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This week’s publication of the Deane Review into self-employment marked a victory on two fronts: first, it was a victory for the power of the RSA’s ideas: the RSA has long argued that we need to consider self-employment in its broadest sense, placing emphasis on what it’s like to live a fulfilled life as a self-employed person.

The review focused on living standards of the self-employed which is exactly what we hoped for.  But more than that, the review also aligned itself with several RSA recommendations. Specifically:

  • It reiterated an RSA finding that, far from being an army of odd-jobbers, the majority of the newly self-employed are in high-skilled positions.
  • It embraced the need for flexible financial solutions for the self-employed, and considered the important matters of income volatility, savings and investments, mortgages and pensions.
  • It considered the idea of equal treatment for the self-employed in the welfare system.
  • It argued the need for a common legal definition for ‘self-employed’. 

These ideas have been a core part of our work on self-employment and we are delighted to see them becoming part of the mainstream.

The report also marked a victory for our new model of co-creation and deep engagement with Fellows. Our work on self-employment has been greatly enriched by Fellows of the RSA. Over the past year, Fellows have shared their thoughts on our draft reports, fed into the development of our Self-Employment Charter, and also attended a roundtable event with the lead government official working on the Review. We strongly believe that this Fellows’ perspective has enhanced the quality of our ideas and also made our work more compelling because it is grounded in both research and experience. 

In the coming year, we aim to continue our work and are now looking to the Fellowship for individuals and organisations that may be willing to work with us on piloting initiatives such as cash pooling, or any other ideas mentioned in our ‘Charter for the Self-Employed’ which they would be interested in piloting.

Do get in touch with me at engagement@rsa.org.uk or in the comments below if you are interested.

My colleague Ben Dellot has written a blog that goes into the contents of the review in more detail, explaining where it worked well and where it could have gone further.

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