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Help and FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Helper is a online platform that connects clients with local, qualified and affordable carers. Simply search your area, contact carers that will be right for you and meet them. The helper platform then enables you, by providing the tools to work effectively together, to manage, communicate, book visits as well as handling the insurance, contracting and payments.

We find the best carers in your area, we interview them and ensure we would be happy with the carer to look after our parents.

We check their qualifications and run a DBS (Disclosure & Baring Service) check to make sure that they are safe to care for vulnerable people. To find a carer, simply search your local area with a postcode, get in touch with the carers that sound right for you, discuss your needs and invite the carer over for a free trial visit.

Helper platform will handle the rest, from scheduling, contracting and payments, to insurance. Helper also provides chat, reporting and care planning facilities so you can easily communicate with your carers and your wider family or even your GP.

Helper helps you to find and work online with independent carers that are right for you. We give you more choice by getting access to all the carers signed up with us, in your local area.

Helper gives you more control as the carers work directly for you. Independent carers are invested in their relationship with you. As their client, carers work their hardest to make sure you’re happy with the care you’re receiving.

We are lower cost, as most care agencies can take 50-70% of the carer's income and charge you the difference. At Helper we charge up to 25%, passing the saving on to you.

The Helper online platform enables us to significantly lower administration costs. We also seek to reduce the travel times of our carers by providing more local choices, saving the carer time, and the client, money. By making independent carers available to you, you can choose a carer you like and have the right set of care skills leading to better outcomes and better utilized carers.
There are a lot of different care options out there to choose from. It’s important to make the right decisions and research the best option for you or your loved one. However with Helper, we want to give you more choice, control and better care at a lower costs. Helping to keep your loved ones as independent as possible.

It’s a complicated world in the care sector and there are various providers to choose from, the right one depends on your needs and time you have available.

When looking for care at home think about what stage of care you need. Once you have decided on home care, there are a number of ways you can access it.

There are agencies but at a greater cost to you, agencies will take issues off your hands by sending carers at the times needed and will be able to cover any gaps in your schedule. However, the quality of carers is variable, there is less choice and control and quite often you do have to get involved to sort this out.

There are independent carers who are great to work with and doing their best to provide exactly what you need and when you need it. However, if they are unavailable you would have to fill the gaps yourself or find another independent carer, which can be stressful.

At Helper we want to give you the best of both worlds, getting a great, dedicated carer that responds quickly to your needs. Helper checks, insures, handles the contracting, payments, scheduling, but also makes it easier to find a replacement carer for any gaps in your care schedule all through our online platform.

Using Helper is simple.

Just search for a carer with your postcode and choose one that’s right for you, chat with the carer directly about your needs and then arrange to meet them.

Below we have broken it down into steps:

Search and view: Simply search by address or postcode and browse through the local carers within your area. View their full profiles, including skills, experiences, spoken languages and hourly rates.

Request Consultations: On each carers profile is a 'request consultation' button. Click this and the carer will be notified. The carer will then message you back.

Chat & Book: Contact a carer directly on our search results page at the tap of a button. Chat about your care needs and get to know the carer. Then arrange a visit on Helper at a time that works for you. Helper handles the contracting and payments all through the platform, simplifying the whole process for everyone.

Receive care: Each introductory first visit is free, use this visit as a trial to make sure you’re both happy we each other.

Review & Book: We ask the carers to provide a reports on visits so you know what’s been achieved. Review your report with your loved ones and decide if you want to continue with the carer. You can also provide feedback and rate your carer.

Then arrange more visits.

It is important to understand that the carer works for you and you should always try to solve any issues directly with the carer. If you are unable to solve the issue directly, then get in contact with Helper and we will try to help you through the issues you can’t solve.
When your carer has a planned holiday, you will need to find cover. Search with Helper to find an alternative carer or the carer may have their own suggestions. When your original planned carer cannot make it to work, for whatever reason, our cancellation policy kicks in. They will not be paid and you will need cover. Search on Helper and book another carer, if it isn't possible and failing this you can call Helper on 0203 369 3624 and we will do our best to help you find a carer to cover the shift.
If you cancel within 48 hours of the visit start time, under our cancellation policy, we believe that it is only fair that the carer is still paid. However, if you cancel prior to that, there will be no charge. Simply contact your carer to make the cancellation.
We have a strict application process with multiple steps and checks to make sure only the best carers appear on our platform. We have an online application and we screen for the right qualifications and experience. We interview for the most important factor - would we want this carer caring for us or our loved ones? Once we are satisfied that carers are able to do what they claim to do. We then run background checks to check their identity and DBS (Government led Disclosure and Barring Service) to ensure they are safe to put on the Helper platform.
Yes, you can. We strongly recommend that you check their ID, references and qualifications yourself, so you can be sure that you are employing a carer that is right for you.

