About these consultancy agreements
These are comprehensive legal documents that cover the commercial and practical points that will be important to both the consultant and his or her client.
Although written in plain English, the concepts are deep and the documents are thorough. Using one of these templates will enhance your brand as a professional and well organised business, as well as protecting your intellectual property and helping each piece of work undertaken to progress smoothly.
Our contracts are tailored for three types of user:
- for corporate consultancy (the consultancy company could employ multiple employees, or simply be a structure through which an individual works)
- for a single self-employed consultant working alone or with colleagues or sub-contractors
- for the client company or business
The documents for the consultants emphasise the legal structure through which the work will take place. For example, the versions for self-employed consultants emphasise the independence of the contractor for tax purposes.
The versions for the client favour their own interests more strongly than alternative versions.
We also offer variants for contractors in the IT and HR industries.
The majority of each agreement for a certain type of user is the same regardless of the industry because the main subject of the contract is how the work is performed, not what the work involves.
Where the contracts for specific industries differ is largely in the even heavier coverage of intellectual property and confidentiality, which are more likely to be important in those industries.
What is in these agreements
It will not help you to list every detail, but here are some of the important provisions covered by each document. Bear in mind that no agreement contains unnecessary provisions.
- Contract summary and payment options
- Work management procedure
- Consultant's obligations
- Option for the use of sub-contractors
- Ownership of intellectual property created by the consultant
- Data protection
- Option for no competition
- Limitation of your liability
- Duration and termination
You will probably be fully aware of why each provision is necessary, but just in case you need help, each document comes with very extensive explanations and advice contained in the drafting notes as well as a separate guide to editing legal document templates.
Additionally, to help you to avoid having to consider exact words, each template provides options - you just select which option you want to preserve and delete the others. This applies in particular to payment systems and working arrangements.
Protection of intellectual property
In the course of any business relationship much of confidential information is shared. Both the client company and the consultant have interests in making sure that any third party obtains it.
That confidential information may be strategic, such as future plans for expansion, or it may be intellectual property created during the assignment.
The structure and the contents of these contracts reflect the latest thinking on what is needed to balance the protection of the client business from theft of its intellectual property while ensuring that IP belonging to the consultant can be used elsewhere.
Legal requirements for personal data protection under The Data Protection Act (incorporating the GDPR) are, of course, included.
An umbrella agreement
In our contracts, we keep the description of the services provided separate to the legal clauses.
In structuring the agreement in such a way, distinguishing the deliverables is much easier and the agreement becomes an 'umbrella contract' ready set up for the possibility of future assignments under the same terms.
All later assignments of work become automatically subject to the terms of your original contract unless you agree to a new one.
All that is needed for any subsequent assignment is a description of the work to be carried out and a reference to the agreement.
Treat as your standard contract or negotiate terms
Of course, you can either edit an agreement and use it as your standard terms, or you can negotiate the detail of each individual project.
The importance of a good specification of work
We cannot over-emphasise the importance of a thorough and agreed specification of work. The agreement you will choose will reduce the chance of conflict on the operation of the agreement and the application of the law, but only you can describe the work in detail.
The contracts provide for the specification of work to be placed in a schedule to the agreement the first time it is used.
The law relating to this agreement
The governing law in all these consultancy agreements is Welsh and English law.
There is little statute law relating to the provision of consultancy services so the framework for the contracts depends on basic contract law and tort.