Is Compliance Being Overlooked Due to Homeworking?

Is Compliance Being Overlooked Due to Homeworking?

A recent survey involving 3,500 law firms conducted by Access Legal recently reported that many law firms are overlooking updating their cybersecurity policies or conducting adequate data protection impact assessments.

Analysis of the data found that more than 40% of law practices had failed to completely update their cybersecurity policies since switching to predominantly remote working from March 2020. In addition, 49% of firms confirmed that they had not completed a data protection impact assessment designed to identify potential data risks. Not completing a data protection impact assessment increases the risk to both client and staff data. Additionally, around 25% of law firms had not reviewed their health and safety assessments when remote working was enforced with 40% not reviewing or updating their anti-money laundering risk assessments.

In June the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) began to enforce action against firms that were not fulfilling their anti-money laundering obligations. The SRA fined six firms that took over twelve months to comply with new regulations.

It should also be noted that 85% of law firms said they were planning to introduce a hybrid working model with staff spending their week mixed between home and office working. In those situations, the SRA are warning firms to extra vigilant as those that work at home are at higher risk of being targeted by cyberattacks.

Access Legal survey

 

How can we help?

Hawsons is one of the few accountancy practices with a dedicated team of solicitor accountants specialising in the needs of solicitors and legal professionals.

We act for a large number of law firms across all three of our offices and offer a wide range of services which are tailored to meet their individual needs. Our legal client base consists of a multitude of firms of varying structure and size, from sole traders to limited companies and LLPs with corporate members.

Our understanding of the unique issues that many in the sector are facing, combined with our technical experience, allows our solicitor specialists to provide you with proactive, commercial and informed accountancy and tax advice.

Free initial meeting

Simon Bladen

Partner, Sheffield

0114 266 7141

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HMRC launches investigations into COVID-19 support schemes

HMRC launches investigations into COVID-19 support schemes

HMRC has launched nearly 13,000 investigations into alleged abuse of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) financial support schemes.

A freedom of information request revealed that, up to the end of March 2021, HMRC opened 12,828 investigations into alleged cases of fraud. 7,384 of these investigations related to abuse of the COVID-19 support schemes.

5,020 investigations were launched into the alleged misuse of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Commenting on the matter, a spokesperson for HMRC said:

‘It is vital we support businesses to recover by ensuring a level playing field, so the majority are not undercut by the few who tried to cheat the system.

‘We are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. We have now opened more than 12,000 inquiries into claimants we suspect may have kept more than they were entitled to. We have also begun a handful of criminal investigations.’

More from our tax experts

You can find all of our latest tax articles and tax resources here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

Free initial meeting

Craig Walker

Tax Director, Sheffield

0114 266 7141

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NHS and care workers receive ping-demic reprieve

NHS and care workers receive ping-demic reprieve

From 19 July, NHS and Social Care workers that have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by an MHRA approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to being pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be able to continue working. However, they are only allowed to continue working if they have a daily negative Covid-19 test.

 

What are the rules?

For the period that they have been told to self-isolate, health and care workers must have a negative PCR test and must remain in self-isolation until they receive the result of the test. If the result of the test is negative then they can leave self-isolation for work only. Following this, workers will need to take a lateral flow test before starting work each day for at least seven days and can only attend work if the test is negative. Staff that are working during their 10-day isolation period will need to comply with infection control precautions and wear PPE throughout the day. If any symptoms start to develop then this member of staff should immediately return home and arrange another PCR test.

The government has said that each individual case must be reviewed by the organisation’s management and a risk assessment must be undertaken before allowing any workers that have been contacted to self-isolate to continue working. Any decision that is made must be authorised by either:

  • The care organisation’s local director of infection prevention and control.
  • The lead professional for health protection
  • The director of public health relevant to the organisation

The government has made this decision in order to attempt to lift staffing pressure on social care and the NHS.

 

How can we help?

Hawsons has a dedicated team of specialist healthcare accountants in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton.

The healthcare sector continues to become ever more specialised, with changes in legislation and funding affecting both clinical and non-clinical matters. At Hawsons our team of specialist healthcare accountants offer professionals advice and guidance that is tailored to their individual needs and requirements, providing a full range of proactive services.

We pride ourselves on the in-depth knowledge and experience our team have developed in a number of specialist areas, across the healthcare sector, including GPs, care homes and pharmacies.

Free initial meeting

Scott Sanderson

Partner, Sheffield

0114 266 7141

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The Department for Transport has issued an open letter to the UK Logistics Sector regarding the current HGV driver shortage. The letter outlines the government’s plans on how they will help tackle the problem.

The first measure referenced in the letter is regarding the backlog of HGV driver tests that is preventing new HGV drivers from coming into the job. The Department for Transport recognises that increasing testing capacity is key to providing additional drivers. They say that the DVLA is developing solutions to increase testing capacity and are now passing 1,500 tests per week compared to 1,150 pre COVID. This has been achieved by increasing staff numbers and using overtime.

Further measures include increasing testing capacity which will involve consulting about the delegation of off-road manoeuvres in the Heavy Goods Vehicle driving test. It is also being considered whether or not to issue provisional license entitlements for articulated lorries at the same time as rigid lorries. This would allow those wanting to take the articulated lorry test to be able to skip the rigid lorry practical test which would free up more capacity for the rigid lorry practical test.

The second measure discussed in this open letter is the cost of training to become a Heavy Goods Vehicle driver. The Department for Transport is currently reviewing proposals for financial support created by industry sources to help improve driver recruitment. There will also be a revised Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship which will be available from 2nd August 2021. The revised apprenticeship will include an increased funding band of £7,000.

Finally, the Department for Transport has confirmed that they will continue working with the industry to create advertising content that will promote and encourage more people into the haulage industry.

If you would like to find out more you can find the full letter from the Department for Transport here

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year-round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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Rising factory costs to increase prices of British made goods?

In June 2021 the cost of running a factory increased at a record rate. This news caused concerns that prices of British-made goods will rise during the second half of 2021. According to the IHS Markit monthly survey of the manufacturing industry, manufacturers paid higher prices for essential manufacturing components and raw materials in June than in April and May which were record increases in themselves.

MAKE UK (an industry lobby group for businesses in manufacturing and engineering) said its members were holding back from increasing prices earlier this year, as they wanted to see if the cost of materials would start to level off. However, because the prices of materials have continued to increase, manufacturers are now starting to increase prices for consumers. This trend is most likely to continue until the end of the year.

Economist James Brougham, who works for MAKE UK, has said that a number of different factors are causing prices for key components and materials to increase. Firstly, there is an increasing global demand for these components and materials as lockdown measures continue to ease. Secondly, the current supply issues are made worse in the UK because Brexit is still causing delays at UK ports.

The Bank of England governor has recently said that inflationary pressures would continue for several months. He predicts that we are likely to see a recovery to our previous trend of low growth and low inflation laver in 2021.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of manufacturing and engineering accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. Our specialist team offers a wide range of services which are tailored to meet your individual needs. Our understanding of the issues faced by the manufacturing and engineering businesses means that we can proactively seek out ways for you to maximise your profitability and minimise your tax liabilities.

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You can find all of our latest manufacturing sector news and newsletters here.

If you are looking for advice in a particular area, please get in touch with your usual Hawsons contact.

Alternatively, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to have a discussion about their own personal circumstances – find out more or book your free initial meeting here. We have offices in Sheffield, Doncaster and Northampton.

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Chris Hill

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