22.04.20 Panel Event – Are we all Gigworkers?

22 APRIL 2020
6.00 – 9.00pm

Panel Event - Are we all Gigworkers?

Are we all Gigworkers?

Created and promoted by Devonshire House and driven by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Eversheds Sutherland and Working Free, this interactive specialist Panel Enquiry looks into the unprecedented changes in UK working practices. What are the emerging drivers? Where is it heading? Is it good news or bad news? What are the calls for action?

The purpose of this Panel Enquiry is to understand the current position and the divide between Typical and Atypical work practice models.  If we can identify the trends and patterns in our working world, we can identify how we ought to react. We are looking for new insights, new knowledge and new solutions. The relevance of this is hightened by the advent of a new Government, keen to do new things and also to do things that its political adversaries have ushered them towards.

The starting point is to understand the current statistics.  If you look at the monthly ONS Employment Statistics Report and ask how many of the 33m UK working population are wholly full-time employees on the permanent corporate headcount. The answer offered here is 55%. The other 45% are something different.  It is this 45% that is under scrutiny by this expert Panel.

The issues here affect every aspect of human endeavour in the UK – Government, Businesses, Unions, Individuals, influencers and commentators. 

  • Government – Do they – and HMRC – recognise just how extensive atypical working actually is? If they do, they certainly seem to be undecided as to how to handle it. EG: IR35.
  • Businesses – Hurrah for atypical work. Cheap, quick and bid-able which, if true, is bad news for some and good news for others.  But vital for today’s 24/7 working, flexibility and efficiency.  But it must be crucial to have a balance. Not always achieved, particularly in periods of major change.
  • Unions – Decreasing membership. Difficulties in finding new membership targets. Is their traditional mission of preventing abuse working? Clearly, it is needed more now than ever and adapting to new working models is important.
  • Individuals – Doors close – new doors open? Of course, they do! And speeded up by AI. The challenge is to find these opportunities and profit thereby.  Very, very, do-able. But, certainly, lots of change. Growing comment about the increasing importance of individuals – with increasing evidence that some appointments are becoming employee-driven.
  • Influencers and commentators. They need more information, more ambition, more excitement.  Expose abuse – but celebrate successes. Is Shareholder return really colliding with ESG activism?

The Chair

Sophie White, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

The Panel

  • Martin Warren, Specialist Consultant, Eversheds Sutherland
  • Neil Carberry, CEO, the REC
  • Charles Russam, MD, Working Free
  • Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary at the TUC
  • To be confirmed.

About Sophie White

Sophie is a partner in Eversheds Sutherland Human Resources group. She is a highly experienced employment lawyer, who advises clients on complex transactional and contentious matters across a wide range of sectors including healthcare, technology, media and telecommunications, engineering, real estate, construction, financial services and private equity. Her experience includes: advising on the employment aspects of the IPO of Royal Mail plc, the European restructuring of a US Inc and the closure of UK operations of a European wide manufacturing company. She has written articles on subconscious bias for CIPD online and is the author of chapters on TUPE for Thomson Reuters and Redundancy for Tolleys. 

About Martin Warren

After 30 years at Eversheds Sutherland, latterly as their Practice Group Head Partner responsible for Labour Relations, Labour Law, Trade Unions and Labour Relations Strategy, Martin Warren now operates as a Specialist Consultant with Eversheds with a focus on his specialist areas. Martin Warren is an experienced labour & employment lawyer, dealing with strikes , industrial action , advice to Corporations re labour relations strategy, Union negotiations, restructuring especially cross border downsizing , executive termination , Union recognition issues, collective bargaining agreements and European Works Councils.

About Neil Carberry and the REC

Neil is CEO at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, joining the organisation in June 2018. He began his career in recruitment, working for financial services firms and for a small search firm before doing a post-graduate degree in Human Resources at the LSE and joining the CBI in 2004.  He is also a  Non-Exec at ACAS,  Chair of a primary academy trust, a  Member of the World Employment Confederation and a Member of the Low Pay Commission. Neil is also an RFU L2 qualified rugby coach.