Yes, the majority of carers on the website have public liability insurance when they visit you, which pays out in the event that there is damage to any person or property.

Only carers labelled Home Assistants are not insured. 

Yes the Carers are self-employed, contracted to work with you, your relationship is directly with the carer.

This means that you can talk to them about what they do, the service they provide and even pricing. When issues arise, you must speak with them first to sort it out. Helper can offer support in the events that cannot be solved directly. As a client you are not an employer, you do not need to pay taxes or ensure that they do, this is entirely the carers responsibility.

Safety is our top priority. See our safeguarding policy here

Carers set their own hourly rates, so the hourly rate is made clear to you upfront, on the search results and on the carer profile.

Because Helper offers a online platform that makes managing, communicating, booking and paying for care easier and more efficient than competitors, we therefore take a smaller percentage as a fee of the hourly rate on an ongoing basis, to pay for the services we provide.

Directly through our platform. When you book a first visit you will be asked to enter your card details and these will be saved securely for future visits by Stripe.

We have chosen Stripe as our secure, encrypted, PCI compliant and easy to use payment solution. All payments are handled through Stripe on the Helper platform and can be made using a Debit or Credit Card. Stripe will process your personal financial data through their secure and encrypted service. Helper does not see this sensitive data. Payment goes directly to the carers, minus Helpers commission.

Visit Stripe here 

Yes, contesting a payment is simple. You need only contact us within the 24hr window and we will stop the payment. We will then discuss the issues with you and the carer and take a view of what is fair to both parties. If the payment has already executed, we can refund you.
The Helper care plan is the heart of your care. It is our platform that ties together both the information about your loved one and what they need, with who is doing what, when and where. You can use it to manage your carers, you can invite the carers to manage it for you. You can invite your family to view it or even edit too so that everyone is aligned with what is being done.

We know how difficult it can be when considering all of the care options to choose from. Ideally, you want to keep your loved ones as independent as possible, you don’t want to take too much care too soon.

At helper we try to make that process a little easier for you. With helper we help you to be able to make the right decisions about your care by giving our independent carers and yourself the support needed to manage your choices.

This is a guide to that, from the simplest and cheapest solutions, right up to the most intensive care.

  • Friends, Family and Neighbours: Sometimes all people need is a bit of a helping hand with some of the more taxing aspects of life. Consider whether you can manage it between family, friends and neighbours. You can enlist others to help you do the shopping, even better you can set-up online shopping to save time. It might be to visit once a week, have a meal and clean the house. Finally, you might look to arrange social events like book clubs, teas afternoons or current affairs debates, a carer cannot replace the companionship of lifelong friends. Basic
  • Carers: Sometimes demands grow to the point that you can no longer meet them whilst maintaining your own life. This is where you should look to make your first steps into the care industry. Initially, you don’t need to enlist the help of fully qualified carers.
  • Basic carers such as home assistants, cleaners and gardeners can keep the house in good condition, make sure the fridge is stocked, and can even take your loved one to and from social events, the shops and hospital appointments. This is not only cost-effective but also the best way to maintain your loved one’s independence. They may never need more than this.
  • Qualified Carers: Sometimes you need a little more support so this may require a qualified carer. This is often the case after an accident or fall, a recent hospital procedure or when your loved one’s mental and physical faculties decline to such an extent that a more experienced carer is required.
  • Qualified carers are trained, not only to manage and help with mental and physical frailties but also to connect with their patients. These are people who have actively chosen to pursue a career in care, so they actively enjoy it. They can help you with, moving and handling, toileting and bathing, administering medication as well as managing dementia and other conditions.

They cook, they clean, they can escort your loved ones out of the house and they provide companionship as well. They can also advise you on your care plan and on how best to create a safe and appropriate environment in the home.

On the advanced end of the spectrum of qualified carers, you will find people with extensive experience caring for the most complex cases, including MS and Cerebral Palsy. They are capable of a wide array of operations such as PEG feeding, ventilators and catheters. They can visit a few times a week to multiple times a day, dependent on your needs, which may develop over time.

