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A guide to buying services

Find vetted services and local tradespeople through the Leeds Directory.

Choosing your provider

To help make sure that everything goes smoothly when buying a service, you should follow these steps:

Any organisation listed in the Leeds Directory that provides a service in the home, garden or one to one in the community, has been checked and vetted by us. These organisations will have a green tick against their listing.

Find out more about the Green Tick

Have a look at the five star ratings and reviews to check what other customers think of the service they have received from a provider.

Find out more about star ratings and reviews

If possible, you should ring at least three different providers to compare quotes. You should always leave a message with your name and number so that they can call you back and it’s important to ask them if there is a call out charge. Any visits to the home should be pre-arranged and the provider should show their ID before entering your property.

They should also let you know if they are using subcontractors and if they have been vetted. We expect all providers to supply written quotes on headed paper and produce a receipt for any work undertaken. They should also make it clear if VAT is included.


Questions you should ask your provider

It’s important to take your time when making a decision. A good provider will respect you for asking questions. If they are impatient or pressure you for a decision, then think twice about using them. Below are some questions to think about asking your provider.

      • How much is the total amount I would have to pay? (ask them to include call out charges, up-front costs, any longer-term, add on costs and VAT if applicable)
      • Can you detail exactly what I will get for my money?
      • Do I need to sign a contract? If so, how long does it run for?
      • Can I break a contract if I want to switch to a different provider? Is there a penalty for that?
      • How am I protected if you stop providing the service before the contract is up?
      • What happens if the provider doesn't show up or shows up late?
      • What happens if the equipment or item breaks?
      • What is your complaints and returns procedure if I’m not happy?

Never take a seller's claims at face value. Ask your family and friends what they think, or talk to your care manager or social worker, if you have one. If there is someone who normally advises you about money, you should speak to them. If the provider is listed in the Leeds Directory or are registered with a body like the Care Quality Commission, you can check their rating.

Keep copies of any letters or emails that you send the provider, all contracts, receipts and other important documents they send you, and records of any payments you've made.


Information you should keep safe

Information you should keep safe includes:

      • Letters or emails you send the provider and any replies they send back
      • Contracts and other important documents
      • Receipts and records of any payments you have made
      • Warranties, services manuals, user guides and instructions
      • Any information the provider gave you when you first contacted them, including their complaints procedure, and information about what happens if wither of you needs to end the contract early

Prepare a buying services checklist

To help you keep track of everything, you can print out our useful checklist guide produced by the Leeds Directory.

lf you need extra support at home, you can employ a carer directly, either as a Community Enterprise or Personal Assistant, or you can use a care agency. They can help you with:

  • personal care
  • cleaning
  • cooking
  • shopping

Community Micro Enterprise (CME) Providers

A CME is small, locality focused provider of home care/support.  CME’s are viable, sustainable, committed to high standards of practice and won’t let people down.

CME’s are a great option for people looking for home care/support services who want something more personal, bespoke and with more flexibility and consistency from who is supporting them.

All CME’s offer low levels of support/help in the home but some CME’s provide personal care services as sole traders.

Find out more about Community Micro Enterprise Providers.

Personal Assistant

A Personal Assistant (PA or Support Worker) is someone employed directly by a person who needs support to live their live independently in a way they choose. There are many benefits to employing a PA including that they work for you and you can direct the course of your care yourself.

You can find out more about the benefits of employing a PA and get support in the process of recruiting a PA by visiting the Leeds CIL website.

Finding A Care Agency

If you decide that support from a more traditional care agency is right for you remember to speak to more than one agency, so you can compare deals and get the best offer. When you approach each agency, make a list of important information they will need to know and what you would like to know, including:

  • what you will want the person to do, such as things you might need support with or any regular activities you want to be accompanied to
  • important personal information including if the agency staff need to use any moving or lifting equipment or if English is your second language
  • checking if the agency is registered with the CQC, the health and social care regulatory body.
  • what qualifications and experience do the care workers you employ have
  • what happens if I’m not happy with the work of the person you provide
  • what happens if the care worker doesn't show up, or shows up late

As well as checking the Leeds Directory, you can look for an agency by visiting:

United Kingdom Home Care Association (or call 020 8661 8188)

Care Choices Directory (or call 01223 207 770)

Care Quality Commission (CQC) (or call 030 00 616 161)

lf you decide to employ someone directly, you can ask your social worker for help. lf you do not have a social worker, contact the adult social care team on 0113 222 4401.

Doorstep selling scams

lf someone comes to your door selling goods or services, don't be pressured into paying for anything on the spot until you have had a chance to discuss the offer with a friend, family member or your social worker. No reputable supplier will ever try to force you into making an instant decision.

Phone and email scams

You might receive phone calls or emails which claim to be from your bank, or from websites you have used to buy things in the past. They might ask for you to confirm your account information. 

Don't trust anyone who phones or emails to ask for this, no matter how genuine it seems. No reputable bank or website will ever contact you to ask for your account password, PIN or login information.

Mail order scams

Sometimes it's hard to judge whether offers of products and services sent through the post are genuine or not. Treat with caution any letter or flyer that claims you have won a prize. Usually these are scams to get you to call an expensive telephone number to find out what you have won.


Last updated: 9/10/2020