The Government advice on safe working applicable from 19 July 2021

With England now having moved to stage four of the UK Government’s “roadmap” out of the longstanding coronavirus restrictions, updated guidance on working safely has been set out.

In news that will naturally be of interest to organisations benefitting from various London Registrars services such as statutory records and Company Secretarial Support, the Government has re-categorised its guidance into six separate sector-specific guides.

These guides, in turn, address the main activities, with separate guidelines having been published for niche activities. Such workplaces as offices, factories and labs have now been grouped together.

The Government has said that it expects and recommends a gradual return to workplaces during the summer. It has urged employers to talk about the return to the workplace with workers and trade unions, so that working arrangements can be made that satisfy the requirements of both individuals and businesses.

In addition, employers have been encouraged to liaise on matters of health and safety with any other firms with which may share a workspace.

What six priority actions are businesses urged to take?

Detailed in the modified Government guidance are six priority actions businesses have been told they should be taking from 19 July 2021. These measures are all expected in order to help protect workers and customers alike, and include the following:

  • Health and safety assessments
  • Providing adequate ventilation
  • Regular cleaning
  • Turning away anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Allowing people to check in to premises
  • Communicating and providing training on the safety measures presently in place

How can businesses ensure they meet their obligations?

Organisations have been told that they should be implementing measures to help minimise contact between workers, such as the use of fixed teams or “cohorting” so that an employee only works with a few others, as well as putting in place screens or barriers where people do find themselves in close proximity.

It has also been suggested that employers should consider back-to-back and side-to-side working, instead of face-to-face. Also, where possible, workstations should be assigned to individuals. Where there is a need for continued hot-desking arrangements, employers are expected to make sure these areas are adequately cleaned.

The continued wearing of face coverings by workers and customers is also still encouraged in crowded or enclosed spaces. Employers should support workers who favour wearing a face covering, while being mindful of those with disabilities before demanding that they are worn. Employers have been advised against the precautionary use of PPE unless non-COVID risks make it necessary, or unless they are responding to a suspected or confirmed case of the virus.

What relation does the guidance have to existing employment and health and safety law?

The above guidance does not supersede the existing legal obligations imposed on employers with regard to health and safety, employment, and equalities duties in relation to employees, workers and customers. It is, instead, non-statutory guidance that employers are expected to take into account in the process of meeting existing obligations.

Employers have been urged to give particular consideration to higher-risk workers and those facing difficulties with their physical and mental health. Employers can support such them by discussing their individual needs and taking any further precautions that their clinicians advise.

With our wide-ranging know-how and experience in all manners of back-office compliance and governance, and services ranging from business formations and dissolutions to board support and taking companies to listing on the various exchanges, London Registrars can help put your organisation on the path to success in 2021 – and beyond. Contact us now for more information.

July 2021

 

What has the impact of Brexit been so far on UK financial services?

As a provider of company secretarial services and expertise here at London Registrars, we naturally take a great interest in the ongoing effects the UK’s departure from the European Union is exerting on the City of London.

One development that caught our eye in this regard was the release of a report by think tank New Financial in April, detailing how Brexit has so far reshaped the financial services sector across the UK and Europe.

There’s no question that the report – which draws upon a combination of regulatory registers, media reports and other research reports, as well as information from development agencies and government bodies – will be a sobering read for many in the UK.

How ‘Brexit has meant Brexit’ for financial services firms across the continent

Circular arguments about Brexit and its potential and likely consequences – both positive and negative – have unquestionably dominated much of political conversation since the 2016 referendum that returned a vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

Now, however – more than six months on from the end of the transition period – the financial services industry in both the City of London and wider Europe is beginning to see some of the more concrete outcomes of the UK’s departure from the bloc.

Those include – according to the New Financial report – more than 440 firms in the UK banking and finance industry having responded to Brexit by relocating part of their business, moving some personnel, or setting up new entities in the EU.

