The Duty of Care
It is generally well understood that contractors owe a duty of care to the clients they are working for. What sometimes gets lost, however, is the duty of care that recruiters owe to the contractors they place.
The role of the modern recruiter extends well beyond simply finding the right placement for the contractors they look after. To summarise in a sentence: the role of consultancies is to make sure that their contractors are well-informed.
Whether it's advice and guidance on IR35 legislation or a helping hand with contract management, the role of today's recruiter is multi-faceted. Firstly, the recruiter must ensure that the contractor holds sufficient levels of insurance, in line with their contract and the requirements of their job role.
Agencies have a duty of care to their PSC's and their clients which they should adhere to. They need to ensure they are protected to the best of their ability, and that the PSC is given an opportunity to protect themselves. A recruiter must acknowledge their responsibility when recruiting a worker into an environment where they are exposed to liabilities. Although an agency has no legal requirement to protect their PSC clients, they are vulnerable without that support.
If they are faced with a scenario where the PSC does not have insurance cover and a claim is made, the agency might find themselves in a position where they feel obligated to react to the claim to preserve a key client relationship.
Neglecting to inform a PSC about insurance is likely to end badly for all parties. There will be stress for the contractor, anger from the end client, and the potential pay out for the recruiter.
As Tania Bowers, APSCo Legal Counsel, states:
Even if the recruiter is confident that they don't have contractual liability for the contractor's work, the reality is the client is more likely to sue the recruiter. The recruiter will then need to bring the contractor into the proceedings and, if the contractor doesn't have insurance, then ultimately the recruiter is likely to be left feeling exposed.
We [APSCo] know that from a reputational perspective recruiters are more likely to settle a dispute or offer a credit to a client. However, it's still important to point out that recruiters would generally feel more comfortable and secure in their position if they knew the contractors they were placing were properly insured.
In the simplest of terms, contractors will want to work with an agency that is shown to care. A recruitment agency invested in their contractors will ensure that they do not go on site without insurance, thereby protecting both parties if any errors are made.
Want to know more about how ensuring a contractor is properly insured fulfils one of your key obligations when it comes to duty of care? Get in touch with one of our insurance experts on 01242 808740 today.