- Terms of engagement
1.1 Before beginning any work for a client I will confirm in writing my understanding of the project to be undertaken and ensure agreement of this understanding with the client before commencing the research.
1.2 It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that the details of any previous research have been conveyed to Ancestral Stories to avoid any research being inadvertently repeated.
1.3 I will not exceed the time initially commissioned by the client without prior agreement.
1.4 I undertake to report the findings of the research with detailed sources of the information obtained. Where research is not successful I will provide information as to the avenues that have been explored.
1.5 Paid time includes research, analysis, report writing and time spent communicating with the client by telephone, email, text and in person.
1.6 If during the research it becomes clear that the said research will not take as long as initially expected or research cannot progress as anticipated any whole unused pre-paid research hours will be refunded to the client, or alternative research avenues agreed with the client.
1.7 In compliance with the UK Data Protection Act, I am registered as a data controller (number Z2437523) with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) I cannot legally share personal information of living people without their consent. I will only use personal information provided to carry out work commissioned and to contact you.
- Payment Terms and Fees.
2.1 For all new clients payment in full is required before commencement of commission. Payment in advance of any research is required to secure a research slot. For extensive projects, a schedule of payments may be agreed.
2.2 Any subsequent research a client may request will be 50% payment on commission. The remaining balance becomes due on completion of the work, before the report and any supporting documentation is issued to the client.
2.3 An hourly rate of £30 is charged for time spent on research, analysis, report preparation and time spent communicating with the client by telephone, email, text and in person. For visiting archives and other repositories there is a minimum charge of 4 hours.
2.4 Travel is charged at 45p per mile. I charge for time spent travelling if it is in excess of ½ hour each way.
2.5 Expenses are charged at cost (e.g. birth, marriage & death certificates, postage etc). Where copies of documents are required and a definite cost of these cannot be determined upfront, the cost will be deducted from the amount paid and the amount of research reduced pro rata.
2.6 All prices quoted are in GBP (British Pound Sterling). I do not accept payment in any other currency. The preferred method of payment is direct bank transfer via BACS. Bank account details will be detailed on the invoice. Cheques are to be made payable to Graham Hicks and must clear prior to any work being undertaken.
2.7 Payment by PayPal is accepted. However a 5% charge will be added to the agreed fee to cover PayPal handling costs. Debit or credit cards can be used via PayPal without opening an account with them.
2.8 On receipt of the required initial payment (see above) a research slot will be booked and the client notified. Any changes to the initial estimate will be notified to the client as soon as reasonably possible.
- Likelihood of Success
3.1 It should be noted by any prospective client that it is sometimes not possible to trace a family back as far as expected or find the expected information in a particular document. Research time includes time spent searching with a negative outcome. However, all research may be considered positive if it is viewed that a particular document or direction has been “ruled out”.
3.2 Genealogical and historical research can be a lengthy and challenging exercise that from time to time may produce little or no positive result and the client is reminded that payments are for research services provided and payments must be made even if the research fails to provide the client’s desired result. The research is carried out in incremental steps. Clients are also advised that this can sometimes take longer than they might wish.
4 Accreditation and reassurance
4.1 The Researcher shall perform to professional and ethical standards, within the letter and spirit of the code of practice of the Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives (AGRA) and the standards recommended by them (a copy of this can be supplied on request).
5 General Points
5.1 I reserve the right to decline cases where I consider the likelihood of success to be low, e.g., if the only information were to be a starting point of “…his name was John Smith and he was born in London in about 1900”.
5.2 All research commissioned to Ancestral Stories will be conducted by Graham Hicks with the exception of research that requires specialist input, e.g., out of geographical area research or Latin translation work. In the event of such circumstances the use of a third party specialist would be notified to and agreed with the client ahead of the research. Client details will not be shared with a third party without prior consent.
5.3 The client and researcher shall maintain regular verbal and/or written contact, communicating as appropriate any details, problems, suggestions, questions and/or timetables in order to ensure a smooth and effective working relationship.
5.4 Client contact detail: A full postal address is required for all clients. In addition an email address and phone number (landline or mobile) is desirable.
5.5 The researcher shall hold confidential any information provided by the client that is not already a matter of public record or public knowledge to the full extent permitted by law. The researcher will treat with discretion, even if it is already a matter of public record, information about living persons, their parents or immediate families.
5.6 The client understands that if information designated as confidential can be obtained by other parties from other sources (including public records or by means of independent research), no agreement that the researcher makes can guarantee such information will not be revealed by other parties through other sources and the researcher shall not be held liable.
5.7 Reports supplied by the researcher to the client are copyright of the researcher and must not be reproduced, amended or published, including in electronic form without prior written consent of the researcher.
The relevant United Kingdom law will apply to these Terms and Conditions and the relevant courts of the United Kingdom will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to the Terms and Conditions.
January 2019 v1.9