Guide

Using contractors and subcontractors

Get the most from contractors and subcontractors

Think about how to get the most out of contractors and subcontractors from the point of engagement through to completion of the contracted work.

Consult your staff

Using a contractor/subcontractor can be successful where there is co-operation and co-ordination between your permanent staff and the contractor/subcontractor.

Ensure your staff understand the advantages of using a contractor/subcontractor by setting out any benefits for them, eg they can get on with the core business. Inform and consult your employees.

Exercise care when hiring contractors

Take up references and talk to others to determine a contractor's/subcontractor's competence.

Check qualifications, skills, membership of relevant trade or professional bodies, quality standards and accreditations of potential contractors.

Find out the contractor's/subcontractor's policies for health and safety, selecting subcontractors and employee consultation.

If you use contractors/subcontractors on a regular basis, think about setting up a database of contacts who you know and trust.

Have a written agreement for contractors

Agree in writing:

  • the contractor's/subcontractor's responsibilities
  • the objectives, scope of the work and key deliverables (goals), eg in a project schedule with milestones
  • resources you must provide if the contractor/subcontractor needs access to your equipment and/or staff
  • fees and a payment schedule - you may wish to consider penalty or incentive schemes for under-performance or over-performance
  • a procedure for resolving disputes, eg review or termination
  • confidentiality agreements

You have certain legal responsibilities when you engage contractors/subcontractors and you should agree a contract for services that will help you to discharge those duties. You should seek legal advice on this.

See health and safety requirements when using contractors and subcontractors and insurance and contractual issues when using contractors and subcontractors.

Manage the work of contractors

You should manage and supervise the contractor's/subcontractor's work, seek evidence of work done and check that contractual obligations are met. Raise any issues at the earliest opportunity.