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The Employment Appeal Tribunal finds that foster carers providing “multi-treatment foster care” were Council employees

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has found that two foster carers who had signed a written “multi-treatment foster care” (MTFC) agreement were employees of the local authority who had approved them as foster carers.  The tribunal found that parts of the written agreement reflected the statutory regulatory framework and therefore, could not be contractual in nature, and that other parts were merely designed to provide helpful information to the foster carers and were not matters that were usually considered to fall within the province of contract law.   However, the parts of the agreement relating to a professional annual fee of over £30,000, which had the appearance of remuneration as opposed to simply covering costs, and which provided for the local authority to exercise a very high degree of control over the foster carers, were contractual in nature.  This contract had the hallmarks of a contract of employment and the tribunal had not erred in finding that the foster carers were employees.  However, the Judge expressly declined to express a view on whether the same finding would apply to “ordinary” foster carers not appointed under this arrangement.