Tina Milton Patricia Hewitt, the Government's e-minister, has launched the Information Security Initiative (ISI)/InterForum e-commerce Awards. The search is on to find a small business e-commerce champion, despite the looming IR35 proposals that threaten to reduce e-commerce skill levels in the UK.
The awards, which are organised jointly with the DTI, aim to reward the best practice in the use of electronic business amongst companies with fewer than 250 employees. The overall winner will win a prize of £30,000.
Geoff Morris, chairman of InterForum said that the IR35 could present a threat if it is not installed in the correct manner. "It could be a barrier if it inhibits the skill level in this country. It is an issue that should be addressed so it doesn't cause a drain of the talent in the UK, although it's not the kind of legislation that helps." Morris said that InterForum, a group of companies that helps British businesses trade electronically, has yet to approach Government to discuss the matter but it is an issue that is 'bubbling under'. "I don't think people realise how important contractors are to the IT industry."
Dr Andrew Ross, director of e-commerce strategy at NatWest said that NatWest, one of the award's sponsors, was committed to implementing e-commerce into every day situations. Contractors will be glad to hear that he predicts, "Electronic tax returns are an exciting way to go forward."