Last Updated: 08/03/2018
Definitions of terms:
“HomeTouch Connect” means an online marketplace for care provided via the HomeTouch platform
“Carers” means individuals working on a self-employed basis and delivering care services via the HomeTouch platform“Care seekers”, “customers” “clients” means individuals using the HomeTouch Connect service to search for care, engage with carers and enter into a contractual relationship with carers
1. General Terms of HomeTouch Connect
1.1 About HomeTouch Connect
HomeTouch provides an online platform for self-employed carers and care seekers to connect with one another, communicate and arrange care contracts between one another. This is facilitated through providing services which include but are not limited to:
A searchable online database of self-employed carers
Communication tools to facilitate interaction
A self-service system for care seekers to manage short and longer term contracts for services
Payment system to enable transactions between self-employed carers and care seekers
Monitoring tools for customers to monitor care activity
Feedback tools on care provision
1.2 Introductory agency service
HomeTouch is classified as an ‘introductory agency’ in line with CQC guidance. HomeTouch provides an online marketplace to facilitate the process of finding home care. HomeTouch does not direct employ carers. HomeTouch is a defined as an employment business pursuant to the Employment Agencies Act 1973.
1.3 Limitations of serviceAll the tools provided by HomeTouch Connect are used at the customer’s and carers’ own risk and there is no guarantee that these tools will work optimally, not be subject to downtime, or removed from service at any point in time. HomeTouch does not accept any liability for losses or damages caused by the temporary unavailability of the service or technical errors. HomeTouch disclaims any liability for controversies, losses, injury, accidents, claims or damages arising out of the use of the online tools it provides, the engagement of carers or the provision of care services by carers.
2. Rules for User conduct and use of service
2.1 Use of serviceBy registering and using this website or smartphone application as a carer you confirm that: you accept and will abide by all the terms and conditions you are 18 years old or over and have the right to form legally binding contracts under UK law any information you provide on the site is correct and accurate including details on your qualifications, skills and experience you are eligible to legally work in the UK Providing you meet the relevant HMRC criteria for the arrangement with the client being a self-employed arrangement, you will be working on a self-employed basis and will fulfil all responsibilities and duties of a self-employed worker including paying all tax and National Insurance due to HMRC You will not receive Holiday pay from HomeTouch when working on a self employed basis You will provide your Unique Taxpayer Reference Number during registration
2.2 Account creationTo use this service, carers must create an account with HomeTouch via the smartphone application or via our online form. Each account must be a personal account and only one account is allowed per person. Carers must provide accurate and up to date information. You confirm you will keep passwords safe and secure and not allow anyone else to access your account. HomeTouch reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the site at any time and with immediate effect.
2.3 Profile contentCarers are directly responsible for content that they upload to the HomeTouch platform and must not give the impression that any content is provided by HomeTouch or any other individual. Content must not be defamatory, offensive or inaccurate, false or misleading. HomeTouch reserves the right to remove any content that does not meet these standards at our discretion. By using this service you agree to only use HomeTouch for its intended and lawful purposes. HomeTouch reserves the right to amend and edit the content for accuracy, correct grammar and general presentation in accordance with creating a positive user experience for care seekers.
2.4 Compliance with ContractOnce a self-employed carer has “accepted” a contract, they are bound to deliver the terms of that contract. The self-employed carer must negotiate with the care seeker regarding any deviation from the contract, e.g. for time off or changes of contracted hours for leave, illness or personal circumstances. HomeTouch can offer no mediation or intervention regarding perceived non-compliance with the contract unless the dispute resolution process is activated.
2.5 Quality of Care deliveryIn your capacity as a carer you agree to provide a professional, punctual, safe, compassionate, well communicated and diligent service for the customer and/ or care recipient at all times. You must not accept a contract that involves duties beyond your level of competence. You agree to act honestly and with absolute integrity at all times. You should not sub-contract or offer work to any colleague or any associate unless you have agreed this with the client. Any change to contract terms must be expressly communicated to the client in writing. As a self-employed person, you have a right to find a substitute for your absences. HomeTouch encourages you to contact and liaise with other carers registered through HomeTouch who has passed our rigorous vetting process.
2.6 Compliance with Statutory RegulationsCarers must ensure they are in compliance with the Care Standards Act 2006, the Care Act 2015, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 and all other legislation and Governmental Authority guidance applicable to the care of vulnerable adults in force in the UK. In addition, you represent and warrant that you and each member of your household (i) have never been the subject of a complaint, restraining order or any other legal action involving being arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any criminal offence involving violence, abuse, neglect, theft or fraud, or any offence that involves endangering the safety of others, dishonesty, negligence or drugs, and you are not nor have you ever been on the sex offenders register or other similar list.
3. Release of liability for user conduct and disputesAny agreements are legally binding agreements between the care seeker and the carer. HomeTouch are not party to an agreement and we cannot arbitrate or mediate if there is an alleged breach of contract unless the dispute resolution process is activated. Any issues should be resolved directly between care seeker and carer where at all possible. HomeTouch does not accept any liability for claims, demands or direct or indirect damages arising from disputes between care seekers and carers, however we do offer a dispute resolution pathway which should be followed in the case of disagreement.
