When writing this blog, usually the first thing I do is to refer to my previous one I posted to comment or update England and Wales members on items mentioned. Not this time.
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, whether they have contracted the virus or not. It is in such circumstances that the benefits of being a member of a supportive organisation really come into their own.
Mark Walley and the team at STEP Head Office are to be congratulated on keeping things on an even keel throughout this period of immense upheaval. While managing the logistics of moving to home working, the staff have pulled together resources to help members keep fully updated, starting with the COVID-19 Technical Hub on the STEP website. After that there are any number of links to new information, from holding virtual meetings; changes to examinations; rescheduled conferences; maintaining CPD and just about any other subject of relevance. The Communications team has excelled itself in managing the STEP online offering to best support the membership.
Life goes on and in other non-COVID news, The All Party Parliamentary Group for Inheritance Tax and Intergenerational Fairness was launched on 28 January to positive media coverage. STEP’s involvement with this initiative has served to enhance our reputation and strengthened stakeholder relationships in this vital area.
The Legal Services Board is currently reviewing how to ensure that legal professionals remain competent throughout their careers. The call for evidence deadline has been extended to 26 June, and STEP will be making a submission to that review.
HMRC is keen to raise standards in the tax advice market and has called for evidence to support the UK Government’s crackdown on promoters of tax avoidance schemes. It is also conducting a review to give taxpayers assurance that advice received from professionals is reliable. Again STEP will be giving a response.
As we emerge from the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves it will be interesting to see which parts of our lives revert to existence pre-COVID. By the time of my next blog in December, I hope we will have had the England and Wales Branch Chairs Assembly – maybe via video conference. I look forward to hearing your own experiences and sharing some new, and quite probably unforeseen, best practice.
Denese Molyneux TEP, Chair, STEP England and Wales Regional Committee