According to the think tank, banks are moving or have moved over £900 billion in assets from the UK to the EU, while insurance firms and asset managers have transferred assets and funds amounting to more than £100 billion.

New Financial said that when it published its first report on the impact of Brexit in March 2019, it identified 269 firms that had relocated something. Fast-forwarding to April 2021, the social enterprise observed that it had since identified another 170 firms in the banking and finance sector that had moved something as a consequence of Brexit.

As for the other parts of the EU that have most benefitted in terms of attracting business from the UK post Brexit, Dublin topped the list, with 135 firms, accounting for 25% of all moves the think tank identified. The Irish capital was followed in the ranking by Paris with 102 firms, Luxembourg with 93, Frankfurt with 62, and Amsterdam on 48.

Where next for UK financial services in the aftermath of Brexit?

While the report largely reads gloomily from the perspective of the financial services sector in the UK, there were nonetheless some sources of solace in the findings.

New Financial said that even amid the moves from the UK to the EU it had observed so far, there was “no question” that London would remain Europe’s dominant financial centre “for the foreseeable future.”

The think tank said that “firms are keen to keep as much of their business in London as possible and even the biggest relocations represent a maximum of 10% (so far) of the headcount at individual firms.” The organisation also noted that the movements were not entirely one-way traffic, estimating that “around 300 to 500 mainly smaller firms may open an office in the UK”.

The think tank added, however, that “the shift in business, assets and legal entities will gradually chip away at the UK’s influence in the banking and finance industry in Europe and around the world, as a greater proportion of business is authorised by and conducted in the EU.”

Looking forward, the organisation also observed: “The ‘good’ news is that the extent of this relocation activity means that most firms in the UK that need continued access to clients and markets in the EU now have it.

“With that access in hand, this is perhaps an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, treat Brexit as a sunk cost, and move beyond the debate of the past few years of how closely the UK should remain aligned to the EU in exchange for more access to EU markets.”

As the think tank regarded such access as “unlikely to be forthcoming”, it suggested that “it is perhaps better for the industry to take the damage from Brexit on the chin and focus instead on recalibrating the framework in the UK so that it is more tailored to the unique nature of the UK financial services industry.”

Prepare your business for success in the 2020s with our help

Brexit may mean many different things to many different people, but some things don’t change for UK firms. One of those is the key impact the right company secretarial suport can have on the fulfilment of their compliance, productivity and growth objectives.

Enquire to the London Registrars team today, and we will be pleased to have a more in-depth conversation with you about the possibilities for how we could work together.

July 2021

Tribunal finds against worker’s coronavirus ‘automatic unfair dismissal’ claim

An employment tribunal has found that an employee who claimed to have felt uncomfortable commuting to and attending the office during lockdown and requested to be furloughed was not automatically unfairly dismissed under the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 100(1)(e).

Dismissed by email after repeatedly asking for furlough

Mr Accattatis was employed by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) seller and distributor Fortuna Group (London) Ltd. On multiple occasions during March and April 2020, he asked to be permitted to work from home or be placed on furlough, reasoning that he wasn’t comfortable using public transport and working in the office.

He was told by Fortuna that it was not possible for his job to be done from home, and that the business was too busy to be able to furlough him. The company instead gave him the option of taking holiday or unpaid leave.

After turning down this offer, Mr Accattatis made three more requests to be furloughed. After he asked for the final time on 21 April 2020, he was dismissed by email later that day.

An instructive case for employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis

As Mr Accattatis did not have enough service to claim ordinary unfair dismissal, he instead alleged that he had been subject to automatic unfair dismissal under section 100(1)(e) of the aforementioned Act for having taken steps to protect himself from danger.

The tribunal noted the government’s statement on 14 February 2020 that COVID-19 represented a serious and imminent threat to public health. This, along with emails from Mr Accattatis voicing concern about commuting to and attending the office, showed his reasonable belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger.

