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Agency

AMS - Alexander Mann Solutions

Avoid if you can

Unfair IR35 assessment
Division: Software Engineer
I was contracting with a client, a large engineering consultancy. Initially, I was invoicing them directly. All was well. They then brought in AMS as an agency - despite introducing more admin, this was largely fine. I had two different IR35 assessments (one from QDOS and one from EY) that both declared me outside IR35. Later, in anticipation of the changes to IR35 regulations, the client engaged AMS to carry out IR35 assessments for all off-payroll workers. The assessment was suspect from the start, and AMS declared me (and everyone else, as far as I know) inside IR35. They then tried to push me towards their contractor umbrella partner, Giant. So, AMS, the company responsible for deciding whether or not I need the services of an umbrella company, also have a financial interest in referring me to a particular umbrella company. That smells strongly like a conflict of interest. Eventually, rather than walk away from the project, I grudgingly found a decent umbrella company (Contractor Umbrella) and signed up. My contract is about to expire, and the client has offered me an extension, but AMS now say I can only accept the extension if I move from CU to Giant or one of their other approved umbrella companies, many of which look very bad and unprofessional, some of which have even experienced recent security breaches. Conflict of interest, strong-arm tactics - most of my interactions with AMS have been dire.
Posted anonymously
11 months ago
Umbrella company FairScore 0+
giant group

How Giant work

I was forced to move to Giant several years ago. I have had no major issues using them, apart from the well published cyber attack that was very poorly dealt with and should never have happened. However I do but know several people who have had problems. Giant charge contractors a fee (margin) which only covers administering your salary PAYE payroll, giving you a payslip and annual P60 and provision of limited public liability insurance. Holiday pay and employers NI contributions are both funded by YOU and Giant will deduct money from your gross pay to cover these. You need to actively change holiday pay to “rolled-up” to stop Giant deducting money which they will hold onto and pay back to you when you book holiday. Giant will also auto-enrol you in their chargeable benefits package so you will have more money deducted unless you actively opt out of the scheme once you have been “onboarded”. You will also be auto-enrolled in Nest workday pension which will incur an additional deduction. There is a time limit on how long you get to opt out of Nest once enrolled. In summary, Giants website/sales process is somewhat misleading on the “benefit’s” of using them and contractors should carefully check which Giant payment cycles, holiday, pension and reward options are right for them and make sure they tick the right boxes. You should also keep a close eye on what tax code Giant have applied - they are not great at updating changes to tax codes correctly especially for anything non standard. Giant also seem to have changed the resignation/termination process - at the end of assignments not being renewed they now terminate your “employment” with them immediately and issue out a P45. You only get 30 days from your assignment end date to make sure you grab any payslips etc from their portal/sort out any open queries before Giant remove your access and will then charge you for providing any outstanding info you need. Giant need to start being upfront about what you are actually getting for the fee, stop auto signing people up for deductions they didn’t ask for and improve their service which continues to be inconsistent.
Posted anonymously
1 year ago
Umbrella company FairScore 0+
Parasol

Still waiting to be paid.

Used the Parasol Chat today, Parasol will not give a date when payment will be made. Contacted my Agency to ensure no further payments are made to Parasol until Parasol resolve their problems. Catastrophic reputational damage.
Posted anonymously
2 years ago
Outside IR35 banned
Division: IT
Agent advertised the role as Inside IR35, then when client made me an offer, said there was a PSC ban in place, the client will only engage via Umbrella. No SDS as not required when engagement is via Umbrella. Recruitment consultant could not answer the simple question of who in the supply chain will be paying the Employer NIC's and Apprentice Levy. When I pointed out that the Umbrella would be my employer, and therefore they can only deduct employee NICs and PAYE Tax, I again asked would the end client, the agency or Umbrella pay the NIC's - pretty much stunned silence. Requested a Key Information document from the agency, again - tried fobbing my off. Freshfields, as a law company, are probably blissfully unaware of just how poor their engaged agency are acting - and thus will be loosing talented candidates. Honestly, what are Freshfields gaining by paying an agency and forcing the contractor to use a brolly? No value whatsoever. Really don't understand why they don't just put the hired candidate on their own payroll, and just advertise directly.
Posted anonymously
3 years ago

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