Set Dec - Job Titles

The Issue

It has come to our attention that a number of Set Dec members are being asked to change their job titles. There have been several reasons given, but the main one appears to be to do with IR35 compliance. This was first reported on a Warner Brothers production, but has since been seen on other productions. It has led to confusion over tax status and department hierarchies, as well as erasure of the work of assistant Set Decorators, Assistant Buyers and others.

What can be done?

Bectu members and officials have been working on a document for Assistant Set Decorators which goes through the questions to the CEST test (HMRC's tool for determining tax status: Check employment status for tax - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ). The document can be downloaded below and gives the answers that we believe accurately reflect Assistant Set Decorators' work, and the reasons for those answers.

These answers, along with the model letter below, can be used to challenge a production on their decision around your tax status.

Follow these steps:


  • Fill in the CEST test using the answers below as a guide

  • Send your answers and the model letter to production

  • If they dispute it, ask to see their CEST answers for your job role, and point out the differences


If you work in another role you can replicate this process, answering the CEST test with respect to your job and way of working. If you want to help replicate the a CEST test guide for additional roles, please contact Emily (ecollin@bectu.org.uk) or Jess (jglaisher@bectu.org.uk) at Bectu to discuss.

Additional resources below include a diagram of comparison between roles in the art department that are usually considered self-employed for tax purposes, and a flow chart of the actions you can take to question your tax status.