However, the referenced section of the Act also included a requirement for Mr Accattatis to have taken appropriate steps to shield himself from danger or to have communicated the circumstances of danger to his employer. Fortuna had reached the reasonable conclusion that Mr Accattatis’s job could not be done from home and that he did not qualify for furlough, but had instead proposed the option to him of taking holiday or unpaid leave.

In response, Mr Accattatis not only requested that he be able to stay at home – which was agreed – but also demanded to be permitted to work from home on full pay or be furloughed on 80% of pay. As these demands were not appropriate steps to shield himself from danger, his claim was unsuccessful.

The tribunal outcome was not binding, but nonetheless serves as a reminder that the pandemic, in isolation, may not be sufficient to warrant a refusal to work under section 100(1)(e) of the 1996 Act, if employers have reasonably attempted to accommodate the concerns of their workers and lower the risk of transmission.

Contact us now about our company secretarial solutions

London Registrars’ services to help organisations through the effects of the pandemic – and beyond – are extensive, encompassing such solutions as registered office addresses, directors’ service addresses, register of shareholder maintenance, minute book maintenance, and much more.

To learn more about what we can offer to your business to aid its corporate governance, risk and compliance efforts, please don’t wait to get in touch with our friendly and responsive team.

June 2021

The aspects of the Queen’s Speech that are particularly relevant to commercial organisations

On 11 May the Queen delivered her speech marking the State Opening of Parliament. The usual ceremonial elements having been toned down in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest Queen’s Speech already looked somewhat different to previous ones, even before Her Majesty began to outline her government’s priorities for the months to come.

There were also many elements of the eventual speech that were of particular interest to commercial entities like those making use of our own company secretarial practice for PLCs.

Below, then, are some of the most pertinent points for such firms, as detailed in the Queen’s Speech itself and the accompanying briefing notes.

  • Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill. This Bill will require manufacturers, distributors and importers of smart devices to comply with minimum security standards in order to guard against cyber attacks. It will also lay out new powers of enforcement, and provide a regulatory framework that is adaptable to technological advances.
  • Subsidy Control Bill. This is intended to put in place UK-wide principles that public authorities will be required to follow when granting subsidies, replacing the European Union (EU)’s state aid regime. It will impose a need on public authorities to upload information on subsidies to a new nationwide database. In addition, an independent subsidy control body will be set up, providing for judicial oversight of subsidy grants.
  • Procurement Bill. This aims to put in place three modern procedures to simplify the public procurement regime in the UK. It will mean buyers needing to comply with the government’s new National Procurement Policy Statement. The bill will also set up a single data platform for supplier registration, while addressing supplier fraud, reforming the process by which procurement decisions are challenged, and capping the level of damages that bidders can access, in order to minimise speculative claims.
  • National Insurance Contributions Bill. As part of the government’s approach to trade after Brexit, this bill will give employers in freeports the benefit of National Insurance contributions relief.
  • Health and Care Bill. Those involved in advertising law are likely to be especially interested in this bill that will ban adverts for junk food before the 9pm watershed on TV, in addition to implementing a total online ban.
  • Environment Bill. Along with other environmental protection steps contained within this bill, some businesses will need to pay close attention to new measures to extend producer responsibility and new powers in relation to product labelling.
  • Online Safety Bill. This bill didn’t complete its passage in the previous Parliamentary session, but will continue in the new one. It will designate Ofcom as the independent regulator for online safety, handing it powers to issue fines of as much as £18 million or 10% of annual global turnover – whichever is greater. It will also mean companies having a duty of care to enhance user safety online, particularly for children. Major platforms will also be required to clearly set out in their terms and conditions what legal content is unacceptable on their platform, allow users to report unacceptable content, and tackle online misinformation.

Are you on the lookout for capable and informed professionals who can give your firm the benefit of the highest standard of company secretarial practice for PLCs? If so, please don’t hesitate to enquire to our experts at London Registrars, so that we can discuss how we could best serve your organisation’s needs – whatever the months ahead bring.