  • Live-in care: The next step up is live-in care. Eventually, your loved one may need round the clock assistance. Rather than moving into a home, a process that can seriously impact their health and social life, you can arrange live-in care. Not only is the often a better option, it is also usually cheaper than paying for a care home. Live-in care keeps your loved one in an environment that they are familiar with, and a community that they know well. 
  • Assisted living: As an alternative to live-in care, assisted living offers access to a community of people in the local area. To access this you often have to sell the house to buy an apartment in the development and pay a hefty service fee however the benefits are evident. People living in these developments are able to live independently, safe in the knowledge that there is access to significantly more care if they should need it. This is a great option, especially if you were already thinking of downsizing.
  • Care homes: Care homes cater for the sharp end of care and support. For a weekly or monthly fee, they provide round the clock care with access to nurses and doctors and often high dependency beds. The environment is often very sociable and relaxing, so it is a good option when you need a high degree of care and the peace of mind that your loved ones are being cared for by the best and around the clock.

DBS stands for Disclosure and Baring Service and is a service set by the UK Government. It was established in 2012 and carries out the functions previously undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

They help us by checking and preventing unsuitable people from working with vunerable groups, including elderly and children.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

To reset your password you will need to go to the login page and click forgotten password or reset password here and enter your email address, you will then receive a link to reset and create your new password. 

Each introductory visit you book with each carer is free. This enables you to see if you are happy to work together and understand your care needs. 

To book your first and ongoing visits, you will need to login to your account and select book visit. You will be directed to a form to fill out and book the visit. Your visit will need to be accepted by the carer.

If a carer does not accept the visit, this will mean that our safeguarding and insurance process will not be activated for both parties. Therefore we recommend ensuring visits are booked and accepted through helper.community.

We believe you should be able to meet and greet your carer in person to understand if the carer is the right carer for you. 

That's why we won't charge you for meeting a carer. It is a free visit. The visit is one hour only and we hope this gives you the opportunity for both the carer and you to find out whether you are able to work together. 

We also give you the option to book a visit without having an introductory visit, as you may have worked with the carer in the past, so you can also book a paid for visit through our booking process.

We believe you should have access and choice to a carer that suits your requirements. 

Therefore if you decide to change your carer, you can do so through our platform. 

Here are a few steps to changing your carer:

  1. Search with the postcode for a new carer.
  2. Request a new carer of your choice.
  3. Message this carer to find out if they are available and willing to work with you.
  4. Notify your current carer through messaging that you no longer require their services.
  5. Cancel any visits with your current carer.
  6. You may want to leave feedback for the carer.
  7. Book in new visits with your new carer of choice. 

We built helper to enable you to have control and choice of your care requirements, so please use our platform to do just that. 

Only when a carer has accepted a visit, is the visit confirmed. Until is the visit is accepted a carer may not attend the visit. 

After logging in, you will find a calendar icon on your dashboard. On the calendar are your various visits. Each visit could potentially have a coloured status being green, amber and red.

Each colour on the calendar indicates the following;

Green: accepted and confirmed by the carer.

Amber: Unaccepted and needs to be confirmed by the carer. 

Red: Cancelled. Either you or the carer has cancelled the visit. 

Carers are therefore required to accept all visits. 

On booking a paid visit, you will be required to enter bank or credit card details into the Stripe payment system form. This is triggered once you complete the booking form. Your card details are then captured by Stripe for all future visits.  

Stripe is the secure payment platform that we use to handle payments on Helper. They are used by over 10'000 companies including Oxfam, British Heart Foundation and Unicef so you can be sure that your details are in safe hands. You can learn more at Stripe

Stripe requires your card details to be entered when booking your first visit but your first visit is still free and only an introductory visit. 

Once a visit has been created and booked, it cannot be changed or edited. 

You will need to book a new visit with the updated or correct details. The carer will be notified of the cancellation and the new visit booking. 

Why use Helper for your care needs?

There are plenty of traditonal social care providers, but how do you know which one is right for you. Here is our guide to where you can source home care.

There are currently 2 traditional providers of social care that you can choose when seeking care at home, these are agencies and independent carers.

Here are few pointers on the traditional providers

  • Agencies;

An agency take over the full burden of managing the care and will provide you with carers as and when you need care, however you are given limited choice over the carer, so you can't choose the carer that will get on with your loved one.

You have little control over the care provided, so you often have to work through the different agencies, to make sure the care lives up to your expectations Your carer will often change with agencies and you have no guarantee that the carer who visits today will be the one that visits tomorrow.

This prevents the carer from building a relationship with their patient and be able to monitor any changes in behaviours’ or medical conditions. Agency carers often have tight deadlines and multiple short visits to complete, so are focused on delivering care as quickly as possible and getting onto the next person, rather than spending quality time with your loved one.

  • So how about independent carers?

