back to article I was fired for telling ICO of Serco track and trace data breach, claims sacked worker

A British coronavirus contact tracer who has said she was sacked from Serco for blowing the whistle on a data breach had part of her legal case thrown out because she was working for a mini umbrella company and not Serco itself, a judge has ruled. The woman, named by Bristol Employment Tribunal as Miss S Messi, also alleged …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Avoidance of responsibility

    The whole umbrella charade needs to be put to an end. It makes mockery of workers' rights for benefit of big corporations.

    If you work for a company you should be directly employed, participating in the ranks, having a career development plan or supply services as a business. There is no place for umbrella in that equation.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      Well... an umbrella helps a lot when you're being pissed on from a great height.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        It helps the person pissing, not the person being pissed on.

      2. bryces666

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        Except in this situation it is the people doing the pissing who are holding the umbrella, those being pissed upon have no shelter.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Avoidance of responsibility

          Isn't it more accurate to say that the umbrella is designed to protect SERCO, not the poor non-employee?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      If she was working in IT then IR35 rules would insist that she was an employee of Serco and the umbrella was irrelevant. For employment rights however...

      Once again heads the Government wins, tails you lose.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        "If she was working in IT then IR35 rules would insist that she was an employee of Serco and the umbrella was irrelevant"

        IR35 is not specific to IT workers, and, as far as I'm aware, working through an umbrella company (being under a contract of service and PAYE employee of it) renders IR35 irrelevant.

        IR35 is only relevant where a contractor claims to be not under a PAYE contract of service to the recipient of the service or an independent intermediary. What HMRC appears to disapprove of is the concept a limited company acting as the intermediary where its director provides the service personally, as opposed to employing other to provide it.

        The original (and reasonable) argument about "deemed employment" based on similarity of duties and obligations to those of an employee has been expanded until that original concept has been lost in the mush that now encompasses almost any independent contracting on almost any basis. This is because the interpretation of status does not depend on any actual contract, but is decided exclusively by the recipient of the service and HMRC, both of which have vested interests. That's fundamentally what makes IR35 utterly unfair - it totally disempowers one party to the contract.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Avoidance of responsibility

          To back this up, I read recently that the current shortage of HGV drivers is made worse by a lot of them being caught up in the IR35 rules and deciding not to play the game.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      " or supply services as a business"

      And who do we have to thank for that being a non-starter in so many cases? HMRC.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      She should've used CEST which undoubtedly would've said she was an employee.

    5. Mishak

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      At the very least, there should be a "Key Facts Sheet" (similar to those for mortgages and the like) that states up front something along the lines of "You will be employed by <Little-Scumbag> who will provide you as a slave worker to <Big-Scumbag>" along with a list of the benefits, rights and so on that you will not get from <Big-Scumbag>.

      Any "real" contractor will understand this, but that's not the case for a lot of people who are being forced down the agency/umbrella route without even knowing it's happening.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      shhhhh you'll be strung up around here for that talk....with all the "contractors" working 9-5 mon-fri for one company for years on end and wholly not "employees", which of course has nothing to do with reducing their tax bills...noooo of course not

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        The mythical permatractor bankrupting the HMRC is a laughable concept when you see how much money tax payer loses through fake umbrella companies.

        When permatractors will be forced on PAYE, the clients are still going to be charged 1-2k a month by big consultancy, but the difference is that big consultancy can afford more creative accountants and they also likely donate to the party.

        Also after the tax changes in 2017, only thing HMRC can perceive as a loss is employer's NI, which I am not sure it should be paid when someone is not an employee. Either way this is a too small amount to justify destroying multiple sectors and small businesses.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Avoidance of responsibility

          > the clients are still going to be charged 1-2k a month by big consultancy,

          oops, I meant "a day".

    7. Cereberus
      Big Brother

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      I agree with the umbrella POV but not the direct employment bit, and it isn't all bad news - there is a reason people use umbrella companies, usually for short term gain.

