represent the full range of the self-employed community in the UK.

We are now the largest association of independent professionals in the EU, representing over 67,000 freelancers, contractors and consultants from every sector of the economy. As well as being a campaigning body, IPSE provides a wide range of support services to help its members succeed in business, including tax and legal helplines, toolkits, template consulting and networking opportunities.

“We dedicate our work to improving the landscape for freelancers”

 

TS: Why should people join?

Making the decision to become an independent professional often means venturing into an unknown world of taxation, legislation and financial insecurity. However, at IPSE we believe that flexibility in the labour market is crucial to Britain’s economic success, and dedicate our work to improving the landscape for freelancers and ensuring it is both considered and supported in all areas of regulation and policy.

Becoming a member means supporting a stronger voice to policy makers, but also means access to a wide range of support services to help you succeed in business. These include a pension scheme, a contract review service and much more.

TS: You regularly hold surveys – why should people get involved with them and what do you do with the results?

Our surveys help us to provide a voice for the self-employed. We conduct quarterly Freelancer Confidence Index surveys which track the economic outlook of independent professionals and the self-employed across the UK. We also conduct bespoke surveys when a particularly important issue arises.

Results are assessed by research and economic experts, both from our in-house teams and from external sources commissioned by IPSE. This gives us the evidence base needed to make a case to Government. Our survey results data also allow organisations – like the Bank of England – to monitor self-employment in the UK.

TS: How else can people get involved with IPSE in the West of England? 

IPSE regularly hold events all across the UK, and you can keep a tabs on these by visiting the Events section of the IPSE website or by following our social media channel @teamIPSE

TS: Why are you sponsoring TechSPARK?

TechSPARK provides a platform for entrepreneurial innovation – a cause which IPSE wholeheartedly supports and which is a vital part of the modern flexible labour market.

“IPSE has seen a significant growth in technology based startups and entrepreneurs in both Bristol and Bath”

 

TS: What do you think of the tech scene in Bristol and Bath?

Bristol and Bath have very respected centres of research at their universities which has undoubtedly played a part in creating pioneering cities. IPSE has seen a significant growth in technology based startups and entrepreneurs in both Bristol and Bath and workspaces focused around this sector are popping up everywhere. To make the most of this burgeoning tech scene I’m based in Bristol. I’m often found at TechSPARK events so do say hello!

You can find out more about IPSE and what it can do for you at the IPSE website. And if you feel you would benefit from joining IPSE, TechSPARK readers can get 15% off the cost of joining in the first year using the code ‘TECHSPARK16’.

Jamie Middleton