It’s no secret that 2020 has been an unprecedented year; and just about everyone writing a commentary on the last twelve months would probably say the same. But how has STEP fared during this turbulent time?
I wrote in June of how lucky we were to be part of an organisation that strove to keep its members informed and engaged throughout the turbulent early months of the pandemic. I have continued to be impressed at the ingenuity of both STEP head office staff and the resilience of branches which have worked tirelessly to keep the STEP show on the road.
CPD and examinations went virtual; branches met by Zoom; the Spring Conference, Tax Conference and the recent Branch Chairs’ Assembly had the highest number of attendees ever – online, of course. The members of the events team have surpassed themselves and have more than earned our gratitude.
In the background STEP continued to contribute and influence policy; work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inheritance Tax and Intergenerational Fairness generated STEP positive publicity and greater visibility amongst key audiences. Thanks to Emma Chamberlain OBE TEP and Emily Deane TEP for their input into the report that was published earlier this year.
STEP’s work with the government around the 5th Anti Money Laundering directive saw a change in definition of ‘business relationship’. This is a key outcome for the industry and shows how respected STEP is within government departments.
STEP’s work with the UK Ministry of Justice on video witnessing of wills has also been a highlight, showing that our pragmatic and practical advice is being listened to in vital areas.
HMRC’s consultation on raising standards in the tax advice market is ongoing and STEP has been encouraged to contribute further. Many thanks to Sarah Manuel for her work in this area.
Whatever 2021 brings us I am confident that STEP will emerge stronger and better. The recent Branch Chairs’ Assembly proved to me just how passionate and motivated our membership is, and I very much look forward to working with you all in the year to come.