      I work for a large company and in the area I work in we have at the base level 2 people who work through an employment agency. This is to provide flexibility in the workforce, and in over 10 years I have only seen 1 person on that contract lose their job which was because they didn't give a damn. Extra support was put in, extra time spent with the the person and after 6 months we gave up and let them go then took on someone else from the same agency. On average they are with the agency for 12 months (max 2 years) before being offered a permanent contract with us as people move roles.

      The agency gives people an option of 'working' directly for them or through an umbrella company. If they go via the umbrella company they get a load of tax breaks, some of which I think are legally dubious. These include a meal allowance every day of £5, tax relief on travel because they work at different locations - this ignores the fact they travel to the same start location every day and then use a company vehicle to travel to whichever sites they are working on.

      Personally I think that umbrella companies should be banned as best case they screw the tax office or their employees. Worst case they screw both.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        > usually for short term gain.

        Short term gain of a company that does not want to increase the head count, as this looks bad for shareholders.

        > This is to provide flexibility in the workforce,

        This removes the worker from a company structure while giving an illusion of having any benefits of employment law.

        > Extra support was put in, extra time spent with the the person and after 6 months we gave up and let them go then took on someone else from the same agency.

        Company can hire and fire without giving a reason for the first two years. There is no need to have an umbrella for that.

        > On average they are with the agency for 12 months (max 2 years) before being offered a permanent contract with us as people move roles.

        So this is a way for a company to side step workers' protection offered by employment law after 2 years. That is probably illegal and if not, it should be.

        > If they go via the umbrella company they get a load of tax breaks, some of which I think are legally dubious.

        There is no tax advantage by going through an umbrella. If they say there is, then it is certainly some sort of illegal scheme.

        > These include a meal allowance every day of £5, tax relief on travel because they work at different locations - this ignores the fact they travel to the same start location every day and then use a company vehicle to travel to whichever sites they are working on.

        All these benefits are likely coming from the rates paid by the client and an employee would be better off if working directly, as there is no middleman that charges fees.

      2. genghis_uk Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        <quote>These include a meal allowance every day of £5, tax relief on travel because they work at different locations - this ignores the fact they travel to the same start location every day and then use a company vehicle to travel to whichever sites they are working on </quote>

        HMRC guidelines say that you can claim travel to a different place of work for up to 2 years then it becomes your 'permanent workplace'. A contractor can use this as their normal workplace is where their business is set up i.e. home or possibly the umbrella address. The meal allowance would be something the umbrella set up as a working 'off site' subsistence payment - normally a contractor can claim this with a receipt...

        So both of these are perfectly normal and allowed.

        An umbrella is really just a temping agency for contractors - but temp agencies are also notorious for screwing employees so nothing new there

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Avoidance of responsibility

          > An umbrella is really just a temping agency for contractors

          You are not a contractor if you use an umbrella, you are a permie of umbrella.

    8. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Avoidance of responsibility

      I worked for a firm I can't name for legal reasons who had their business made up of a miriad of small companies. These were how the business had grown, by acquiring and absorbing smaller firms. Nobody really paid much attention to the fact that there were around 100 companies registered at the head office address. That is until until we had proposed mass redundancies. Then it was announced in your redundancy meeting that as per your contract you were employed by one of these firms. That way despite the company getting rid of 150 staff in one go didn't have to give the longer 90 days consultation period just the 30 days.

      Angry didn't cover the feelings of the staff when they found out.

      1. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance of responsibility

        I understand their anger, but having suffered through a number of IBM "resource actions" the reality is that the mandated consultation period is always a meaningless farce. They could have a consultation period of 1 year but there would be zero movement by management on the scale or scope of redundancies. Having to wait for only 30 days was probably a kindness, then they could get on with their lives after leaving the scumbag employers.

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Avoidance of responsibility

          The consultation period was of course just the bare minimum and everybody knew it ultimately meant goodbye. The company had also altered the redundancy payment terms down to the statutory minimum about a year earlier. The thing was just as the 30 days was paid employment so would the 90 days. It's not like the company was that short of cash or sales. The CEO was in danger of losing his bonus through as not enough profit was being made.