The REC  – The Recruitment and Employment Confederation –  www.rec.uk.com  – is the professional body for the UK recruitment industry. “The REC is all about brilliant recruitment” is their mantra – achieved through being the voice of the recruitment industry, championing high standards, speaking up for great recruiters, and helping them grow. The REC provides recruitment businesses with a wide range of training, legal, business and accreditation services and represents businesses through its corporate membership and individuals through the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) represents the interests of the private recruitment industry to government, business and media in both the UK and Europe.  All corporate members abide by the Code of Professional Practice and individual members abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The REC is Recruitment’s biggest lobbying voice. As a source of knowledge and passionate about raising recruitment standards, the REC is dedicated to developing successful careers in recruitment and is committed to exceeding members’ expectations through business support.

About Paul Nowak and the TUC

As Deputy General Secretary at the TUC, Paul supported Frances O’Grady in leading the TUC and has been with the TUC for nineteen years. He works with external stakeholders on behalf of the TUC, sits on the board of ACAS and is also responsible for inter-union relations.   The Trades Union Congress – www.tuc.org.uk – is the national trade union centre in the UK, the federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions. There are fifty affiliated unions, with a total of about 5.6 million members.


About Charles Russam and Working Free

Charles is Managing Director of  www.DevonshireHouseNetwork.co.uk and also   www.WorkingFree.co.uk. He established the first mainstream Interim Management Search firm in the UK in 1982 which he sold to the current management in 2014 through an MBI to Russam GMS Ltd  which has now been rebranded www.russam.co.uk  in August 2019.   Working Free is a specialist career advisory business, supporting senior Director-level Executives coming off the permanent payroll into an independent working lifestyle.  We assert that around half the UK’s working population of 33m are “Self Drive Workers”.  (A sort of massive gig economy – but hugely complex and continuously changing).   We see the move – for a growing number of senior professionals – from Dependency to Independency as a crucial niche in the Career Advisory, Coaching and Outplacement market.

About Eversheds Sutherland

As a global top 15 law practice, Eversheds Sutherland –  www.eversheds-sutherland.com –  created by a combination of law firms Eversheds LLP and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, in February 2017, the firm provides legal advice and solutions to a global client base ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest multinationals.  They provide the full range of legal services, including corporate and M&A; dispute resolution and litigation; energy and infrastructure; insurance and financial services; human capital and labour law; intellectual property; real estate and construction; and tax.

About Devonshire House

Devonshire House Network Logo

Established about forty years ago, Devonshire House is a people-focused membership club for Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of Enterprise.  Their aim is to create for their members thinking time and space for key business issues, and where people make the difference.  Devonshire House runs about ten main Events each year – a mix of formal dinners, buffets, Directors Forums, Panel Debates, Panel Discussions – and some other specialist one-offs.  The Devonshire House 2020 Programme is as impressive as ever, building on this high level and established format.


4.30pm            Refreshments

5.00pm            Intro from the Chairman

5.10pm            Panellists intro comments – 5 @ 10 mins (ish)

6.00pm           Debate structured around pre-agreed topics with good audience participation

6.30pm           Round-up comments from Panellists – 5 mins each

6.55pm           Chairman’s closing comments

7.00pm           Close – followed by food and drink

8.00pm           Formal close

The intention is to voice-record the Event – as a basis for the publication of a discussion and pathfinder document.

Date & Time

22 April 2020
4:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Eversheds Sutherland
1 Wood Street

The Chair

Sophie White - Eversheds Sutherland

The Panel

Martin Warren - Specialist Consultant - Eversheds Sutherland
Neil Carberry - CEO - REC
Charles Russam - MD - Working Free Ltd
Paul Nowak - Deputy General Secretary - TUC