Presidential handover

Glyn Fullelove handed on the CIOT presidency to Peter Rayney in an online ceremony on Tuesday 17 November 2020. 

The video below includes both Glyn's speech as outgoing President and Peter's as incoming President. Peter's speech starts at 8 minutes 29 seconds.  

 

In his speech Peter:

  • Praised Institute staff, volunteers and outgoing President Glyn Fullelove for their response to the coronavirus pandemic, thanking the Institute’s leaders for having ‘steered us through a potentially perilous year’;
  • Said that while he ‘can’t wait’ for physical branch meetings to restart the Institute should respond to the success of its online seminars and debates by keeping these going beyond the pandemic;
  • Said that revenue protection, consumer protection, and the reputation of the tax profession all demand that tax avoidance schemes are ‘stamped out’;

  • Welcomed last week’s government proposal that all tax advisers (not just those in professional bodies) should be required to have professional indemnity insurance;

  • Promised the Institute’s continuing support to government and Parliament in their deliberations on tax reform.

You can read a press release containing comments from Peter, Deputy President Susan Ball and Vice President Gary Ashford, here.

You can read Peter's full speech below, or click on the link at the bottom of the page to download it as a Word document.

Peter Rayney Presidential Inaugural Speech

Tuesday 17 November 2020

[Check against delivery]

Thanks and 2020 – life under lockdown

Thank you Glyn, and thank you for your indefatigable efforts over the past 18 months.

When it comes to your presidential year you have truly delivered 150 per cent.

You, Helen Whiteman, and the rest of the Institute’s management team, have steered us through a potentially perilous year, with a steady hand and a sure grip…working closely, as always, with our ATT friends.  Jeremy, Richard – I look forward to working with you over the coming months.

And thank you too to our professional staff…

  • The HR, office support and IT teams who managed the transition to home working  - smoothly and without drama.
  • The education team who have taken our exams online, far faster than we had ever envisaged.
  • The technical team, who worked tirelessly to provide input into the Government’s financial support packages and launch a ‘Covid’ website hub for members.
  • The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, who moved at speed to translate these measures into language the public can understand.
  • The external relations team who publicised this help through the press and social media.
  • The membership and branches team, who seamlessly moved our programme of branch events online, ensuring members have been able to keep up their CPD, even during lockdown, as well as other member support services.
  • Our events team who have organised online conferences, webinars and debates.
  • Our professional standards team who provided prompt guidance for members and adapted quickly to conducting AML visits virtually.
  • Our marketing and comms team who supported our social media efforts and maintained contact with firms and those needing career support.
  • Our finance team, whose work adjusting the Institute’s cost base has ensured our continuing financial security.

And thank you too to all our wonderful volunteer committee members, ensuring we have been able – through these testing times – to deliver a programme of work that is more valuable than ever – to our members and to the wider community.

What next – the hybrid Institute

So what next?

We are not through this storm yet.

But, let us hope and pray, we will be soon, and will be able to meet and socialise once more, to see clients face to face, to hold physical branch meetings and other events, and to re-open Monck Street.

Does that mean that we should go back to how things were?

I think that would be a mistake.

A study of the 2014 Tube Strike found that, when some of the lines were shut down, one in 20 commuters forced to find a new route found that new route was in fact better than their old one – and stuck with it after the lines re-opened.

Sometimes changes forced on us by circumstance turn out to be preferable to the old ways.

When we moved our branch programme and debates online in the Spring, we found some debates and seminars attracting an audience of some 1,000 attendees – in a few cases more than 1,600.  This represented a massive improvement on the typical ‘face to face’ attendance numbers of around 60 to 100.

However, I know many of our members love and value our branch meetings and the opportunity for direct contact with fellow members. I do too. I can’t wait to get that back and see you all face to face.  I think we would all agree that our Branch network forms the heart and soul of our Institute – and it shall remain so.

But many others, whether because of location or timing, aren’t able to get to the physical meetings, but do want to access the technical and practical knowledge. And we need to cater for them too.

HMRC have found some similar things. Forced into new ways of working by the pandemic, they’ve found some of them work rather better than they expected. As a consequence, they’ve broadened their approach to flexible and home working.

The CIOT is already ahead of HMRC on some of these things but the principle stands. If the new ways of working are effective, we shouldn’t force people back to the old ways.