  2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Jackpotcomics Ltd"?

    With a name like that, somebody is taking the piss and they know it.

    1. Mishak

      Companies House

      Nature of business (SIC)

      47990 - Other retail sale not in stores, stalls or markets

      Not quite sure how that matches supply of staff...

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        A stench more pungent than the odour of any stink bomb a comics shop might sell

        www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/insights/blogs/corporate-and-commercial-law-blog/falling-foul-of-false-filings:

        Company directors have a legal duty under the Companies Act 2006 (“the Act”) not to file false information on Companies House. Knowingly or recklessly delivering information or making a statement to the Registrar of Companies that is misleading, false or deceptive is a criminal offence under s.1112 of the Act and can lead to imprisonment and/or a fine.

        Although the article goes on to say that "Inadvertently filing inaccurate information is unlikely to breach s.1112 of the Act." I imagine forgetting to update your filings would be the same - especially in the panicked response to a pandemic.

        1. hittitezombie

          Re: A stench more pungent than the odour of any stink bomb a comics shop might sell

          Good luck getting the director registered in Philippines sued.

          Interestingly mods here blocked my comment about the same tax dodge being used elsewhere for NHS.

      2. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: Companies House

        They're all microcontractors supposedly controlled by people in the Philippines to "avoid" NI contributions for the reasons set out at the foot of the article. Private Eye and the Guardian have been covering this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are taking the piss.

      Although JackpotComics wasn't set up specifically to ripe the public off during covid having already existed the opportunity was seized. At the start to the pandemic its accounts state 0 employees and net assets of £355.

      Make you wonder which minister they were mates with (friends and/or the other meaning).

      The current director was, when she took over the firm, resident in The Phillipines.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Have you heard about the term "shelf company"? These are companies set up for the purpose of having a vehicle ready for any opportunity that may arise, without having to explain why the company has been setup yesterday.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "The current director was, when she took over the firm, resident in The Phillipines."

        So, rather than the usual practice of creating a new company for this purpose, they bought and existing, effectively defunct company. Saves on some paperwork I suppose.

        1. Pseudononymous Coward
          Happy

          >Saves on some paperwork I suppose.

          Not really. It is not much more paperwork to register a new company than to set up a El Reg commentard account.

          And it is best to avoid buying defunct companies because their debts might not be defunct.

          Trust me, I know about these things, although I am not a company secretary like Adolf Tooth Fairy Hitler.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I didn't think anyone on Tong Street was intelligent enough to do this.

            Fake addresses for offices on Tong Street, original incorporation at FTL (Farsley Transport Ltd) depot and current address on Tong Street is a Trampoline Park.

            Looks like some students based on the move to Loughbrough.

            Anon because I live a couple of miles from there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The clue is in the title

      They're a bunch of comedians and they've hit the jackpot.

      Talk about brass neck.

    4. Howard Sway

      Yeah, a 2 year old company on a trading estate in Northampton, also involved in "Freight transport by road". Is it any wonder that the test & trace system has been such a resounding failure?

  3. Mishak

    Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

    Checks date. No, it's not April 1st.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

      Somehow, I can't help but think Jackpotcomics supply most of the staff to government projects and positions. I wonder if the infamous Ms Harding is a shareholder.......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

        It's a waste. JackPot Comics sounds like really quite a good name for a shop selling comics, or a publisher of comics.

        But, as already noted, not so much for test and trace outsourcing.

      2. CountCadaver

        Re: Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

        Whole thing has a funny smell to it tbh....the company has one director residing in the Phillipines and the only other former director was a "consultant" who set up numerous other businesses with one director also residing in the Phillipines.

        Could be wrong but the whole thing stinks of a rather underhanded scheme of potentially dubious legality.......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

          " a rather underhanded scheme of potentially dubious legality......."

