Update 28 October 2019
Britain will remain in the European Union until 31 January 2020 unless Parliament formally agrees to Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement sooner. Until this is formally approved a no-deal exit remains a possible conclusion and as such, businesses should continue to ensure they have made the appropriate preparations.
However, we believe that this is a dangerous route to take and there are steps you can take over the next two weeks to address potential changes and plan ahead based on your specific business needs.
To help you, we have been in communication with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and have formulated a short guide with up-to-date, succinct resources to use and follow.*
Your Business Brexit Plan
1. Form your Brexit response team
You may have already done this, but before you get started you should form a small Brexit response team from across your business to bring together people with the skills and attributes needed. This might include imagination, problem solving, those who understand your market and competitors and importantly, those who get things done.
2. Complete the Brexit Checker
The chair of your Brexit team should follow the .gov.uk Brexit Checker to assess your specific areas to address. This will give a summary of the areas where you are impacted and information guides to assist your planning. Also check our ‘Top 6 to-do items’ on this page for areas you should review.
3. Plan your action
Allocate the tasks between the individuals in your team. The checklist also recommends when to complete each activity, ranging from ‘do it as soon as possible’ to ‘it takes more than 6 weeks’ (meaning some activities may not be possible to complete before 31 January).
4. Review progress and communicate
Review where your team have got to, any outstanding items or problem areas, then communicate with your wider team.
5. Activate your plans
When the format of the UK leaving the EU is known, it is time for you to implement and remind your team of the plans that you have made.
Your Top 6 to-do items
Here are the top things your business can do now to get ready…
1. Prepare for new customs and VAT procedures at the border when trading with the EU: To continue importing from and exporting to the EU after 31 January there are changes you need to make now. Make sure you have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB. It’s quick, easy and free to do on gov.uk/brexit. For businesses that import there’s also the option of applying to make this easier with transitional simplified procedures (TSP). This streamlines the process and is ideal for those new to customs procedures. Find step-by-step guides to importing and exporting on .gov.uk here.
2. Signpost the EU Settlement Scheme: Employers can help their EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss staff get the information they need to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This will enable them to secure their rights in the UK. Applicants have until at least 31 December 2020 to make an application. Further details at .gov.uk here.
3. Check requirements to operate in EU member States: Check the regulations for EU/EEA countries to ensure you can still operate there, as UK businesses and service providers may face additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers. Further details are at .gov.uk here.
4. Act now to continue legally receiving personal data from the EU/EEA after Brexit: Check how you can legally continue to receive personal data such as names, addresses or payroll details from organisations in the EU or EEA after 31 January. You may need to update your contracts or take other steps. An example of a personal data transfer from an EU/EEA partner is a UK company that receives customer information from an EU/EEA company to provide goods or services. Further details at .gov.uk here or visit the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance here.
5. Check whether any EU funding you receive will be guaranteed: The government has guaranteed that UK organisations will continue to receive funding over their projects’ lifetimes if they have successfully bid into EU-funded programmes up to the end of 2020. Payments can extend beyond 2020. Further details at .gov.uk here.
6. Make sure your employees’ professional qualifications are recognised in the UK, EEA and Switzerland: EEA or Swiss qualified professionals working in UK-regulated professions will need their qualifications recognised by the relevant UK regulator. UK professionals working in the EEA or Switzerland will need their qualifications recognised by the relevant regulator in the country they work in. Further details at .gov.uk here.
For more practical tips to prepare your business for Brexit please read our article.
* This information is designed to guide you towards available resources only and does not constitute professional advice on which you can rely. The top six to do items and actual time to complete your planning may vary based on your business and exposure to Brexit risk.