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-   -   MoU's v Contracts (https://www.4x4response.info/showthread.php?t=5868)

JerryG 10-01-2019 12:42 PM

MoU's v Contracts
 
Hi all,
A general question :- do any of you have 'Contracts' in place with any of your 'users' as opposed to MoU's.
We have been asked to enter into a Contract with one of our users which I am nervous about.
Any 'legal eagles' out there who could give some pointers?
Cheers,
Jerry G
GW43

DuncanS 10-01-2019 03:27 PM

Never enter into a "contract" as it then legally obliges you to provide such a service. As the nature of 4x4R cannot be provision of guaranteed service (be it due to responder availability or demand) you don't want to be in the firing line.

Warren Dukes 10-01-2019 03:48 PM

What Duncan said....

dave - Crowborough 11-01-2019 08:28 AM

Yes, it's very important that you do not commit yourself to something that you may not be able to do (such as provide a defined level of service). It works both ways ie the user is not obliged to call on your services but, if it does, then you are not legally bound to respond. It usually works on a "best effort" basis.

johnkes 11-01-2019 09:19 AM

Ditto the other replies Jerry. We have several User Services but no contracts. In fact we don't even have any MOU's but that is their choice not ours.
We have previously twice been asked to enter into contracts, both times by sections of the NHS, but declined. They expected a defined number of vehicles as and when they wanted and when they thought necessary.
I agree with the others, don't tie your group to any contract as it could easily backfire.

stevewright 23-01-2019 02:00 PM

On the topic of MOU's does anyone have one currently in place with their local Police force and SAR team? Would you be willing to send it over so we can have a look in anticipation of preparing our own?

Many Thanks,
Steve HE01

Gareth.LE63 23-01-2019 06:54 PM

As above really, if anyone has any MOU's with their local SAR group that they are willing to share then it would be much appreciated. We are hoping to get a MOU set up with ours and seeing what other groups have existing arrangements then it would be useful. Thank you.

Simon Bentley 30-01-2019 02:56 PM

Also only those groups who are CIO's or Ltd Co's can enter into any contract anyway as they are legal entities all the others are not, not even charities.

dave - Crowborough 04-02-2019 04:06 PM

I don't believe that's strictly true. An unincorporated organisation can enter into a contract but all its members will be jointly and severally liable for all of its debts. Generally speaking, membership of unincorporated bodies is best avoided.

JerryG 04-02-2019 05:18 PM

Well, another subject where there appears to be differences of opinion!
But apart from the Legal issues, I mailed our National Trustees a week or so ago asking what, if any, was 4x4R UK's policy on this subject, and whether NHS in particular, were approaching other Teams to enter into contracts? This would appear to be a matter where a national approach might be appropriate and in all Teams interest. But I'm afraid I haven't had a reply from our Trustees ....!!

trevmales 04-02-2019 06:01 PM

not sure who you mailed
all trustee emails go to all trustees and I did not get anything
we are currently going through guidelines on all sorts, and obviously with snow and the amount of areas for guidelines this is not a fast process.

TimChilde 04-02-2019 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JerryG (Post 71693)
Well, another subject where there appears to be differences of opinion!
But apart from the Legal issues, I mailed our National Trustees a week or so ago asking what, if any, was 4x4R UK's policy on this subject, and whether NHS in particular, were approaching other Teams to enter into contracts? This would appear to be a matter where a national approach might be appropriate and in all Teams interest. But I'm afraid I haven't had a reply from our Trustees ....!!

Sorry Jerry, don't think that got to us.

I've checked back through my email and the last I have from you was November. So for whatever reason I haven't seen your email.

However, this is something we can look at nationally and see if we can find anything where we can help clarify.

We working on lots of things at the moment, and this - if people are getting asked - is something to look at as well.

I can say that I not aware of any other other team having brought this to the attention of National, but hopefully this thread would get comments from group if it is happening.

Thanks

Tim.C

JerryG 04-02-2019 10:07 PM

I used the link on this site - Contact Trustees - and sent message.

JerryG 04-02-2019 10:10 PM

In the meantime, did/does 4x4R UK have a policy or recommendation for this issue?

dave - Crowborough 05-02-2019 08:54 AM

I can't speak for national but in Sussex we have MoUs with NHS Trusts and no contracts. Nor would we be likely to sign formal contracts if they included any commitment on our part to provide a specified level of service. We have not, to my knowledge, been asked to sign frormal contracts. An MoU is an understanding of what we will attempt to do in response to being asked to provide service (best efforts). A contract is likely to contain a specified commitment to provide service.

johnkes 05-02-2019 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JerryG (Post 71693)
Well, another subject where there appears to be differences of opinion!
But apart from the Legal issues, I mailed our National Trustees a week or so ago asking what, if any, was 4x4R UK's policy on this subject, and whether NHS in particular, were approaching other Teams to enter into contracts? This would appear to be a matter where a national approach might be appropriate and in all Teams interest. But I'm afraid I haven't had a reply from our Trustees ....!!

Re NHS, historically for the Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire (CSW) area the NHS were informed that they could request our support through the LA and we invoice the LA for mileage. That has just changed for the Solihull region - NHS are being told that their EPM must now make their own arrangements for 4x4 support. This will allow the LA to concentrate more on delivering local authority essential services; this new policy does not affect Social Services/Social Care etc or District Nurses providing palliative care and the plan is to eventually roll it out across the Coventry & Warwickshire areas too.
So we have had one or two contacts from the NHS asking that we can come to an arrangement with them to provide support in severe weather and will likely get more in time. The problem with the NHS is that they expect vehicles at the drop of a hat and still utilise the Response support as a free taxi service for staff transfers when taxis and buses are running or their own car simply needs pulling off the drive or to the end of the road.

With this new policy from Solihull the NHS in that area will no longer get free 'taxis' and any future arrangement with us will mean the NHS itself having to pay the mileage.

John Kesterton
Coordinator
MROC4x4R

Gareth.LE63 05-02-2019 05:15 PM

I agree with what has been said by others - some guidance from national for groups that are both CIO and charities in the traditional sense would be very useful.

TimChilde 11-02-2019 08:18 PM

So, having just had to sign an MOU for work today, I double checked the difference.

In general (and can be different depending on what it actually says)

An MOU is not legally binding, but just formalises an understanding.
A contract is legally binding.


However, an MOU can become legally binding if it meets certain conditions, and a contract can be written so that the service provided is not always available.

If you don't believe the second bit, check your broadband/mobile phone agreement which will say they'll provide a service unless they don't and if they don't, tough....

dave - Crowborough 18-02-2019 08:41 AM

Yes, I agree with what Tim has said. It's really a question of terminology - an MoU that becomes legally binding is, in effect, a contract but scrutinising the content of the document (whatever it is called) is the important thing to ensure that you do not agree to anything that you may not be able to deliver.


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