EU law to benefit UK consultancies

Recent European Union legislation could pave the way for a raft of in-house design teams to be relocated out-of-house.

As design buyers such as the BBC, Marks & Spencer and Boots the Chemists come under mounting pressure to focus on core business activity and reduce their overheads, the extraction of in-house resources is more than a faint possibility.

During the summer, Nottingham design group Jupiter Design helped to relocate the 30-strong graphic design team from Boots, using a legal framework called Transfer Under the Protection of Employment. The BBC is also looking at ways to divest itself of its BBC Resources division.

Mark Shaw, managing director of Jupiter Design, believes that other design buyers will find using the Tupe legislation very attractive. He says that if the right circumstances present themselves he would like to make further Tupe deals with in-house design teams.

‘Basically, Tupe means that if a defined economic entity is transferred, the people working in it have the right to be employed by the transferee. After the success of our Boots deal, this is something I am looking to do with other people,’ says Shaw.

Following the extraction of Boots’ in-house team in the summer, Jupiter’s remit for the retailer now comprises graphic design, copywriting, point-of-sale work, catalogues, customer information and Web design. The consultancy also provides account management and artworking, including product and packaging artworking.

Boots creative director Jon Turner says he is pleased with the results of the recent outsourcing of in-house design. He says the move is ‘an initiative with the aim of lowering overheads, maintaining quality and efficiency, while ensuring our brand expertise is maintained’.

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