June 2021

Guarding against money laundering and its risks to the UK and global economy

Anyone and everyone who takes seriously the importance of protecting the UK’s national security, prosperity and reputation abroad must be mindful of the threat that money laundering poses.

The financial sector is of critical importance to the UK economy. It is because of this that money laundering, especially at the higher end involving the laundering of significant amounts of illicit funds through the financial and professional services industries, is a particular concern.

Here at London Registrars, we constantly strive to ensure we are playing our part in stopping the flow of illicit finances arising from criminal activity both at home and overseas.

Why is money laundering a particular threat in the UK?

The UK takes pride in offering an active and dynamic environment in which to set up a business, with relatively few restrictions on entrepreneurs and business owners.

However, it is also the sheer ease with which one can establish a UK business that has long proved a magnet for criminals. Wrongdoers are motivated to set up companies – both in the UK and abroad – that are seemingly legitimate at first glance, but which actually serve mainly as mechanisms for the laundering of illicit funds.

Criminals also regularly seize upon the lucrative property market in the UK, especially in London. Money laundered in this part of the world frequently represents the proceeds of crime that occurred in another country, with major financial centres being alluring transit points or destinations for these proceeds.

When criminal money is detected flowing in large volumes through the UK, authorities in the UK, EU and US can choose to take action with criminal and regulatory penalties. This, however, could increase the chances of major financial institutions collapsing or ending their presence in the UK.

Almost all high-end money laundering, as well as much cash-based money laundering, is made possible by the abuse of legitimate services and processes. A small minority of people can pose a profound threat to national financial systems by taking advantage of unwitting, negligent or even complicit professionals in such fields as accounting, the law, and real estate.

Money launderers often assume roles as intermediaries. In doing so, they may draft documentation, disseminate funds, and facilitate the creation of highly sophisticated structures for the movement and storage of large volumes of illicit funds, while making it difficult to ascertain who actually owns this money.

The diligent anti-money-laundering policies of London Registrars

The aforementioned issues help explain why, in our core services of assisting with the incorporation of new companies and offering company secretarial subscriptions, our own business has to remain vigilant and adhere strictly to the latest anti-money-laundering regulations. This includes undertaking such sensitive tasks as carefully checking IDs and proof of addresses before accepting new clients.

To learn more about the wide range of measures we adopt to help guard against illegal activity, as well as to discuss the business formation and support solutions from which you could benefit, please don’t wait any longer to get in touch with the London Registrars team.

May 2021

The key details for organisations – Financial Services Act 2021

Thursday 29 April saw the Financial Services Act 2021 finally receive Royal Assent, in the process, becoming the first financial services primary legislation the UK Parliament has passed since the UK’s departure from the European single market.

The Act – formerly the Financial Services Bill 2019-21 – was introduced in the House of Commons on 21 October 2020, and makes reforms to 22 distinct areas.

The background of the Act

The history of the Bill can be traced to the 2019 Queen’s Speech background paper, which expressed a desire to use the upcoming parliamentary session to bring forward legislation to “ensure that the UK maintains its world-leading regulatory standards and remains open to international markets after we leave the EU.”

The Bill’s stated objectives at the time of its introduction to the House of Commons included enhancing the UK’s prudential standards and promoting financial stability; promoting openness between the UK and international markets; and maintaining an effective financial services regulatory framework and sound capital markets.

The Treasury later added another objective in acknowledgement of amendments made during the Bill’s passage through Parliament, to “protect consumers who use a range of financial services.”

What are the standout changes in the Act?

Organisations using various services offered by London Registrars such as directors’ service addresses, the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statement, and the maintenance of statutory registers and more, are likely to take an interest in the various measures contained in the Act.

Eye-catching elements of the legislation include, among others, Section 30 on insider lists and managers’ transactions, as well as the information on maximum sentences for insider dealing and financial services offences in Section 31.