Independent carers are a great alternative to agency carers, as they are often the same person. So you can choose the carer you like, build a direct relationship and they are often a lot cheaper as they do not have the large costs that agencies have. However finding an independent carer can be a job in itself.

Trying to contact, meet and ensure they are safe is a time consuming process. You will also have the burden of employing, contracting, safeguarding and paying the carer. All of which is stressful and very challenging to manage as the relative or the person receiving care.

In short yes.

We founded helper as a new option that combines the positives of both the traditional models and embraces todays connected world by enabling care through technology.

More people are seeking ways to utilise the power of the devices we hold in our hands everyday, so at helper we wanted to do just that by giving you more access and greater control for your care. At Helper we provide you with access to all the benefits of independent carers, whilst handling the downsides that agencies bring by making it easier to work together in a more connected format than ever before.

Helper finds high-quality carers in your local area, we interview and perform background checks. We help you communicate, arrange visits and view care plans but also give you tools to manage the details of your care all through our platform.

We handle all the contracting and payments, in order to make managing care easier. The result is that you have more access, control and easier ways to manage, rather than worrying about whether you or your loved ones have been cared for. All appointments and visit logs are on your online calendar as each appointment is accepted.

We insure them under our insurance policy (only home assistants are not insured).

We can supply a safety net with mediation, support and advice if needed. We also offer some online resources to our carer’s which can assist them in their training and knowledge to provide better care.

This is why we believe helper can enable a better care experience for you or your loved one.

Helper Policies

Helper Privacy Policy

The data that we collect, how we collect it and why.

We collect the data that you share with us whilst using the service and the data that you generate whilst using the service.

We will only process protected data, such as information about your health, if such processing is required to help treat or manage the heath of the patient, or when we specifically obtain consent from you.

Data that you share with us in order to receive value from the service:

  • Contact information including your name, e-mail, telephone number and address
  • Information about the patient including their issues, medications and information reported back via the reporting feature and chat functions, and information you share via these functions
  • Billing information such as amount paid or earnt
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Log-in information such as username and password (Your password will be encrypted, so we will not see it)

The following only applies to carers who use the platform:

  • Information on your profile, such as your picture, bio, skills and capabilities
  • Information generated throughout the application process, including a copy of your DBS (sighted, but not stored, in compliance with all DBS registered body regulations)

Other information that we request in order to better serve you:

  • Feedback and survey information
  • Issues and complaints information
  • Chat logs

Payment information:

  • Although you do enter this information, Helper does not receive it. Payment card information is transmitted directly to a third-party payment card processor, Stripe, through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology. Stripe then informs Helper whether or not the payment has been processed but does not provide payment information. Stripe's privacy policy is available here.

The information we collect through technology, is collected to better serve you:

  • Some services that we use may collect your Internet Protocol (IP) address (This shows them your ISP or geographic area but on its own, does not identify you, however, could be linked with an IP address you used to access Helper).
  • We may also collect a unique identifier for your computer, mobile device, or other device used to access the Helper ("Device Identifier") which could be used to identify which pages you viewed and be linked to other information you have provided us
  • Cookies used to track you across the web, however, we don’t link this to your profile. These are stored on your browser, so you can delete them at any time.
  • Web Beacons, such as the Facebook Pixel, tell us how you navigate around the platform. We use this data in aggregate, to improve our services.

Information You Provide About A Third Party:

  • We collect data you share with us, such as name and email, via our referral scheme
  • Any information that you provide about someone else, must be done so with their consent

How we use the data we collect

We use the information we collect to serve you, improve that service, recruit carers, ensure safeguarding and promote our services. These uses include but is not limited to:

  • Registering you on the platform
  • Enabling you to send and receive messages
  • Enabling you to schedule, reschedule and cancel services
  • Rating and reviewing the service
  • Reporting on the work that has been done
  • Managing payments for services
  • Recruiting carers
  • Ensuring safeguarding for the benefit of clients/patients
  • Providing carers with patient information where required
  • Providing public profiles of carers
  • Addressing complaints, questions and feedback
  • Investigating disputes and other issues
  • Troubleshooting technical problems
  • Communicating with you by email, telephone, or text messages
  • Improving our services
  • Sending you marketing and promotional materials
  • Marketing and advertising products and services
  • Identifying and preventing privacy breaches
  • Informing you of changes to our privacy policy

If you wish to opt-out of promotional e-mails, text messages, or other communications, you may opt-out by following the unsubscribe link at hte bottom of oyur emails, or by contacting Helper directly.

