1. What safety measures are there that MyPocketSkill takes to make it a safe environment?

The safety of users of MyPocketSkill is our primary concern.  It's our intention to ensure that anyone providing or receiving services arranged through this site does so in a way which protects the safety of all those involved, particularly children and young adults.  To make sure your experience with the site is rewarding, we've built a range of features which will help deliver you peace of mind: our content is reviewed by humans (not algorithms or robots), users can report inappropriate content or behaviours and the site is monitored by MyPocketSkill Champions, we include links to educational resources and helplines for users to voice concerns. We also expect parents/carers to be actively involved in the site. We are implementing steps to verify users automatically [because the site is growing, we currently check-out new users on an individual basis] and we encourage our users to seek and give feedback on any tasks completed.  We also have guidelines for acting responsibly on the site and for staying safe online.  You can read more about our approach to safety and trust here.

2. What fees do you charge?

The site is currently free to join and it’s also free to place listings.

We charge a transaction fee of 14%, based on the total value of the transaction.  Once the market is more developed we may introduce a small monthly membership fee.

3. Can anyone join MyPocketSkill?

Yes! Anyone can join.  However, for safety reasons, we do insist that all new joiners are verified by the site’s admin.  At this stage MyPocketSkill is growing outwards from our networks so most people joining are friends and acquaintances.

4. What do I do if the task I have is not listed?

You can list the task under the section “other”.  You can also email us and we may be able to create a task category to accommodate your listing.

5. Is it safe for a teenager to be meeting people online?

We’ve been developing the site in accordance with the very latest guidance on online safety. In addition we have introduced a number measures, such as clear Community Guidelines and Top Tips on staying safe online and a Privacy policy.  

 

6. What if the person I hired for a task is no good?

In our tips for staying safe online we recommend that before committing to a series of payments, you use our messaging function to find out everything you might need to know (for example previous experience or references).  If it’s a more involved task such as tutoring you might also want to interview before agreeing to pay.   

After a task is complete it’s possible to provide feedback which can be used to recommend or highlight problems with anyone providing tasks on the site.

7. How do I improve my chances of being booked for a task?

By creating a comprehensive profile, providing references and citing earlier experience of doing a task or a relevant skill, we believe you are improving your chances of being booked for a task.

8. What can I charge for the task?

Users can set their own prices.  By checking out other profiles / offers to perform the task you should get a feel for the appropriate charges.

9. Can I hire an under-16 year old for any task?

There are a number of tasks that under 16 years olds (and under 18s) can not perform. Many of them are common sense Health & Safety related restrictions, including tasks that lead to harmful exposure to toxic substances, exposure to radiation, exposure to extreme cold/ heat/ noise vibration. It also includes a number of manufacturing, heavy-duty construction, transport passengers and goods, handling goods in a warehouse. In addition, under 16s can not sell or even be on premises that are predominantly involved in the sale of alcohol. They cannot be employed on boats or be involved in any gambling related employment. They can also not work in a commercial kitchen, although able to do some of the activities such as prepare sandwiches. Finally, they cannot participate in ‘street trading’. As it is apparent most of the activities that are marketed on MyPocketSkill will not be any of the above, however if you’re unsure please check the national guidelines and also check with your relevant local authority for a full list of excluded tasks.

10. Can an under-16-year-old safely babysit my child?

There is no legal minimum age for babysitting. However, it is a matter of judgement if a child under 16 years old can be left looking after a younger child in a sole capacity. It is also important to remember that parents cannot legally delegate parental responsibility to a babysitter, who is under 16.  

11. Am I responsible for performing health and safety checks if I hire a teenager?

It depends on the task, where it is performed and if you are deemed to be a business or a private household.   Typically where a child assists in a trade or occupation carried on for profit he or she is considered as employed and is therefore subject to Local Authority requirements which may involve checks and risk assessments.  If that’s the case then we recommend that you contact your relevant Local Authority for further local rules and procedures.

12. Should I perform a DBS (disclosure and barring service) check to see if the individual has a criminal record?

If someone over-16 is doing a task for you involving young children (such as babysitting etc) you can may wish them to be DBS-checked if they haven’t already had this done.   There are plenty of companies which offer this as an online service such as:

https://crbdirect.org.uk/ 

https://www.onlinedbschecks.co.uk/

or

http://www.childprotectioncompany.com/CPC/dbs-checks

More guidance on this subject can be found here.

 

13. I am a small local business – can I hire an under-16-year-old?

It depends on the kinds of activity your business is involved in and the kind of tasks that you would need the under-16 to perform. There are a number of exclusions on the basis of Health & Safety, such as employment in ‘industrial undertaking’, in an environment that may result in exposure to toxic substances or radioactive materials. Sale of alcohol or being on premises, largely focused on sale of alcohol is also prohibited, as well as working in a commercial kitchen. Local authority guidelines should be used to make a decision in which areas a school-age* child can be employed and also to potentially seek a work permit, if deemed necessary.

*A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16

14. I am a small local business – can I hire someone from the site over school leaving age*?

As with the previous question, it may depend on the kind of activity your business is involved in and the kind of tasks that you would need the 16+ teenager to perform. There are a number of exclusions on the basis of Health & Safety, which are highlighted above and are also applicable to children under 18 years of age.  While permits are typically only required when hiring teenagers under the compulsory school age.

*A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16

15. How do I pay the teenager I hired?

We recommend that you use the payment solutions available on the site and the payment gets channelled directly to the teenager’s account or card. This is safer than just giving cash, leaves a record of payment, enables teenagers to use the card directly in shops and allows some parental control.

16. Do I need to check if the parent of 16 years old knows that the teenager is doing a task for me?

We recommend that you do ask this question always. The site contains a number of features that ensures that the parent should know that the teenager is doing a task. If a child is school age (under 16), it is a parent, who creates the profile. If a child is school age (typically 16 and over), then while they create their own profile, they are asked to input an email address of the parent and all the communication goes to both emails.

17. My child is 10 years old. Can he join the site and participate in tasks?

Your child cannot join and perform a task if he is under 13 years old. You, however, can create a family profile and participate in some tasks as a family, like for example pet sitting, where you can give your child certain responsibilities.

18. How can I tell that teenagers are as old as they say they are?

We recommend that you ask for the teenager’s ID before agreeing to hire them for a task. We also ask for verification information when a user joins MyPocketSkill. [PLEASE NOTE WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING THIS FEATURE - ALL NEW USERS ARE CURRENTLY BEING CHECKED-OUT BY SITE ADMIN INDIVIDUALLY UNTIL THIS IS IN PLACE]

19. How can I tell if people online are who they say they are?

When a tasker lists a task or teenager offers a skill we ask them to send us through a copy of their Identity Documents (ID), such as a passport or driving license. [PLEASE NOTE WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING THIS FEATURE - ALL NEW USERS ARE CURRENTLY BEING CHECKED-OUT BY SITE ADMIN INDIVIDUALLY UNTIL THIS IS IN PLACE]

20. What happpens if things go 'wrong' - is MyPocketSkill responsible?

MyPocketSkill is an online community and makes all the efforts to create a safe environment for its users by providing safety suggestions and safety framework. However, as with everything online users have to take a cautious approach and as all experts agree education is the main way to ensure safety. So the honest answer is that MyPocketSkill can not assume responsibility as things do and can go wrong but it tries to educate its users to help the community to stay safe. 

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