Section 30, for instance, amends UK Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) to clarify who is required to maintain an insider list. Specifically, it sets out that issuers and any person acting on their behalf or on their account all must maintain such a list, as opposed to issuers or any person acting on their behalf or account.

Also included in this section is an amendment to Article 19(3) of UK MAR, to modify the timetable within which issuers are required to disclose transactions by PDMRs and PCAs to the public. Issuers are now expected to disclose transactions within two days of the PDMRs and PCAs notifying them of those transactions, rather than no later than three business days following the transaction date.

Meanwhile, Section 31 extends the maximum sentence for criminal market abuse from seven to 10 years.

Your business doesn’t need to look elsewhere for company secretarial services

Would you appreciate the highest standard of specialised and tailored help in relation to your company’s corporate governance and compliance efforts? If so, the London Registrars team is available to discuss with you such key services of ours as minute book maintenance, ensuring timely filings at Companies House, and the maintenance of statutory registers.

Enquire to us today by phone, fax or email, and we’ll provide prompt and full answers to your queries to help guide you to the best-matched solutions.

17 May 2021

What are the corporate insolvency measures the Government has extended in relation to the COVID-19 crisis?

As we touched on in our previous blog post on this legislation, one of the Government’s earliest responses to the coronavirus crisis in 2020 was to bring forth what became the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, or CIGA.

Now, various temporary measures contained within the Act have been extended until 30 June 2021, including:

  • The continued suspension of the rules around wrongful trading liability. This measure dictates that a director will not be deemed responsible for any worsening of a company’s financial position between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020, and between 26 November 2020 and 30 June 2021
  • The continuation of the blanket restriction – as has been in place since 27 April 2020 – on the presentation of winding-up petitions based on statutory demands served on or after 1 March 2020
  • Continued restrictions on the presentation of winding-up petitions and winding-up orders
  • Small suppliers still being excluded from the prohibition on terminating a supply contract while a customer is insolvent
  • Also continuing, until 30 September 2021, will be temporary modifications and relaxation to the requirements for the new moratorium procedure outlined in CIGA 2020, schedule 4

Several issues of concern remain for struggling businesses

The protracted wait for the Government to extend the insolvency measures caused many observers to wonder whether they would be extended at all. However, the news that these Regulations are, indeed, continuing is not a complete shock, given how they mirror the arrangements still in place for lease forfeitures and repossession restrictions, which have been extended until 30 June 2021.

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 situation has resulted in significant trading difficulties for many businesses that would otherwise be economically stable. This, in turn, has raised fear of an elevated insolvency risk for some of these firms.

Much speculation will now centre on whether the Regulations are likely to see any further extensions, not least given that they are presently set to cease only shortly after the lifting of all general lockdown restrictions in England. This raises the question of whether businesses will have enough time after the Regulations expire to recover and fend off any creditors that may intend to approach them soon after 30 June 2021.

Whatever corporate governance issues apply to your business, we’re here for you

Every organisation is different, of course, and there is a wide range of concerns that your own business may have in relation to corporate governance, risk and compliance in the weeks and months ahead. This is precisely why the advice, guidance and support of experts in these areas – such as those of London Registrars – could prove so crucial.

With solutions of ours including – but not limited to – company secretarial practice for PLCs encompassing directors’ service addresses, maintenance of the register of shareholders, the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statement, and so much more, our team is available to provide the support your organisation might need.

Call, email or fax our team today, and we would be happy to advise further on your company’s particular circumstances and requirements as the UK emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.

4 May 2021

 

Automatic extensions granted by Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act come to an end

As recently disclosed by Companies House, for filing deadlines that fall after 5 April 2021, the automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA 2020) will come to an end. These automatic extensions applied to accounts, confirmation statements, event-driven filings and mortgage charges.

However, for accounts filing deadlines that do fall after this date, eligible companies will still be entitled to apply for an extension of three months.

What is the background of CIGA 2020?

