The UK’s sharing economy trade body, SEUK, announces new members and releases an official definition following Government changes to UK sharing economy policy
3rd June 2015, London: Sharing Economy UK (SEUK), the trade body representing the UK’s sharing economy businesses, today welcomes five new members. Launched in March 2015, SEUK is a voluntary group launched by 19 of the industry’s leading sharing economy businesses. SEUK aims to ensure best practice and act as a single voice for the industry. The newest members being unveiled today are:
- Home Exchange, the international home swap platform;
- Vrumi, connecting daytime residential space with micro-businesses and flexible professionals;
- TrustedHousesitters, which connects home and pet owners with trusted sitters around the world;
- UnderTheDoormat, provides homeowners effortless income when they travel, offering guests local experiences in homes with personality;
- and Onfido, which provides comprehensive background checking, has joined as an associate member.
Today’s announcement comes after a successful first quarter for the newly launched trade body. In March’s Spring Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced an array of new policies for the sharing economy. This included the launch of two pilot 'Sharing Cities' in Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester; changes making it easier for individuals to sub-let a room and the updating of government procurement frameworks to include sharing economy platforms.
SEUK has also been focusing energies in recent months on creating a commonly agreed definition for the sharing economy. Sharing economy businesses face a number of common challenges around regulation and insurance due to the nature of the innovative services they provide. It is hoped that by aligning sharing economy businesses to the same definition the sector can work together to overcome these industry obstacles. The definition of ‘sharing economy’ has long been a matter of debate amongst the industry due to the unique impact of technological, social and economic developments on businesses in this space. SEUK has today released their agreed definition:
"The sharing economy involves using internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people and organisations to make better use of goods, skills, services, capital and spaces, sharing 'access' and so reducing the need for 'ownership'."
Debbie Wosskow, Chair of SEUK and founder and CEO of Love Home Swap, commented: “Since launching three months ago, SEUK has achieved so much for the UK’s sharing economy. It was fantastic to see the Government recognise and address some of the challenges facing sharing economy businesses in the Spring Budget, but I am particularly proud of the way in which, as an organisation, we are already working together more effectively to make positive changes for our members.”
“Today we welcome Home Exchange, Vrumi, Trusted Housesitters, UndertheDoormat and Onfido to the body, and are very much looking forward to working with these enterprising businesses as we focus on our next tasks: working with the new Government on sharing economy issues, and establishing a kitemark of industry best practice.”
Andrew Saul, Deputy Chair of SEUK and Senior Partner at Osborne Clarke said: “It was important that we worked together on a definition early on. A clear, agreed and consistent definition is crucial if the sharing economy is to become the defining force in technology and enterprise that we know it can be. SEUK’s members come from a wide array of vertical industries - transport, accommodation, leisure - in which they are typically seen as a disruptive force. By agreeing on a definition, these very different businesses can unite on their common challenges – such as regulation and insurance – and can move forward to create industry best practice.”
About Sharing Economy UK
Sharing Economy UK (‘SEUK’) is the trade body representing and championing the UK’s sharing economy businesses. Launched in March 2015, SEUK is a voluntary member trade association with 21 founding members from across the spectrum of sharing economy sectors.
The aims of SEUK are to:
- Champion the sector – making the UK the global home of the sharing economy
- Ensure best practice – establishing a kitemark for responsible sharing practices for both businesses and consumers
- Act as a single voice – recognising the shared challenges facing member businesses and developing innovative responses
SEUK was set-up following the launch of a Government-commissioned independent review, entitled ‘Unlocking the UK’s Sharing Economy’, which was written by Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap, in November 2014.
About Osborne Clarke
Osborne Clarke is the law firm of choice for sharing economy businesses, both in Europe and the US. It has 600 lawyers in 18 international offices providing clients with consistently high standards of service and commercial cross-border legal advice tailored to their industry. Our discrete national firms combine the very best of OC with an understanding of the local business environment and in-depth legal expertise in each jurisdiction.
Andrew Saul is Osborne Clarke’s senior partner. See more information here.