Insurance and Timebanking - Edinburgh Time Bank Network

North Edinburgh Time Bank: Insurance and Timebanking
There is no clear legal obligation for Time Banks to take out insurance. Some Time Banks do, others
don’t. The risks involved need to be assessed and all reasonable precautions taken by Timebank
members and staff to ensure people are working in a safe and healthy environment.
The issues considered in examining the advantages and disadvantages of taking out insurance were:
Risk of injury to the person doing the task
Risk of damage to property by person undertaking the task
Risk of injury to person receiving help
Minimising risk
North Edinburgh Time Bank has a Health, Safety and Security policy which is discussed with every
new member. This covers the responsibilities of members both as givers and receivers of help.
The basic guideline is: if you are not sure that something is safe, do not do it. Trust your own
judgement and if you are not comfortable, leave the situation and contact the time broker.
Building trust between time bank members is crucial in minimising the risk of things going wrong.
Nobody is comfortable having people in their home if they don’t know them.
As a time bank we can minimise the risks and build trust between members by:
Holding one-to one interviews with potential members
Checking 2 references for every potential member
Ensuring each member is inducted properly including reading and signing the
members’ agreement
Stressing to potential members that this is NOT a professional service, but a way of
acknowledging people who are good neighbours
Ensuring the time bank broker accompanies a member on their first task
Organising informal get-togethers and socials where time bank members get to
know each other
If a time bank member is offering lifts, the time bank broker will check drivers have a
valid driving licence, insurance, car tax and MOT
Good neighbours vs tradespeople
When a friend, neighbour or family member offers to help you out with a task and something goes
wrong, what do you do? Claim off your house/contents insurance. In general, people do not seek
legal redress against a friend or neighbour if they have spilt paint on their new carpet or damaged
their leather sofa. Again, this highlights the importance of trust between members. As the time
bank grows, and people become more involved, it becomes a network of trusted people who can
help each other.
When you have employed someone to do work for you and something goes wrong, you can claim
under their insurance, which they should have as a professional.
Timebanking is NOT a free handyperson service. It is a membership organisation which supports
people supporting each other and their communities.
When things go wrong
Any task that has been done by a time bank member has to be signed off as satisfactory both by the
person receiving the help and the person doing the task. If either party is not satisfied then the first
port of call is the time bank broker. They will deal with the complaint and try to resolve it to
everyone’s satisfaction. If this is not possible, the time bank broker will bring the matter to the
attention of the chair of the time bank steering committee. The chair will undertake any
investigations into the complaint.
If the complaint is regarding the work of the time bank broker, this will be brought to the attention
of the chair of the steering group and the line manager of the time bank broker at Volunteer Centre