The key agenda items this month include changes to the UK Immigration Rules, and the launch of consultations on further measures to tackle late payment of smaller businesses and mandatory ethnic pay reporting.
Changes to the UK Immigration Rules come into force
Several changes to the Immigration Rules come into force on 1 November 2018. Under the new rules:
- Applicants can be given the opportunity to rectify mistakes on their applications which may previously have led to their automatic rejection.
- Points based system applicants will be able to submit copies of supporting documents rather than originals (unless requested for verification purposes).
- EU nationals and their family members will be able to apply for an administrative review if their application under the EU Settlement Scheme is refused on grounds of eligibility.
Further steps to tackle late payment
The government has announced steps to increase business confidence in the Prompt Payment Code, notably the:
- Small Business Commissioner is joining the Code’s Compliance Board.
- Board will publish its decisions (including decisions to remove a signatory from the Code for non-compliance).
BEIS is also seeking views on further measures to tackle late payment of smaller businesses. The focus is on achieving change through transparency (reporting and naming and shaming) and board room accountability.
The deadline for responses to the call for evidence is 29 November 2018.
Consultation on mandatory ethnic pay reporting
The government has launched a consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay reporting. The consultation document sets out the government’s proposals for a mandatory approach along similar lines to gender pay gap reporting, which was introduced in April 2017. It seeks employers’ views on practical matters including:
- The most appropriate method of reporting.
- The size of employer that should be subject to mandatory reporting (the government’s preference is employers with 250 or more employees).
- How to alleviate the challenges of collecting and analysing ethnicity pay information.
The consultation closes on 11 January 2019.
GC100 guidance on directors’ duties
GC100 has published guidance for directors on section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 and stakeholder considerations. It includes examples of practical steps directors could take to discharge the section 172 duty, such as:
- Reflecting the section 172 duty when setting and updating the company’s strategy.
- Establishing and attending training courses on induction to the board, with ongoing updates on the section 172 duty in the context of the director’s wider duties and responsibilities.
Practical Law has summarised the results of a poll conducted among FTSE 100 companies to find out how these companies are proposing to deal with the changes to stakeholder engagement mechanisms and section 172 disclosures.
New CMA cartel awareness campaign
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new “Stop Cartels” campaign to educate businesses about unlawful practices and encourage people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as fixing prices or rigging contracts. The campaign is targeting industries particularly susceptible to cartels, including:
- Estate agents.
- Property management and maintenance.
Implications of the Autumn 2018 Budget
Philip Hammond will deliver the Budget on 29 October 2018. The scheduling is earlier than in recent years to avoid clashing with Brexit talks set to take place in November. Practical Law has published coverage of the business tax measures that may be included in the Budget or published shortly after.
The Finance Bill will be published on 7 November 2018.
Forthcoming changes to UK trade mark law
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published guidance on the practical effect of the Trade Marks Regulations 2018, which implement the Trade Marks Directive 2015 and come into effect on 14 January 2019. The guidance covers changes relating to application and opposition procedures, infringement and cancellation proceedings, and rights of licensees.
Consultation on the disclosure of climate change risks by listed companies
The Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation proposing changes to the way in which the disclosure of climate change risks by listed issuers is regulated.
Responses to the consultation are requested by 31 January 2019.
Thomson Reuters Company Secretary Forum
The 7th annual Company Secretary Forum will take place on 27 November 2018 at QEII Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London. To view the agenda and book your place, click here.
Disclosure Pilot Scheme event
GC100 is hosting an event on 13 December 2018 to mark the introduction of the new mandatory Disclosure Pilot Scheme, which will operate (with limited exceptions) for two years in the Business and Property Courts from 1 January 2019. The purpose of the event is to discuss how companies and their advisers can most effectively embrace what will be a significant change in the culture of disclosure.
Further dates for your diary
- 1 November 2018. Closing date for the Institutional Shareholder Services 2019 benchmark policy consultation.
- 7 November 2018. Closing date for BEREC’s consultation on simplification of consumer contracts.
- 14 November 2018. Closing date for CEER’s consultation on protecting consumers who buy bundled products.