Supporting our members and the profession in 2020 and 2021
R3 has changed this year, but the work we do supporting our members and promoting the profession hasn't.
As COVID-19 hit consumers, businesses, the economy and the country and two of the biggest pieces of legislation for 20 years were passed, we, like all of you, had to evolve how we worked, what we delivered and how we delivered it so we could continue to support our members and the wider profession as effectively as possible.
In March, we launched our corporate membership offering, designed to enable firms to offer membership to greater numbers of staff, broaden our membership base and increase our member engagement.
In May, we launched the first of our virtual regional events, and continued to provide weekly updates to members on COVID-related changes to best practice, policy and legislation.
In June, we launched our webinar programme, which included hosting joint webinars with the RPBs so all our members could learn about the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act and the changes it would bring.
In July, we launched The R3 Podcast to provide you with insight into the key issues affecting the insolvency and restructuring profession from the people managing them.
And in November, we hosted our first virtual conference, The 2020 SPG Forum, which delivered everything our usual Forum did - and more.
Supporting our members
Practical advice and guidance remained at the heart of how we supported members this year. In the early days of the pandemic, the policy landscape changed on an almost weekly basis and we worked to ensure members understood the latest changes and developments - and continued this support once the busiest phase of the pandemic was over.
This year, we've published 25 Technical Updates and Alerts about changing legislation, caselaw and best practice.
We've issued policy alerts covering COVID-19 updates, Government proposals and announcements, and analysis of breaking news that affects the profession.
We created a COVID 19 Contingency Arrangements web page, so you could access the latest pandemic-related news and technical changes in one place.
We provided practical insight to the Insolvency Service during the drafting process of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act.
And we developed a list of solicitors willing to undertake COVID-compliant legal swearing, so you knew who could help with urgent or time-sensitive cases.
Supporting and promoting the profession
The pandemic has brought with it a number of significant legislative changes - and increased scrutiny of the profession as predictions of sharp increases in insolvency numbers continue.
Throughout the year, we've engaged with parliamentarians, journalists and a range of stakeholders to ensure that the work of the profession is understood and valued, its voice is heard, and its concerns are raised when policy changes are proposed and debated. We've also developed resources to help improve understanding of the work undertaken by the profession and access to the support it provides.
As the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act completed its legislative journey, our briefings with MPs and Peers led to the profession's views being raised in debates on this Act in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with R3 referenced by a number of MPs, Peers, Ministers and Shadow Ministers.
As the Finance Act moved towards the Statute Book, the profession's concerns about the reintroduction of Crown Preference were raised 26 times in debates as we campaigned against the policy. We were delighted that our Policy, Press and Public Affairs Team won Team of the Year at the 2020 PRmoment Awards for our campaign against this policy - and we will continue this work after Crown Preference takes effect on December 1.
Away from Westminster, we've carried out 60 briefings this year with journalists from top national, regional, specialist and international media outlets to ensure the profession's work is understood, and that its voice is heard on key issues and policy proposals.
In September, we launched our Back to Business UK campaign, which among other activities, saw us collaborate with three key business bodies to run webinars about the work of the profession and the benefits of seeking early advice from a professional source when businesses face financial difficulty.
We developed the new R3 COVID 19 CVA Proposal Standard Form - a free resource for SMEs which aims to provide a foundation for directors' CVA proposals and, by doing so, make CVAs more accessible to those businesses who have become financially distressed as a result of the pandemic.
And throughout the year, we engaged with a range of key organisations including the Treasury and the Bank of England to explore areas of common interest and to understand how we could all work together to rescue businesses, help individuals and support the economy.
Our work with HMRC has also continued, with many projects progressing despite the pandemic. It is fair to say that HMRC, as an organisation, has faced its own challenges as a result of the pandemic and they have sought to maintain a dialogue with members as they address the challenges they face.
Coming in 2021
This has been a busy year. All indications are that the next one will be as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely extend into the first quarter of 2021 - at least. The outcome of the single regulator review is expected. The Brexit transition period will have ended, with no clarity yet as to the future of cross-border trade. The personal debt breathing space will be introduced. And we expect corporate and personal insolvency levels to increase.
All of these - and more - will affect the profession. And we're here to support you through all of them.
But we also know you've supported us this year. You've played a huge part in our successes. And you'll play a huge part in helping us succeed in over the next 12 months, whether you're a current committee member or Chair, or someone who is planning to join one of our committees in 2021.
We've a lot planned for next year. Our list includes:
- Continuing to educate parliamentarians, stakeholders and the public about the profession, how it helps individuals and businesses, and the importance of seeking early advice through our Back to Business UK campaign.
- Continuing to promote and defend the profession and its work in Parliament, in the media and with a range of stakeholders.
- Highlighting and promoting the contribution the profession makes to the UK economy through our Value of the Profession survey.
- Updating you on technical, legislative, best practice and policy changes - as they happen.
- Developing and delivering a range of webinars and training courses on key insolvency and restructuring issues - including content for specialist areas of the profession.
- Delivering three virtual conferences - a Fraud Conference in partnership with INSOL Europe, our Annual Conference, and our SPG conference - with discounted tickets available to members.
- Hosting free virtual regional events for members to enable you to maintain contact with your local professional network and with R3.
- Further broadening our membership base by building on the launch of Corporate Membership this year, so we continue to be the home for everyone involved in insolvency and restructuring in the UK, whatever your level of experience or specialism.
And, lastly but crucially, in 2021 we're launching the R3 Training Academy - our new learning and development experience, which will provide online and, when normality returns, in-person training for insolvency and restructuring professionals of all levels and experience and all learning styles. The Academy will enable professionals to develop early through to advanced level skills and CPD throughout their career, in a profession that's becoming increasingly sophisticated and technologically advanced. Members will receive discounted access to all of its courses, webinars and certifications.
There's a lot to be excited about next year. We're looking forward to you being a part of it.