Ac-cred-i-tate!

DALEK VOICE: "All suppliers with a 'meaningful ongoing relationship' with us must also be Profiled and Audited!" Although this sounds like a command from the Supreme Dalek, the words are actually taken from Northcliffe Media's supplier-friendly webpages introducing the bizarre Northcliffe Media Supplier Accreditation Programme for managing its database of suppliers - which includes freelance contributors. There is a helpful explanation for "Why suppliers must take part" in the scheme.

Standard industry practice is generally held to include freelances having their invoices processed by clients gratis and free of charge. In what appears to be a departure from industry norms, and because Northcliffe are "investing heavily in the programme and because there is a lot of work involved", suppliers will be asked to pay for the scheme. There is a "small annual charge" payable by freelances for the privilege of being on Northcliffe's books. That's "£175 (in year one and £125 in subsequent years)... where the supplier has provided goods or services to Northcliffe Media with a value of £10,000 during the past 12 months." There's the option to pay a higher "Premium" fee which allows contributors "to take advantage of a range of benefits" provided by TIVA, the contractor who run Northcliffe's database. A link on the site for Northcliffe suppliers (http://suppliers.northcliffemedia.co.uk)  goes to a Powerpoint presentation on these benefits, Business Builder programmes, diagrams of the audited analysis software for ranking accredited suppliers and other gems of management-speak surrealism.

If you are contacted by Northcliffe about joining this programme, please tell the Freelance.

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