Contracts question
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  1. #1
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    Default Contracts question

    Am I free to draw up my own contract ie. With my own logo and layout etc? I've bought some from a seller but they don't quite meet what I need so I was going to take some aspects of it and combine it with some of my own with my own logo to form my own contract - am I free to do this?
    Sorry about her dumb question from me I'm sure!! :-)

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    Who is your PLI with?

    As far as I know if you want legal support from Pacey you have to use their contracts. MM allow you to use your own.

  3. #3
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    Am I free to draw up my own contract ie. With my own logo and layout etc? I've bought some from a seller but they don't quite meet what I need so I was going to take some aspects of it and combine it with some of my own with my own logo to form my own contract - am I free to do this?
    Sorry about her dumb question from me I'm sure!! :-)
    Here is a question close to my heart
    Mouse is right ...the 2 other CMs associations do not have the same requirements...so do check
    I am with PLA and have my own contract

    The important thing is clear wording and Terms and Conditions...when these are signed in agreement by all parties the contract is legally binding.
    I was once taken to court by a parent and the court threw their case out...so your own is as valid as anyone else but free and you print what you need without buying in bulk

    Take your time in drawing one up...google as you will find lots of information and samples for free.
    Your contract has to reflect your business
    My contract started as a 3 page 22 year ago...it is now 17...but it is a prospectus, contract and terms and Conditions all in one but divided in sections....and all consent forms in it too...so saves on paperwork

    I do not have a logo but it is my copyright as it has my own particular reference at the bottom

    When I want to update it all I do is tweak any changes I want to make...usually I do this end of August unless something drastic has changed in the regulation and legislation....such as EYFS 2014 is what I refer to now

    it would be ideal when you have some money available to get a solicitor to check it...that will not cost a lot and can be paid by your business.

    Good luck and if you need any help just PM me

  4. #4
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    You can use your own contracts with Pacey but they prefer you to use theirs as they are tried and tested in the courts.
    Debbie

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    As mentioned, check with your insurer/professional representative body's legal team.

    If you draw up your own contract, you can make it fit your needs: something which, sadly, a lot of the off-the-shelf stationery fails to do. If you do this, I'd strongly recommend getting it checked over by a solicitor.

    I do have something of a concern over your statement/question:
    "I was going to take some aspects of it and combine it with some of my own with my own logo to form my own contract - am I free to do this? "
    It sounds like you might be sailing rather close to the wind of what could amount to IPR theft, so do take care.

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    Thanks guys, sounds a bit of a minefield so I'll stick with the off the shelf ones I bought. Thank you everyone :-)

  7. #7
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    As mentioned, check with your insurer/professional representative body's legal team.

    If you draw up your own contract, you can make it fit your needs: something which, sadly, a lot of the off-the-shelf stationery fails to do. If you do this, I'd strongly recommend getting it checked over by a solicitor.

    I do have something of a concern over your statement/question:

    It sounds like you might be sailing rather close to the wind of what could amount to IPR theft, so do take care.
    Sorry not sure what IPR theft is...would you mind explaining...thanks

  8. #8
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatterbox Childcare View Post
    You can use your own contracts with Pacey but they prefer you to use theirs as they are tried and tested in the courts.
    I am sorry to disagree on your statement...any contract, as long as signed by all parties , will stand in any court....check it out.

    Sorry for the deviation on this but it may help
    When my parents decided to give me one day notice I had my own contract but was a NCMA member...they did nothing to help me in fact washed their hands of the case.

    I went to my solicitor ...left my contract and all evidence and got the best advice possible and won the case with compensation too.

    My solicitor would not have wasted his time if my contract had no chance to stand in court...in fact he tweaked a couple of things for me afterwards for which I am forever grateful.
    Any small claims court case does not actually need a legal representative as you represent yourself and have to produce huge amounts of evidence.

    He did ask me who had drawn my contract and I explained it was my own but developed through the years...his comments were the best endorsement one could receive for one's efforts.

    Anyone who wishes to draw their own should not be put off by misleading information.....go and do it if you wish but be prepared to invest some time in doing so....start with an 'off the shelf one' and work away at your own.

    I did for a while use NCMA contracts but my ' additional' terms and conditions were longer than their contract...in the end I gave it up...their contract suited them not my business.

  9. #9
    Simona Guest

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    IPR...is Intellectual Property Rights.

    No theft would be involved if anyone looked at contract 'samples' online to get idea to develop their own.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    IPR...is Intellectual Property Rights.

    No theft would be involved if anyone looked at contract 'samples' online to get idea to develop their own.
    All true, but I think the OP should exercise caution if only because it's not clear from her post as to how much she's 'taking' and how much she's 'developing'.

    It's all a matter of degree and of copyright.

    Anyone can, by all means, look at several examples of contracts to get ideas for your own. Contracts are such a broad thing that the idea of 'a contract' is not of itself intellectual property in the way that, say, a published book is.

    But, someone can own IPR in their own contract design: pacey do, and though I've not seen one, I fully expect MM's contracts will state that they do too. I was a bit concerned as the OP said she intended to ".....to take some aspects of it and combine it with some of my own with my own logo to form my own contract." It all depends on what she means by "some aspects" and how much she will take, and whether the original contract is under copyright or in the public domain.

    Taking the pacey contract stationery as an example, they are under copyright. If I scan them into some editing software, change the pacey logo to one saying Bunyip's Anarcho-Syndicalist Childminding Collective and use them, I've committed IPR theft. If I lift considerable chunks of the pacey contracts and work them into my own version, then it starts to become a grey area which would have to be sorted out by the lawyers if pacey decided to challenge it.

    In a sense, it's much like the old truism of educational circles, "if I steal from one author, it's called 'plagiarism' - but if I steal from many, it's 'research'."

    Actually, Simona, as you write your own contracts and deserve credit for the work you've put into the finished product, not to mention your expense in getting them checked by a solicitor, you could and maybe should get a copyright on them. The problem is if you've published them or even distributed them online, etc. whilst not under copyright - then you've "put them into the public domain" and anyone could decide to copyright them as their work. They could then turn the whole thing on it's head and charge you with using their IP. It's one h3ll of a messy and potentially nasty area of law.

    At the very least, it would be good for all CMs to indicate that they claim IPR in all paperwork of their own design/devising.

    Any of that sort of paperwork, if not under copyright, could be taken by, say, a client parent, and re-sold as if if were their intellectual property.
    Last edited by bunyip; 14-03-2015 at 06:21 PM.

  11. #11
    Simona Guest

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    Useful feedback and advice...thank you
    Unfortunately I do not sell or put my contract online....you never know one day I may reflect on doing that when I move on to greener pastures!....for the contract and also paperwork that has evolved through the years!!


    I would always try to help anyone who wished to create their own ...with one proviso...that their contract reflects their needs and is the product of reflection and not 'copy and paste'

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