          Quite. Good job the Court of Public Opinion still believes in "nothing to fear, nothing to hide", innit.

        2. hittitezombie

          Re: Jackpotcomics Ltd to work on Serco’s national NHS Test and Trace scheme

          It is very much legal.

          See File on 4 expose here:

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57021128

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Whistleblower protection

    In the UK, whistleblowers are protected by the law, according to the UK government web site:

    https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing

    "You’re a whistleblower if you’re a worker and you report certain types of wrongdoing. This will usually be something you’ve seen at work - though not always.

    The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general public.

    As a whistleblower you’re protected by law - you should not be treated unfairly or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’.

    You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future."

    Or have I missed something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      ... as will no doubt be used in some forthcoming Official Secrets Act Trial of some Whistleblowing employee in Matt Hancock's former department.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Whistleblower protection

        Indeed.

        Matt Hancock resigned not because he had an affair and kissed his inamorata during serious lockdown (you don't leave your wife and three children for a woman you've only kissed once), but because he got caught. Sajid Javid, on the other hand resigned as chancellor on the point of principle that he wanted to appoint his own economic advisors rather than have them selected by Dominic Cummings.

        Clearly Boris Johnson had no problem with Hancock breaking his own lockdown rules as he accepted Hancock's initial apology. I have to confess here that their current conduct is unlikely to win my vote for the Tories come the next election.

        1. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Whistleblower protection

          Hancock got off lightly - a slap on the wrist for "breaking COVID rules" by kissing someone. Apparently Cabinet Ministers acting immorally, e.g. by having affairs, isn't a concern. And it does mean that he won't be held to account for the COVID mismanagement.

          Trebles all round!

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Whistleblower protection

          > Sajid Javid, on the other hand resigned as chancellor on the point of principle that he wanted to appoint his own economic advisors rather than have them selected by Dominic Cummings

          That rather suggests the IR35 project was indeed a stich up and eventually the benefactor had to become a chancellor.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      > Or have I missed something?

      I'm sure there's a 1-point font "*" with caveats about what happens if the wrongdoer was a mate of a govmt minister

    3. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      Yes. It says "should not" and is a trivially worked around rule that doesn't provide any actual fine etc, rather than a short and simple bit of primary legislation that defines unfair treatment, and says "if treated unfairly as judged by the courts then the company treating the staff member unfairly will receive a fine of 100x the workers annual salary".

      Which would pretty immediately end the problem.

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      As far as I can tell, the argument here is that she exposed wrongdoing by Serco, but she was actually employed by 'Jackpostcomics' and contracted to Serco.

      So, when Jackpotcomics failed to renew her contract it was for 'completely unrelated' reasons, and not because she'd embarrassed Serco.

      I'm guessing a good lawyer would be able to rip that to shreds, but I doubt she can afford said lawyer.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Whistleblower protection

        Regardless of the reason that Jackpotcomics fired her, it is they who need to be sued for wrongful dismissal, not their customer, Serco. Consider the case where the customers of a pub tell the landlord that they refuse to be served by a black person and will boycott the pub if that worker is present. As a result, the landlord fires the black employee. Should that employee sue the pub or its customers?

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: it is they who need to be sued for wrongful dismissal

          No, what "needs" to happen is this bullshit setup is made illegal and Serco is forced to employ people not use a fucking tax dodge to exploit the pandemic small business relief fund.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      You're right but it's the application of the law. The law is extremely rigid so she can only bring a case against her employer not her employers employer. It ultimately falls down to who pays you. I don't see how they could do it any different.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't see how they could do it any different.

        Make it illegal to set up hundreds of little sub contractor firms to do a tax dodge?

        Make it explicitly legal to whistleblow on a big firm from a sub contractor (nested however deep)?

        Finally enact the anti-fraud legislation that'll make tax havens open up about business ownership?

        How far did you look?

    6. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      Yes. The point of the case is that the company that fired her was not the company engaged in wrongdoing, and she is not therefore protected from adverse action by her employer. Whistleblowing laws in this country are rubbish.