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, with nearly all its provisions taking effect from the following day.

The Act comprises eight measures divided between permanent changes to the UK insolvency regime, and temporary alterations to insolvency law and corporate governance, to help struggling businesses survive the coronavirus crisis. Most of the Act’s temporary measures for protecting businesses had retrospective effect from 1 March 2020.

On 24 September 2020, the Government confirmed that it would extend the duration of some of the temporary measures included in the Act. The intention was to keep on giving companies breathing space at a time when the UK remained subject to various restrictions to help minimise the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing requirements and regional lockdowns.

Several temporary changes made to corporate governance

Among the Act’s provisions were a number of temporary corporate governance measures, designed to minimise the burden on companies and other entities so that they could prioritise their efforts on continuing to trade amid coronavirus disruption.

One of those changes was companies and other bodies temporarily being given greater flexibility to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings in a safe and practicable manner – for example, conducting meetings virtually – in light of the pandemic. This measure took retrospective effect from 26 March 2020 to 30 March 2021, and meant that directors were not exposed to liability for failing to hold an AGM in compliance with a company’s constitution.

Another temporary change made by the Act was the extension of Companies House filings deadlines. A temporary extension was provided for the period allowed for a public company’s directors to comply with their obligation under the Companies Act 2006, section 441, to deliver accounts and reports for a financial year to the Companies House Registrar.

That measure applied retrospectively from 26 March 2020, and expired on whichever was the earlier of 30 September 2020, and the last day of the 12-month period immediately following the end of the relevant accounting reference period.

Furthermore, CIGA 2020 handed the Secretary of State powers to make regulations to extend the deadline for certain other Companies House filings. This power, however, expired on 5 April 2021.

Turn to our professionals for the complete company secretarial support service

Whether you are on the lookout for a firm that can assist you with such elements of corporate governance and compliance as register of shareholders maintenance, minute book maintenance, and/or Companies House filings, we’re ready and waiting to serve you here at London Registrars.

Contact us by phone, email or fax today, and we will be pleased to discuss the possibilities for working together to guide your firm through what remains of the COVID-19 crisis.

23 April 2021

An explanation of run-off insurance – and its implications for you and your business

While the importance of professional indemnity insurance for a wide range of business owners and those providing a service is well understood, you may not be so familiar with the concept of run-off cover. Indeed, there is sometimes a temptation to incorrectly regard run-off insurance as representing something significantly different to ordinary professional indemnity cover.

“Claims made” vs. “claims occurring” protection

To understand how run-off insurance works, it is important to appreciate the “claims made” nature of the protection it provides.

The professional indemnity cover that your business may already have in place will be underwritten on what is called a “claims made” basis, rather than a “claims occurring” one. This means that your policy will respond to a claim – or an event possibly leading to a claim – that the insurer is first notified of while the policy is actually in force.

In other words, the policy will respond to a claim made during an insured period, even though the event giving rise to the claim might have actually occurred before the policy started, or when the policyholder was still being insured by another insurer.

This is different to how “claims occurring” policies – such as employers’ liability, public liability, or car insurance – work.

These particular insurance policies respond to losses that occurred while the policy was in force. So, if the policyholder has switched to another insurer since the event giving rise to the claim, it will be the company that provided the insurance at the time of the event that will deal with the claim.

So, how does this apply to professional indemnity cover?

In the case of your business’s professional indemnity insurance, it is crucial to ensure you have a policy in force to protect you in the event of a claim being made against you or your former practice for work carried out in the past.

This explains the need for a run-off insurance policy to be purchased and maintained while the professional liability period to your clients is still “running off”.

Run-off insurance, then, is a form of professional indemnity cover that takes effect when you or your employees cease to trade, with any claims made under such a policy relating to work undertaken before the run-off cover commenced.

What should your next steps be if you might need run-off insurance?

Those retiring from their business often purchase run-off insurance; its very nature makes it especially suitable for smaller firms and sole traders.