We delete information about you, where required to by law and on your direct request. We also remove information that we consider inappropriate or no longer relevant, at our sole discretion.

Where we collect and use ‘sensitive’ or ‘special categories’ of personal data, such as details about your health, we will seek specific permissions from you to process such data as part of the services we provide in accordance with this privacy policy and Data Protection Legislation.

Except as expressly set out in this privacy policy we do not share, sell, or lease personal information about you to any third parties for their marketing use.

Your Rights

Your data is just that, it belongs to you. As such, you have a number or rights:

  • To be informed about the processing, transfer, storage and origin of additional data.
  • To be informed of any profiling based on the data you provide
  • To receive a copy of your data on request, or have that transferred to a third party
  • To have it deleted on request
  • To object to how it has been, or is being processed and used and to be able to opt out of such processing and subsequent decision making on the basis of your data
  • To request us to stop contacting you.

Who we share the data with:

We do not share your Personal Information with third parties, other than as disclosed in this Privacy Policy, at the time you provide your information. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Information about clients
  • Informaton about carers

In order to provide you with a high level of service, we share information entered about patients with the carers working for them. Clients can request that this permission be retracted at any time. This can include:

  • Patient information shared in the care plan
  • Medication information shared in the care plan
  • Previous reports, which act as handoffs between carers

Information about carers:

Helper publicly shares information about the carers on the platform including but not limited to:

  • Biography
  • Picture
  • Skills and capabilities
  • Reviews and aggregate rating

Where a review has been shared Helper retains the right to share the review in full, the rating and the first name and initial of the person who provided the rating, as well as their general location

Carers may use this information to promote their services, as will Helper.

Sharing information with Third Parties

Third party companies and individuals provide or facilitate certain aspects of the services offered through the Helper. We may provide these third-party service providers with access to your information, including your Personal Information so that they can perform these services for us. We require these third-party service providers to provide safeguards for your Personal Information similar to the ones that we provide. We may share your information in the following ways:

  • We may contract with third-party service providers to help us improve our services
  • We may disclose your Personal Information when obtaining legal advice
  • We use Stripe, a third-party service provider, to process any billing information, including credit card information you submit
  • 3rd parties you come into contact with whilst using Helper may request information which we will provide with your permission. This information will then fall under their privacy policy
  • We may be required to disclose Personal Information in response to a court order
  • We may disclose account and other Personal Information when we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with the law or to protect the rights, property, or safety of Helper, our users, or others. This includes exchanging Personal Information with other companies and organizations for fraud prevention and credit risk reduction

Cookies:

All Cookies used by this Website are used in accordance with current UK and EU Cookie Law.

How we keep your data safe

Data security is important to us, we have implemented technical, administrative, and physical security measures to protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access or disclosure and improper use.

Only employees who need to access your information to perform their roles are given access to it, this is controlled and access revoked at the earliest opportunity. Employees are made aware of the importance of data privacy and security.

Where password access is required, you are responsible for keeping your password confidential.

Please note that despite our reasonable efforts, no security measure is ever perfect or impenetrable, so we cannot guarantee the security of your Personal Information. 

General

Helper reserves the right to change this privacy policy at its sole discretion or where required to by law. We will share those changes with you as they occur.

We do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age, as anyone younger than 13 is not authorised to use Helper.

In the event of any sale of Helper, we reserve the right to disclose and transfer your information, including your Personal Information to the subsequent owner:

Where any part of this privacy policy is found to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, that part will be deleted, however, this does not affect any other part of the policy

This Agreement will be governed by and interpreted according to the law of England and Wales. All disputes arising under the Agreement will be subject to the jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts. 

Contact information & Complaints

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact helper at Admin@helper.community.

If you have any concerns about our use of your information, you also have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates and supervises the use of personal data in the UK, via their helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Helper Safeguarding Policy

Introduction

Helper Community Ltd is committed to supporting the rights of the vulnerable in our society to be protected from abuse and to making sure all staff, caregivers, clients and care recipients work collaboratively, in line with the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults legislation, and act promptly when dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse.

Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone, to work together to prevent and minimise abuse. If you have concerns that someone is being abused your duty of care to the vulnerable person comes before anything else.

If you know, or suspect, that a vulnerable person is at risk of abuse or exploitation, you will follow the reporting procedures set out. The importance of recording all information in the correct manor will assist in the protection of the person. You must work within the boundaries of the legislation of the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults and Young people. Please see the link below to expand on the government policies in an easy pocket-guide format.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/adult-pocket-guide.pdf

What is a vulnerable person?

