Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

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Image: ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As 2011 draws to a close and as people look forward to evening of partying and celebrating I’d just like to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Contracting is business not employment: Read the small print

rate cut for contractsThis post is about a contracting in UK. Some of terms mentioned here will not mean a great deal to people who do not understand the mechanics of contracting or the UK tax systems.


I recently got sent an email by a friend and fellow contractor that contained a link to the following news article:


http://news.efinancialcareers.com/72048/the-outrageous-email-allegedly-sent-by-bank-of-america-merrill-lynch-to-its-contractors-in-london/

Feel free to go away and have a read of the article but the gist is this. A well known global financial institution has decided that its is possibly paying over the odds for its contractors and as such it is enforcing a 10% rate cut across the board in an effort to cut costs. It doesn’t want to lose the contractors but it does want to reduce the amount it pays for them and hence reduce the cost of the contractors.

Tyour in a business relationship not an employment relationshiphe feeling of the comments left on the post seem to imply that people are outraged by such a move. The survey results seem to suggest opinion is split. Some people asked if the rate cut is legal or even possibly discrimination?

The answer is a simple one in my opinion. Note: I am not a qualified lawyer nor am I giving legal advice but these are my views on this issue.
Its very important to remember contractors are not employees, contractors  are providing a business service. If you are a contractor in the UK you are entering a business relationship not an employment contract. You maybe a small business, it might just be you employed by your company. You may be part of  larger organisation and there maybe more of you but the principal is the same. If you are in business for yourself and secure contracts with clients the terms of the agreement represent a business relationship. The terms of your contract are governed by the business agreement  that you have entered into. If it says in the agreement that a rate cut can take place legally or at least the rate can be negotiated and you signed up to it then, like it or not there is not much you can do.
Now what’s happened here is what happened to me with a previous client, the line in the contract I had with the agent was worded similar to this, which at the time seemed inconspicuous  “If for any reason we can no longer do business with the client, we will provide you with four weeks notice of termination” Doesn’t seem like much when you read it the first time but the letter and explanation I received made it clear that it was this clause that was being invoked and it went something like this. “We have been advised by the client that they can no longer do business with you at the current rate, so this is your 4 weeks notice…[I got the same nicety of it not being a reflection of your work etc]…The client would like to keep you on but the new offer will be at 10% less than your current rate. Please let us know by email by this date if you wish to extend or if you will be ending the contract at the end of the four weeks.” Having discussed this issue with several legal people who happen to be friends, as a director of my company and business I had a choice, take the new contract or accept that the contract would conclude at the end of the agreement. I won’t say what I did here as that is irrelevant to the discussion.


Now they couldn’t treat employees like this, but you often see business contracts being re-negotiated depending on the terms agreed initially. This is what this is, a re-negotiation of the business deal. The fact there is clause in there that allows this and it has been executed implies a business relationship exists…In my opinion it goes someway to support your IR35 status. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Contracting is Business, not employment. Business can be tough but the risks can be rewarding I guess its up to you whether you want the risk of business relationship or you want to be an employee

What do you think? I’d be interesting in any other views that people have to offer.
Contractor Calculator has some useful advice about avoiding rate cuts in these situations. http://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/avoiding_rate_cuts_clients_letter_template.aspx I guess though that will depend on your ability to negotiate business deals.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Execute Permissions

Written by Ian Treasure

Gethyn posted on the use of execute permissions a while ago (db_executor at http://www.gethynellis.com/2010/04/dbexecutor-role.html). Briefly, this approach uses a role – db_Executor – to which users are given membership. The execute permission is granted to the role.
 
I am using this approach to control access to stored procedures. Some developers started to complain that they could not execute their stored procedures. The first thing that I did was to check if their user was a member of the db_Executor role. It was, which was a surprise. I then started to check that the role had executor permissions. This was not so easy to do.
 
After a little digging, I used sp_helpprotect as follows.
 
In SQL Server Management studio, I ran:
 

sp_helprotect 'execute'



 
This returns the following:
 
Msg 15330, Level 11, State 1, Procedure sp_helprotect, Line 291
There are no matching rows on which to report.
 
OK – now I know that the problem is because the database role does not have execute permissions. So all I need to do is run:
 
GRANT EXECUTE TO [db_executor]

 
And if I repeat sp_helpprotect, I now see the following:
 
db_executor      dbo      Grant                Execute            .
 
which shows that db_Executor has execute permissions.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Contracting, SQL Server and gethynellis.com

A while back I started posting some contractor related articles.The articles were mainly for the those people that wanted to start their own business and work for themselves as a contractor. I work in the IT sector through my own company with several clients both based in the UK and across the pond in the US. I have been running my company and working for myself for almost five years now and I even through one of the most difficult economic times  in modern history I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I wouldn’t change  anything that has happened thus far. 

A while back I started a new section of gethynellis.com that I intended to have a focus on contracting and also some career based themes. At the time I thought it would useful to split up the SQL Server content that usually gets published on gethynellis.com from the contractor/career type posts. This week for a number of reasons I have decided that was not such a good idea.

My reasons for splitting at the time were simple, the two  people who read my blog (My wife Lisa and my Mum, Thanks Both!) are expecting the content to be SQL Server related and I didn’t want to mix the two. It turns out that I don’t post that often to the contracting blog and I don’t write the career contracting posts frequently enough to warrant splitting out the content into a blog of its own. I have crossed posted some of those posts and they have been quote well received on the main SQL Server blog. So I will be removing the Contractor/Career blog and from now on all my posts, whatever the subject will here.

So as its December and a New Year is just around the corner I have decided that the blog needs a bit of tidy up and spring clean. Over the next few weeks you will be seeing some small changes occur in the look and feel. Not a major changes but some old things will be removed like the contracting and section and some new things added I will hopefully have more posts and articles from both Ian and David. I do have a couple outstanding that I need to publish. There will be more SQL Server content, with the release of SQL Server 2012 due by the end of June next year hopefully we will have lots of posts showing off the new features.

So when will we get an RTM version of SQL Server 2012?  Here are my thoughts  SQL BITS which is scheduled for the end of March 2012 is the official launch and I believe the March/April SQL Connections  in Las Vegas is also a launch event. Even though the launch is planned for the spring and we recently got RC0 (Release Candidate 0), the official line at the PASS keynotes was the first half of 2012. The launch events of SQL Server 2008 were before the RTM date too . This means it could be as late as June. In fact Teched is due to start June 25th if I was a betting man that would be the date I would pick.