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Insurance guidance for Care Homes using external suppliers

As a social care provider and member of National Care Forum, it is essential that you are aware of your responsibilities when it comes to organising external suppliers or contractors to come into your residential setting.

The word contractor can cover a multitude of individuals, organisations or firms ranging from plumbers to hair stylists, nail technicians and event organisers. The variety of the types of people that can or certainly will visit your premises, is almost endless and will vary depending on the type of individuals you support.

As a specialist insurance broker, we wanted to share some points of consideration with you, which you can use as guidance when getting a range of suppliers in.

Your insurance or mine?

All contractors that you have on your property should, at a minimum have their own Public Liability cover covering damage which they may cause to other persons or property. If they have employees, then in addition they would also be expected to have Employers Liability insurance in place. We would suggest that their limits match those which you have under your insurance policy, to ensure that there are no gaps.

Keeping your risk assessments up-to-date

As with any activities, whether being provided by your team or external contractors, you should ensure that the appropriate risk assessments are in place and that any care plans are updated and that those running the activity are suitably qualified and experienced. This will ensure that you and your broker are able to mount a robust defence of a claim, in the event a claim is made against you as a result of the activity being undertaken at your home.

Paid contractor’s vs volunteers

The same requirements around risk assessments and training are as relevant to volunteers as they are to ‘professional’ contractors, the difference is regarding insurance. A professional contractor that you pay for the services of will need to have their own insurance policy in place to be able to carry out a service, whereas a volunteer should be covered by your insurance policy to carry out certain activities, such as an arts and craft afternoon. As always, make sure that you check with your broker to ensure that this is the case.

Additional requirements to think about

There are some activities and contractors that will have additional requirements. For example, a hairdresser who comes into the home to provide perms to residents, will need specialist insurance cover to be able to carry out the technique away from their premises. Any contractor whose work involves the use of heat, such as an electrician using a soldering iron within your setting will need to be acting in accordance with a ‘hot work permit’ which will ensure that works involving the use of heat/flames are being carried out safely. If you are in any doubt regarding the activity, we would advise speaking to your broker. It is vital that hot works permits are in place and most insurers can provide a template which they expect their clients to use.

Towergate Insurance – Insurance Partners of National Care Forum

Towergate are the preferred insurance provider of the National Care Forum and can provide help and advice including which type of policy meets your needs as a care provider.

As a National Care Forum Member, you have access to a dedicated insurance specialist who is on hand to discuss any Insurance and risk management related topics. To speak to Richard, please call 07768 314 298 or email

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