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Website directories/networks for the Self-Employed

Comment 6th July 2010

Currently a website directory/network for professional/qualified/skilled self-employed people to advertise their services, to publish references and examples of past services, to join informal overlapping teams for specific tasks, to build and maintain relationships with past current and future customers, is classified as an Employment Agency by the Employment Agency and Employment Business Regulations when it is in fact a directory network publisher. 

The current classification imposes a vast bureaucratic cost on each user and each task.  The result is this revolutionary business model doesn't exist in the UK.

Why does this matter?

Social networks have blossomed in the last few years enabling us to build networks of the like minded across continents.  The social network model applied to an online directory  offers far reaching opportunities to our economy.

1/  Small and medium business' can access highly skilled staff on a part time basis without office costs.

2/  Any business can leverage its knowledge and skill base for a specific project, using an individual or flexible overlapping teams at a reasonable rate.

3/  Networks enable the self-employed to collaborate, to share skill, knowledge and experience. Retirees and mums at home still in the loop contributing and earning.  Young people reading, watching, commenting get noticed and bought in.

Whats stopping it is the DTI confusing Agents with Adverts.  Agents earn a fee from negotiating the terms and conditions between a job seeker and hirer. So they have a responsibility to ensure fairness and safety.

Directory Networks are publishers, a cross between facebook and the classified adverts in a trade paper.  They should face the same rules as newspaper classifieds and the yellow pages.  At present we treat them as Agents.

This failure to allow directory networks is sending work abroad.  The NHS sends medical typing to freelancers in Canada and New Zealand.  Half our working parents are doing 3-4 days to cover childcare and working costs when they could work part-time at home freeing  up millions of vacancies.

These are the tip of an Iceberg of opportunity.  Our children have already chosen the tool of their future.  Now we must liberate it..

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