    7. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      That's the wheeze. If she was a Serco permie, she would be protected. But, they have demonstrated she's an agency worker. So the contract ends and it's "sorry, love, we don't have any more work for you." No job has been lost.

    8. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Whistleblower protection

      "Or have I missed something?"

      She didn't lose her job for whistle blowing. She had her employment terminated because she worked via another company (rather than directly for the company concerned) and the company concerned had no further need for her services. The fact that this happened at the same time as the whistle blowing thing is purely entirely coincidental and not in any way even slightly related, blah blah blah...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whistleblower protection

        Exactly. And of course the rest of the work (and employees) could be moved to another MUC, and the contract with Jackpot comics terminated, at which point there's no possible chance of this having been anything to do with whistleblowing - there's just no more work. Honest.

  5. Ian K

    "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

    Because "Jackpotcomics Ltd" sounds like exactly the sort of company you'd want to bring in to handle important health issues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      I don't see a problem if that is just the name of the umbrella company she created/worked for... I thought umbrella companies were supposed to have their own unique name, and to paraphrase ISPs when I try to sign up with my real name, "that name has already been taken, please try 'realname (followed by a very large random number) at ISP.con" (oops Fraudian slip ;-) ) - which always struck me as weird because even in the days of AOL and Yahoo! I could only ever find 2 people with "my" name - me in the UK and one literally on the other side of the planet, Down Under...

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      Or, indeed, Bingomoneyshot Ltd.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      Don't knock them - having a knowledge of zombie comics might well make them more qualified than those currently dealing with the important health issues.

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      It certainly sounds like the perfect name for most of the companies hired to do work for the government.

    5. Jim Mitchell Silver badge

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      Cyber Ninjas said they couldn't take the contract, they were too busy in Arizona.

    6. TRT Silver badge

      Re: "Messi had been employed by Jackpotcomics Ltd"

      Or the well known Portuguese workforce supply agency trabajoamanoopaja Int.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a rabbit hole:

    Jackpotcomics Ltd

    Registered on companies house as: 51 Rothersthrope Road, Rothersthrope Trading Estate, Northampton, NN4 8JD

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/11963186/officers

    However, this appears to be an intentional miss spelling, should be: Rothersthorpe and not Rothersthrope, check out the correct spelling, no 51 does not exists, the houses that side of the Rothersthorpe Rd only go to 49 there is no 51.

    https://goo.gl/maps/Xoqo4hwMmUHmLiye8

    Google the miss spelling of the company name and you find a lot of companies with the same address (a few without):

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/search?q=51+Rothersthorpe+Road%2C+Rothersthorpe+Trading+Estate%2C+Northampton%2C+NN4+8JD

    And:

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/search?q=51+Rothersthrope+Road%2C+Rothersthrope+Trading+Estate%2C+Northampton%2C+NN4+8JD

    I would suspect all the postal stuff ends up getting delivered to this address:

    We Fix 'n E' Car - Car and Commercial Vehicle Repairs

    Unit 51, Rothersthorpe Crescent, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN4 8J

    All the names for the registered companies appear to be generated, strange how many have a director thats country of residence is the Philippines...

    All appear to have been registered march 2019 going forward current there appears to be possibly over 251,482 companies registered to the same address.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This government's sole purpose is to make the rich richer. No one should be surprised there are a quarter of a million fake companies at the same address.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      > All appear to have been registered march 2019 going forward current there appears to be possibly over 251,482 companies registered to the same address.

      Is it a coincidence that IR35 changes were supposed to go live in April 2019?

      What Boris and co are up to?

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        No that is not a coincidence.

        The microumbrella concept is an abomination, and needs to be shutdown as soon as possible.