A vulnerable person can be any person (though in this case a patient/client) of any age who is, or may be, for any reason unable to take care, or have full control of his/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or exploitation. This includes persons who fall under the Vulnerable Persons Act.

Safeguarding is designed to protect the rights of persons living with a mental disability who need assistance to meet their basic needs. A vulnerable person may also be someone living with physical impairment, a sensory impairment, diminished cognitive or mental health, people who are substance or alcohol dependent, or family carers who are providing assistance to other vulnerable persons.

What is abuse?

Abuse is a violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other persons(s) or group of people. Abuse may be single or can be repeated acts, and can be identified as:

  • Physical: for example, hitting, slapping, burning, pushing, restraining or intentionally giving the wrong medication with intent to cause harm.
  • Psychological and emotional: for example, shouting, swearing, frightening, blaming, ignoring or humiliating a person, threats of harm or abandonment, intimidation, verbal abuse.
  • Financial: including the illegal or unauthorised use of a person's property, money, pension book or other valuables, pressure in connection with Wills, property or inheritance.
  • Sexual: such as forcing a person to take part in any sexual activity without his or her informed consent – this can occur in any relationship.
  • Discriminatory: including racist or sexist remarks or comments based on a person's disability, age or illness, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment. This also includes stopping someone from being involved in religious or cultural activity, services or support networks; Institutional: the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. This includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of staff, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other providers of care.
  • Neglect and acts of omission: including ignoring medical or physical care needs. These can be deliberate or unintentional, amounting to abuse by a carer or self-neglect by the vulnerable person: for example, where a person is deprived of food, heat, clothing, comfort or essential medication, or failing to provide access to appropriate health or social care services.

How Might We Notice Abuse?

Concerns about or evidence of abuse can come to your attention via:

  • A direct disclosure by the vulnerable adult.
  • A complaint or expression of concern by another member of staff, a volunteer, another service user, a carer, or a member of the public or relative.
  • An observation of a personal change of behaviour by the vulnerable person, also a change in behaviour in the interaction between other people this could be relatives, caregivers or associates.

Helper.community Ltd is committed to supporting clients and carers when and by:

  • When abuse of a vulnerable persons has been identified.
  • Responding effectively to any circumstances giving grounds for concern, or where formal complaints or expressions of anxiety are expressed.
  • Raising awareness of the extent of abuse on vulnerable adults and its impact on them. Promoting and supporting training designed to reduce abuse and the fear of abuse as experienced by vulnerable adults.
  • Regularly monitoring and evaluating how our policies, procedures and practices for protecting vulnerable adults are working.
  • Making sure our policies, procedures and practices stay up to date with good practice and the legislations in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults.
  • Ensuring our procedures is in line with the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Legislation.

Prevention and Confidentiality

All carers will have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks before they have direct contact with vulnerable persons. All carers will be requested to read the Helper community Ltds Safeguarding Policy and Procedure and will accept and understand this. Where abuse to a vulnerable person is alleged, suspected, reported or concerns are raised, the Safeguarding Adults Procedure must be followed.

The confidentiality of the vulnerable person will be respected wherever possible and their consent obtained to share information. The vulnerable person should be made aware that carers cannot ignore issues around abuse and that steps will be taken to deal with them in as sensitive a manner as possible. The welfare of the individual is paramount.

Useful Contact: Care Quality Commission - Tel: 03000 616161.

Safeguarding Procedure - The Procedure in Detail

If you think abuse has or may have occurred, act immediately. It is the responsibility of the person first becoming aware of a situation where there may be a vulnerable adult subject to, or at risk of abuse, to deal with the immediate needs of the person. This may mean taking reasonable steps to ensure the person is in no immediate danger and seeking medical treatment if required as a matter of urgency.

Do NOT discuss the allegation of abuse with the alleged perpetrator. Do NOT disturb or destroy articles that could be used in evidence. Where an assault of some kind is suspected do not wash or bathe the person unless this is associated with first aid treatment necessary to prevent further harm.

Contact the police and ambulance service on 999 if it is thought a crime has just been committed or emergency services required.

Record details of the allegation as soon as possible somewhere that can be kept secure.

Make sure you remember the following:

If you think abuse has or may have occurred. Act immediately! Make sure the person is safe. Contact the police/ emergency services immediately if it is thought a crime has just been committed, contact the local council, safeguarding team and record all details of the allegation. Also please inform helper community by incident report log and telephone when in a safe space.

Important to note:

Helper will stand by all carers who feel that their patient is at risk and provide due support in any process going forward.

Helper DBS Policy

DBS stands for Disclosure & Barring Service.