It is important to remember that with even speculative or spurious claims still needing to be defended, the right run-off policy can give you invaluable peace of mind. It will cover the costs of defending claims, and reimburse any losses that occur in the event of a claim being upheld against you as the insured party.

Anyone who required the protection of a professional indemnity policy while providing services and advice therefore stands to benefit from having run-off cover in place.

If you conclude that you do indeed require run-off insurance for your business, your next step should be to advise your current insurer or broker of this. If it is a while until your current policy’s renewal date, you will need to tell your present insurer or broker that you have stopped trading.

The insurer or broker will attach an endorsement to your policy, making clear that they will not provide cover for any service or work provided after that date – the “run-off” endorsement date. When the renewal date arrives, the insurer will present you with run-off renewal terms, and may request that you complete a proposal form setting out the work you have carried out between the previous renewal date and the date you ceased trading.

It will then be up to you whether to commit to the run-off policy, or instead make alternative arrangements. A run-off insurance policy typically continues for up to six years, although your business’s particular circumstances and requirements may dictate a shorter or longer period of cover. Note, too, that after the first full year of run-off, your premiums on such a policy should begin to show signs of decreasing from what you paid for indemnity cover while trading.

Don’t trust anyone else as your corporate governance partners

At this time of great uncertainty for so many businesses – including for their prospects in the months and years ahead – you are likely to greatly appreciate the specialised knowhow and assistance our company secretarial subscriptions can offer to your organisation.

To find out more about the details of this service, and everything else the London Registrars team can do to serve your governance, risk and compliance needs, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.

April 2021

Staff to continue working from home as much as possible until late into the easing of lockdown

In late February, the UK government set out its four-step “roadmap” for easing its most recent lockdown restrictions. In the process, it revealed that guidance to staff to work from home where possible would not be altered until 21 June at the earliest.

A week prior to that date, a review will be published to inform any update the government makes to its advice on working from home. Until then, the guidance for normally office-based workers is still to continue largely working from home where feasible.

Any change in guidance for such staff therefore looks set to coincide with the lifting of all legal restrictions on contact with others, and large closed venues such as nightclubs being permitted to open their doors once more.

What does the government’s roadmap document state?

The government’s document released alongside the announcement of the “roadmap” – COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 – states: “Social distancing is difficult and damaging for businesses and, as a result, it is important to return to as near to normal as quickly as possible.

“Ahead of Step 4, as more is understood about the impact of vaccines on transmission and a far greater proportion of the population has been vaccinated, the government will complete a review of social distancing measures and other long-term measures that have been put in place to limit transmission.”

Disagreement as to whether a ‘new normal’ looms

Presuming the advice on home working is finally revised towards the end of June, many workers will have spent a significant proportion of the previous 15 months away from the office. This has raised questions about the likely extent to which these personnel will return full-time to the office as previous limits are gradually lifted.

Various City and international firms, for instance, have already indicated that they won’t need as much office space as they did before the coronavirus crisis, due to the likelihood of people needing to come into the office less often.

Indeed, it seems probable that many employees in the long term will devote three or four of their working days each week to the office, and the rest to working from home.

However, one high-profile sceptic on suggestions that the pandemic could help bring profound and lasting change in this area, is seemingly the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson commented in a Downing Street press conference: “The better remote communication gets and the more people can see each other and talk on mobile devices, as a paradox the more actually they want to see each other face to face.”

“That, I’m sure will come back. I think that London and our great cities will be filled full of buzz and life and excitement again.”

Enquire now about our company secretarial solutions

Whatever the situation looks likely to be for your organisation’s workforce once the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is history, you may well be highly appreciative of the assistance with corporate governance and compliance that our own professionals can provide.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the London Registrars team today for more information and guidance in relation to Companies House filings maintenance, minute book maintenance, directors’ service addresses, and other key aspects of our company secretarial services.

March 2021