ContractorUK Readers' Awards 2013: the winners

Spotlighting excellence and personality in IT contracting, the ContractorUK Readers' Awards 2013 -- sponsored by Hiscox -- are unveiled today, with awards going to market stalwarts like PCG, SJD Accountancy, Hays and ‘cojak.’

Calling for nominations in December, ContractorUK’s Laura Foster said these awards, the only awards decided by IT contractors, should this year see its readers “play an even bigger part” than in the six previous annual vote-castings.

Fittingly, ContractorUK yesterday counted a record number of readers to have cast a record number of votes, not referring of course to the new award categories -- introduced for 2013 to reflect the growth in IT contractor demand seen in the year.

PCG, the trade group for freelancers, has scooped one of these new awards -- Contractors’ Champion -- defined as the person or group that ‘championed the cause of contractors’ the most in 2013.

“I would like to personally thank the readers of ContractorUK for choosing PCG as their Contracting Champion”, Chris Bryce, the group’s chief executive said yesterday, accepting the title.

“Winning anything that recognises the work we do is obviously nice, but this is especially rewarding as championing contractors is effectively PCG’s raison d’être.”

Another new award for 2013 -- Best Forum Adviser -- goes to InTouch Accounting's Clare Rickman who, as Clare@InTouch on the CUK forum, is commended for her prompt, helpful and no-nonsense advice on tax issues.

“That's amazing news…you've made my day,” she exclaimed yesterday, upon being congratulated on her win.

“A massive thank you to anyone who voted for me…I always thoroughly enjoy answering questions on CUK’s forum; getting into the occasional healthy debate over more technical issues and exchanging some friendly banter”.  

But Rickman isn’t the only accountant who ContractorUK readers want to salute. Asked to name their favourite accountancy firm, an overwhelming majority cited SJD Accountancy which wins Best Contractor Accountant of 2013, ahead of runner-up PayStream, and in joint third place inniAccounts and InTouch.

SJD's founder Simon Dolan is delighted. “I'd like to say a very big thank you to all the people that voted for us,” he said last night. “To win this award for the seventh year in a row is incredible, and a testament to the hard-working, passionate staff we have.”

Staff working hard no doubt helped Hays IT in the category of Best Recruitment Agency, which it won, snatching the title off Aston Carter -- now the second best contract IT recruiter, ahead of SQ Computer Personnel, voted the third best.

Told of his firm’s win, Lee Chant, managing director of Hays IT responded: “Being named Best Recruitment Agency by ContractorUK readers is a fantastic reflection of our commitment to providing the best opportunities and service to IT contractors.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote in the awards; we look forward to working with you to build on this success in 2014.”

The voting for ‘Best Jobsite’ for IT contractors was almost as tight. But helped by some last-minute submissions, JobServe managed to hang onto the title, narrowly beating into second place.  

There’s another category where the award has been retained by last year’s winner. Lloyds Banking Group wins ‘Best Client’ for IT contractors -- as it did in 2012 -- but must this year share the title with Barclays and the NHS, as all three received an equal number of votes.

Elsewhere, a previous winner from 2010 who failed to make the cut in 2012 -- Giant group -- has reclaimed its title of ‘Best Umbrella Company’ for IT contractors, pipping to the post Contractor Umbrellla, with the second most votes in the category.  

Meanwhile, the Best Training Provider for IT contractors according to CUK readers is QA, the Berkshire-based IT training firm offering 1,500 courses from its UK network of 20 centres.

On the lighter side of IT contracting is another newcomer -- Currently Listening To... -- a thread on the CUK forum where contractors simply share the artist and track they are at that moment coding (or posting) to. With almost 83,000 unique page views, it wins Most Entertaining Forum Thread.

Moderator of all threads on the forum is cojak -- a self-confessed lover of lollipops, London and lashing those that post inappropriately-- who, to her surprise last night, has been crowned Forum Personality of the Year.

“I'm amazed, [especially] on the basis that I don't post anything of use to anyone at all!” the mod mused. “May I say, I will moderate as fairly and as wisely in 2014 as I did in 2013!”

She’s not the only ContractorUK Readers’ Award winner to have an eye on the coming year.

PCG, ‘the voice of freelancing,’ reflected: “2013 was an important year for us, and for contracting in general, but the next 12 months are set to be even bigger.

“Rest assured, PCG will not be resting on its laurels when it comes to promoting and defending our unique and vital way of working in 2014.”

Editor's Note: See the full list of this year's winners and runners-up. 

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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