Helper follows all policies regarding DBS certificates as outlined in the code of practice published under section 122 of the Police Act, 1997. Helper supports the notion that all persons be treated fairly and in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, helper therefore acknowledges spent convictions and cautions for what they are, and will not use any information issued within the DBS certificate in any way than to ensure the direct safety of clients and patients. Helper stands against discrimination for any reason, our revision of DBS certificates is only for the prevention of those who have committed recent and/or violent, sexual or safeguarding related crimes from working with vulnerable persons.

Helper will make use of the update system as best possible. We expect most checks to return messages indicating that the DBS is clear, and that there has been no recent issues, however in the event of these messages appearing:

* “This DBS certificate remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue.”   

* “This DBS certificate is no longer current. Please apply for a new DBS check to get the most up-to-date information.”

Helper will request to view the applicants original certificate. 

In order to undertake checks Helper requires, permissions from the individual applying, valid photographic identification and all the details required to check the update service and/or to view the original certificate.

The DBS code of practice guides the practice of Helper in regards to checking and Helper maintains that they remain within the following, whereby Helper is referred to as ‘Registered Body’:

The DBS Code of Practice

Introduction

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was established in December 2012 under Part V of the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) to undertake disclosure and barring functions. There are specific legal requirements around these checks. Disclosure functions are set out in Part V of the Police Act 1997, which requires Registered Bodies to adhere to this Code of Practice.

Who does this Code apply to?

The Code of Practice applies to all Registered Bodies with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) under section 120 of the Police Act 1997 (Registered Bodies) and recipients of Update Service information under section 116A of the Police Act 1997. This includes those Registered Bodies that provide an umbrella function to non registered organisations. The Code refers to any information exchanged between DBS and the Registered Body.

The Code of Practice does not apply to other third parties. The DBS will seek to ensure compliance with the Code through the full range of DBS assurance management processes.

All applicants for a DBS check should be made aware of this Code of Practice and provided with a copy on request.

Disclosure Offences: Sections 123 and 124 of the Police Act 1997

Although certificates are now provided directly to the applicant, registered bodies will receive personal information related to applications and, where registered bodies are also employers, voluntary sector organisations or licensing authorities, will receive disclosure information when certificates are provided to them by their employees or applicants for posts, including volunteers.

Recipients of disclosure information, through electronic means or via the applicant’s copy of the disclosure, must note that it is an offence to disclose information contained within a DBS Certificate to any person who is not a member, officer or employee of the Registered Body or their client, unless a relevant legal exception applies. Furthermore, it is also an offence to:

1. Disclose information to any member, officer or employee where it is not related to that employee’s duties.

2. Knowingly make a false statement for the purpose of obtaining, or enabling another person to obtain, a Certificate.

3. Revised Code of Practice for Disclosure and Barring Service Registered Persons.

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information believed to have committed an offence will be liable to prosecution, suspension or de-registration.

What happens if the Code is breached?

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 sets out Conditions of Registration. Regulation 7(h) is for compliance with the Code of Practice issued under section 122 of the Act.

Failure to comply with Conditions of Registration can result in the suspension or cancellation of registration. This follows a set legislative process with clear timescales.

Failure to comply with requirements set out in the Data Protection Act may also result in enforcement action from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The Obligations

Registration Details

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006 sets out the obligations a Registered Body must meet in order to retain its registration.

Registered Bodies must:

1. Provide up-to-date information to the DBS in respect of their registration information and counter signatories in line with current procedures.

2. Maintain all accounts, online or otherwise, for all DBS products and delete when no longer required.

3. Ensure any electronic system used complies with specifications set out in the above regulations.

Application Process

Registered Bodies must:

1. Submit applications for a DBS product in the format determined by DBS.

2. Ensure that applications for a DBS product are completed accurately and that all data fields determined by DBS as mandatory are completed in full.

3. Ensure that any application submitted electronically complies with DBS specifications as stipulated in line with current requirements.

4. Ensure that, where evidence checkers complete any part of the administration of the application process, sufficient training has been provided to enable same degree of accuracy required by DBS of the counter signatory.

Identity Verification

Registered Bodies must:

1. Verify the identity of the applicant prior to the submission of an application for a DBS product by following the current guidelines issued by DBS.

2. Ensure that any person undertaking identity verification checks on their behalf follows the current guidelines issued by DBS.

3. Make sure lead or counter signatories do not validate their own applications for any DBS products.

Data Handling

Failure to comply with DPA requirements could result in enforcement action from the ICO.