        I would not say that it is Boris. I would expect that this is some enterprising but slightly dodgy accountant who saw the loophole, and sold it to some of the big consultancy companies as a way of getting out of the IR35 bind that HMRC created. I suspect that the actual setup of the companies is being done as a service for these large consultancies. It would be interesting if tracing back the people who registered and/or bought these dormant companies can identify what organization originated the idea, but I suspect that it is heavily obfuscated.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          How can you even register thousands of companies in a day?

          Do you get an API access? Quotas? Seems like could be someone inside too...

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    "Its a rabbit hole"

    This particular rabbit hole appears to lead to a whole city, sounds like a good time to set an investigative reporter on to that one.

    Anyone know if there are any biopharma companies among the quarter of a million or so dodgy outfits?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "This particular rabbit hole appears to lead to a whole city, sounds like a good time to set an investigative reporter on to that one."

      As per the article, there are already investigative reporters looking into it. I heard about the Philippines connection to 10's of 1000's of UK umbrella companies each doing small scale agency work for the likes of Serco on BBC Radio 4 show at least a month ago.

  8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    OTOH

    She does appear to have been intent of gathering dirt on the company with which to harm them rather than simply exposing a rather minor case of DPR breach. (Using real data in a training session is not a particularly serious case of misusing private data after all). Exposing that breach did not need her to make secret recordings of private conversations between other employees.

    I do not believe that it is unreasonable in principle to fire an employee who is quite obviously trying to find ways to cause harm to the company that employs them.

    1. Jonte Monkey

      Re: OTOH

      But according to the judge, she wasn't finding ways to hurt the company that employed her, as apparently SERCO wasn't her employer.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: OTOH

      @cynic - your comment illustrates the attitude that anyone who stands up for their rights is "a troublemaker" and should be got rid of. This is one of the reasons people don't hold companies to account.

  9. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Schoolgirl Error

    Unfortunately this lady appears to have made several schoolgirl errors in bringing her case which Im guessing will make it doomed to failure, albeit its not clear what elements of her case remain from quick skim of the judgement.

    It looks like the initial judgement for "interim relief" was for a stay execution.

    2 obvious errors :

    1. She is confusing or attempting to conflate "worked for" with "employed by"

    2. You never ever send 116 "stream of consciousness" emails to a tribunal, you make limited and deliberate updates of material evidence.

    3. Those 116 mails suggest she is taking it personally. No matter how personal it is losing your objectivity is a recipe for disaster. By all means be angry - but dont let that stop you acting with a clear head with the tribunal.

    I dont hold out much hope for her no matter how justified or not her case might be.

    She might be better off researching her agency employer who is using the mini-umbrella's and dobbing them into HMRC. She may not get much satisfaction from that route either but it would have been worth a punt at less cost and effort to her.

  10. mercyground

    Select where businesses @ Address Greater than 2000.

    Shame Companies House doesn't do audits of their data and look up potentially fraudulent locations and then remove their registrations.

    Google wont let you register unless you get a postcard to the address you registered with a code. Maybe if HMRC did that the number of blatantly fraudulent businesses will drop. At least it would force them to put some sort of effort into this.

    This is just yet another farce for the government. Much like when Boris's bit on the side was using a faked address with a receptionist in California answering the phone. Earned her a nice 150k grant from the gov. Bet that was never paid back either. Not sure that 150k makes it worth sucking off Boris but i guess some people have low standards.

  11. steven_t

    Director resident in the Philippines

    The sole director of Jackpotcomics Ltd is listed as being resident in the Philippines.

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/11963186/officers

    The referenced BBC investigation uncovered how tens of thousands of companies were set up, recruiting people in the Philippines to be registered as their directors. I assume they did this because when HMRC realise the arrangement is dodgy, the directors are out of their reach.

    I'm sure there are legitimate UK companies with Filipino directors, but this looks very much like the tax dodge identified by the BBC.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very smelly: Agency is paying from Netherlands

    Agency is set up to pay Umbrella company from Dutch account (sounds like Corp tax is less in NL)

    Umbrella can't pay my salary sacrifice to my pension without a £45 per week charge.

    I have just quit "toxic contract"

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