And of course some of the changes we’ve made, like moving our exams online, were things we were planning to do anyway. We just hadn’t planned on doing them this rapidly!

So - what should our focus be as we head towards 2021? Where should our attentions be directed to deliver most effectively on our public benefit remit?

The Institute’s Council has identified three areas of strategic focus: education, standards and voice.

Education

On education we need to build on our achievement in moving exams online, ensuring this month’s successful round of CTA exams is followed by a successful round of ADIT exams next month. This offers the potential to make ADIT widely accessible to an ever more diverse global market.

We need to ensure our qualifications remain relevant in the modern world. That’s why we’ve set up an Education Technology Working Party to look at the growing influence of technology in tax management and reporting for both taxpayers and tax authorities.  We must ensure that our educational offering adapts to reflect this.

And, as I said a few moments ago, we are innovating to build a national CPD offering that combines online and, in due course, face-to-face learning to meet the needs of all members.

In these challenging and unprecedented times, when so many of our clients face economic struggles, needing help with ever-changing government support packages, trying to keep their tax affairs up to date, we will do what we can to help you to help them.

Accessibility; innovation; information. Those are the keys to our education offer.

Standards

Promoting high standards and technical excellence is at the heart of the CIOT’s public benefit remit.  

Last week the Government set out the next steps in its plans for Raising Standards in the Tax Advice Market and for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

The CIOT’s views in this area are clear.

First, there is no place in the tax profession for those who devise, promote or sell tax avoidance schemes. We and other professional bodies strengthened our rules in 2017 to make this explicit.

Second, the best approach to guaranteeing high standards in the tax advice market is to work through professional bodies.

And third, if the Government is to be effective in tackling those who devise and promote tax avoidance schemes then it needs to take account of the fact that, by and large, these enablers are not tax agents at all and do not present themselves as advisers. Any attempted remedy which aims itself solely at advisers will miss its target.

Last week’s statement does not go as far as we would like in some respects. In particular, the government have stopped short, for the time being at least, of our preferred approach of requiring all tax advisers to belong to a recognised professional body. But there are some welcome proposals – in particular that all tax advisers should be required to have professional indemnity insurance - as professional body members already do – to provide basic protection for their clients.

The proposals for tackling promoters are also welcome. The aim must be to stamp out the activities of those who push avoidance schemes, while not making life harder for the compliant majority of advisers who play a vital role in the proper running of the tax system.

We are clear: this is an issue not just of revenue protection, but of consumer protection, and of the reputation of our profession. We look forward to continuing to work with HMRC, as well as with our friends and colleagues in the other professional bodies, to proactively pursue this agenda, as the public interest demands.

Voice

We also seek to raise the voice of our members, bringing our expertise to the public policy debate and demonstrating to policy-makers, employers and taxpayers the value that chartered tax advisers bring to society.

I am proud that throughout the pandemic the Institute has worked closely with HMRC, identifying ways in which businesses and other taxpayers might effectively be helped. Of the 22 easements and other changes we proposed in response to the pandemic, 14 were adopted in whole or in part. We continue to work with HMRC on these matters.

Looking ahead, beyond the immediate crisis, it is impossible to ignore the huge fiscal challenges facing policy-makers, unprecedented in peacetime. Many commentators believe major tax reforms will be needed. The House of Commons Treasury Committee is carrying out an inquiry on that basis.

I am proud that we were asked to help launch that inquiry, and to appear before it – twice – as expert witnesses. We will continue to support the committee, Parliament and government in their deliberations on tax reform in any way we can.

And we will continue, especially through our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, to provide a voice for the unrepresented taxpayer. In this vein, I look forward in the next few weeks to helping to launch our new paper containing recommendations on how the tax system can be made clearer, simpler and fairer for those on low incomes.

Conclusion

Colleagues, these are challenging times for all of us.

2020 has been a year of tragedy, upheaval and uncertainty.

But our profession is robust and our Institute remains strong.

Our work has never been more necessary.

I am very thankful to have a wise and enthusiastic Presidential team working with me – Susan Ball (Deputy President), Gary Ashford (Vice President) and, of course, Glyn as Immediate Past President

I am proud that, for the next 18 months, I will be leading the CIOT as your 56th President.

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