In line with the Data Protection Act 1998 Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information must:

1. Have a written policy on the secure handling of information provided by DBS, electronically or otherwise, and make it available to individuals at the point of requesting them to complete a DBS application form or asking consent to use their information to access any service DBS provides.

2. Handle all information provided to them by DBS, as a consequence of applying for a DBS product, in line with the obligations under Data protection Act 1998.

3. Handle all DBS related information provided to them by their employee or potential employee in line with the obligations under Data Protection Act 1998.

4. Ensure that a result received as part of an application submitted electronically is not reproduced in such a way that it infers that it is a certificate issued by DBS.

5. Ensure any third parties are aware of the Data Protection Principles and provide them with guidance on secure handling and storage of information. For Data Protection purposes, information passed to a Registered Body by DBS remains the responsibility of the Registered Body even if passed to a third party.

6. Ensure business continuity and disaster recovery measures are in place and comply with Data Protection requirements.

7. Must comply with security requirements under principle 7 of the Data Protection Act.

Suitability Policy

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information must:

1. Have a written policy on the suitability of ex-offenders for employment in relevant positions. This should be available upon request to potential applicants and, in the case of those carrying out an umbrella function, should be made available to their clients. Clients of Registered Bodies should make this policy available to their potential or existing employees.

2. Ensure that all applicants for relevant positions or employment are notified in advance of the requirement for a Disclosure.

3. Notify all potential applicants of the potential effect of a criminal record history on the recruitment and selection process and any recruitment decision.

4. Discuss the content of the Disclosure with the applicant before withdrawing any offer of employment.

Payment of Fees

Registered Bodies must:

* Pay all registration fees in line with time periods set out in current procedures.

* Pay all fees relating to DBS products in line with time periods set out in current procedures.

* Pay all fees related to criminal records check applications submitted after any decision by the DBS to suspend registration or deregister the organisation.

* Correctly apply the Police Act definition of a volunteer to each criminal records check application to assert eligibility that no fee should be charged for that application.

* Publish all fees, in relevant documentation, associated with the processing of criminal records check applications when you do so on behalf of others.

* Notify the DBS in writing of any change to the fees associated with the processing of Criminal records check applications when you do so on behalf of others.

Eligibility

Eligibility for DBS checks is set out in the following legislation:

* Standard checks – to be eligible for a standard level DBS certificate, the position must be included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

* Enhanced checks – to be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate, the position must be included in both the ROA Exceptions Order and in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations.

* Enhanced checks with children’s and/or adults’ barred list check(s) – to be eligible to request a check of the barred lists, the position must be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate and be specifically listed in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations as being eligible to check the appropriate barred list(s).

Registered Bodies must:

1. Use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that they only submit Criminal Records check applications in accordance with the legislative provisions which provide eligibility criteria for relevant positions or employment.

2. Ensure that before allowing a DBS check application to be submitted they have assessed the role to be eligible under current legislation, correctly applied the right level of check, and correctly requested the appropriate barring list information.

3. Ensure they are legally entitled to request any DBS product being applied for.

Compliance Requests

Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service Information must cooperate in full and in line with the timescales in current procedures, when DBS enquiries are made in relation to:

1. Ongoing compliance of Registered Bodies and those in receipt of Update Service information with the obligations under this Code.

2. Implementing the suspension or de-registration of a Registered Body where non-compliance is established in line with current procedures.

Helpers Smoking policy

In the interest of occupational Health & Safety as a professional independent worker we advise:

  • A tobacco-free environment helps create a safer, healthier workplace. Research also suggests that employers are less likely to miss work due to tobacco-related illnesses
  • Helper Community recognizes the hazards caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, as well as the life-threatening diseases linked to the use of all forms of tobacco
  • Independent carers are advised to refrain from smoking while in the client’s home, and are advised to refrain from smoking within grounds of the client’s home as this can create an unprofessional image. It is also recommended that Carers attempt to reduce the noticeable traces of tobacco before entering a client’s property/home 
  • Independent carers may discuss the integration of a designated smoking area for use by the client if needed during the duration of the visit or can gently ask the client to refrain from smoking inside the premises. However if this is refused then it is up to the carer to identfy whether it remains a workable contract. 

If your client wishes to give up smoking, you could offer information on where they can receive support:

Via phone;

  • Contact the NHS Smokefree National Helpline Mon - Fri 9am-8pm or Weekends 11am-4pm on:

03001231044

Or via the Internet;

Not smoking lowers the risk of multiple, often severe illnesses, reduces the risk of fires in homes, dustbins/general bins and physical burns, and also improves overall living environment, health & wellbeing.