4. Dispute Resolution Policy
4.1 OverviewHomeTouch provides a dispute resolution process where there is a disagreement between care seeker and self-employed carer. Either care seeker or self-employed carer can dispute a contract. HomeTouch will examine the contract, compliance with terms, user analytics data including but not limited to visit logging, messaging, geoverification, user feedback and previous self-employed carer behaviour and any submissions by either party.
5. Payments, Cancellations and Refunds
5.1 PaymentsAll payments for work completed must be made through HomeTouch Connect. Attempts to bypass HomeTouch Connect may lead to sanctions not limited to immediate account suspension. Any offers to transact outside of HomeTouch Connect made by either party must be reported to HomeTouch immediately. You are responsible for making sure we have your current and up to date bank details on file for customer funds to be released to you. HomeTouch will pay You in respect of the work carried out regardless of whether we have received payment from the Care seeker.
5.2 Rates and feesIt is your responsibility to set your hourly rate for the care services you wish to provide. Hourly rates should not be changed during a contract agreement. Any changes in hourly rates that are made before the end of a contract must result in the termination of the current contract and a new contract must be agreed with the client. When setting your rate and negotiating with the client, you should account for HomeTouch charging a service fee of 20% inc VAT which is deducted from your hourly rate. In certain instances, such as DBS checks, training, and other ancillary services being provided by HomeTouch or a third party, we will provide you with a statement including the amount and calculation of the fee; the identity to whom the fee is payable; a description of the services and the circumstances, if any, in which refunds of fees are payable; if no refunds are payable a statement to that effect must be included, the right to cancel or withdraw from using that service. We will not make Your finding work with care seekers conditional upon You using other services for which the Employment Agencies Act does not prohibit the charging a fee or hiring or purchasing goods.
5.3 Income Tax and National InsuranceBy using this service as a self-employed carer you agree that you have made and will make all required legal and tax filings to HMRC. This includes making national insurance contributions and paying income tax.
5.4 Cancellations and absencesHomeTouch strongly discourages absences from any client appointments that have previously been accepted and when a contract is active. Where an emergency arises and absence is unavoidable, you must inform the care seeker immediately with as much notice as possible. When cancelling any agreed hours with a client, we ask you to notify HomeTouch of your cancellation at the same time so that we can assist in finding a replacement. If you fail to inform your client of any absences or changes in contracted hours and this results in a complaint from the client, we reserve the right to withhold your pay for the week where the unexcused absence occurred. Please bear in mind that cancellations and unexcused absences may also affect your rating on the platform. In cases of planned holiday or leave, you must inform the customer/care seeker/client of your wish to arrange cover at least 2 weeks in advance and make best efforts to arrange cover. HomeTouch encourages communication with other self-employed carers registered on the platform. Any cover with a HomeTouch carer must be agreed with the client beforehand and a separate contract must be set up for this period.
5.5 Ending a contract prematurelyIf you have agreed a fixed term or ongoing contract with a client, you must honour the terms of this contract and ensure that all efforts are made to fulfil the contract through to its conclusion. HomeTouch recognises that in some circumstances, you may decide to end the contract due to other commitments outside of the platform. HomeTouch will not permit you take a new contract on the platform that conflicts with the schedule of an existing HomeTouch contract unless sufficient notice has been served. This is to protect the existing client and to ensure continuity of care. If you decide to end a contract with a client, you must provide 14 days notice to the client and HomeTouch so that a suitable replacement can be found. If you fail to provide sufficient notice and exit the contract without sufficient notice, HomeTouch reserves the right to withhold payment for the preceding period and to pause your account.
6. Limitation of liability
6.1 Responsibility for contract acceptanceYou acknowledge that the decision to enter into a contract with a client is your sole responsibility and that HomeTouch makes no warranty as to the suitability of any work assignment you accept via HomeTouch Connect, nor does HomeTouch provide any warranty as to the character or honesty of any customer or the truthfulness or accuracy of information provided by a customer. However, HomeTouch endeavours to screen and risk assess every client that uses the platform to ensure a safe and positive community for all participants.
6.2 Risks of introduction serviceYou agree that you understand the risks involved in participating in an introductory agency service and you hereby waive any rights to claims for damages from HomeTouch in relation to the service.
6.3 Breach of terms and conditionsYou agree to indemnify and not hold HomeTouch responsible or make any claim or demand against HomeTouch as a result of you breaching these terms and conditions.
7. Contractual Obligations
7.1 No circumvention of fees
By using HomeTouch Connect you agree to use the service for all current and future work that takes place as a result of an introduction made through HomeTouch Connect. If you have been introduced to a potential client through HomeTouch Connect, you must not create contractual agreements outside of this service, with the deliberate intention of circumventing HomeTouch Connect fees.
7.2 Completion of Care Journal
You shall complete an entry in the online Care Journal recording each care session (being a completed care visit or each 24 hour period you are with the care recipient, whichever is shorter) within 24 hours of that care session finishing.
If you are unable to complete a Care Journal entry, you must let HomeTouch Customer Support know within 24 hours of the end of the care session.