Connect to Support Hillingdon
Please review and correct the information below.

Information for Hillingdon Providers

Discover how shop4support can benefit you and your customers via Connect to Support Hillingdon.

Create your own online Store

For any provider who hasn't made their services available online, taking the first step can be a daunting prospect, so shop4support will give you as much help as possible.

If you're not sure how to gain access to your customers or want to increase your sales, your own online store on Connect to Support Hillingdon will give you access to a vast social care market. Even better, it's free, with no setup or ongoing subscription costs.

Features include:

  • your own homepage, to help you connect with your customers, and links to catalogues to market your products and services
  • your own URL to drive customers directly to your store
  • integration with your own website, financial or case management system should you have them
  • use of shop4support's branding within your own marketing literature
  • a full support infrastructure, with a dedicated account manager and telephone helpline
  • pricing can be tailored to individual customers, allowing for agreed negotiated prices which can be hidden from the public marketplace
  • automated and paperless ordering, receipting and invoicing results in a significant reduction in invoice queries, administrative time and costs
  • automated debtor management, improving your cash flow by a potential 50 percent

Branches you have in different geographical locations can be mirrored online, with different store branches created from your master catalogue of products and services. Personalised catalogues and product pricing, according to your branches, is also available.

You can choose from a range of payment options, both online and offline, using cheques, cash, credit, debit cards or PayPal. We can link you to someone at PayPal if you would like to use this option.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between shop4support ("s4s") and Connect to Support Hillingdon ("CtSH")?

Technically, very little. s4s is the system operator, and runs a national eMarketplace accessed via www.shop4support.com. CtSH is the name and URL address adopted by Hillingdon Council for their local eMarketplaces, but the website itself is based upon shop4support.

Why should I register?

The eMarketplace has been developed in response to the transformation that is happening in social care, and represents the shape of how social care services will be commissioned in the future. This transformation results in many challenges and opportunities for providers, and the eMarketplace represents a way for providers to embrace these.

How do I register?

Click "Register now!". The online form should only take a few minutes to complete.

Who decides if my organisation can appear on CtSH?

Whilst the system behind s4s operates a national basis, each LA decides which organisations are displayed in their local eMarketplace. Hillingdon Council requires all providers to sign-up to a 'Code of Conduct'

What is the difference between a "Directory" entry and a "Store"?

'Stores' are aimed at organisations selling products and services that will be transacted via the s4s system. For example equipment, homecare or day services. Organisations will be responsible for maintaining their Store, and will receive online enquiries and purchase orders via the s4s system.

The Directory (which is sometimes also referred to as 'Local Groups & Activities') is aimed at everything else, which means that they are often free or only have a nominal cost associated with them. Examples are information entries, organisations providing free advice, support groups, local clubs and events such as coffee mornings. Organisations with a Directory entry will not receive online enquiries or purchase orders through the system, therefore much less maintenance is needed.

It will be appropriate for some organisations to have both a Store and a Directory entry. If you are in doubt about which type of entry is appropriate for your organisation, please contact the s4s helpdesk.

I've only got one product in my Store. How do I add more?

You can add more products via this online form.

I want to make a change to something in my Store or Directory entry. How do I do this?

Go to http://www.shop4supporthelp.com/hesk/ and click on "Submit a Ticket". Include details of the changes you wish to make. You will then be notified when the changes have been made.

How can I promote my store?

There are lots of ways, take a look at our Provider Marketing Resources page for some suggestions

Is there any guidance on how to write the content for my Store?

Yes. We have produced a flier called "How to Optimise Your Store".

I am a residential provider. What does this mean for me?

There is nothing to stop you including residential options within your store. However, this is not the primary focus of the eMarketplace. Accordingly, a number of residential providers are offering related services such as short breaks, respite and day opportunities which do sit well with the target audience.

I am a supporting people provider. What does this mean for me?

A number of LAs are now actively separating block contacts for supporting people services, which is an ideal way to promote these. In addition, the eMarektplace offers providers the ability to promote the other services they can provide and/or to diversify their business (e.g. those services that don't fall within the scope of supporting people and/or to those customers that are not eligible).

Why do I have to include a price?

We believe it is critical for prospective buyers to have an understanding of the cost of a product/service in order that they can make informed decisions. However, we do understand that the final price may be tailored to individual's specific circumstances, hence providers are able to include the following statement (or similar) within their product description: 'Please note the price shown is a typical cost for this service and is dependent on your individual needs and requirements. Once these have been discussed we can confirm a price.

If you are a registered user of this website you can ask us any question, including questions about meeting your specific needs, by clicking on the 'Request More Information' tab above.

Please note that we cannot display "from" prices or "price upon request", it has to be a figure. Users can submit their individual requirements and you can confirm the final cost.

Can everyone see my prices?

Yes, your Store will contain your 'public catalogue' and can be viewed by anyone. It is possible to create 'private catalogues' for specific individuals or groups of individuals. Please contact the s4s helpdesk if you would like to discuss this option.

I charge different prices depending upon the individual's circumstances. Can s4s handle that?

Yes. Users will submit either a 'request for more information' request or a draft purchase order to you, based on the published price. This can include their individual requirements. You are able to respond to this, including the final price based upon the specific requirements of the individual. That price can only be seen by the specific user and hidden from the public eMarketplace.

How do I transact via the system?

You will need to access the s4s Provider Portal. You only need to do this when you start receiving enquiries or purchase orders from users. You will need a username and password for this. Once you have your username and password, the process is easy and the system is user-friendly. We have produced a simple 'desk aid (1.25mb)' to guide you. Should you require support the s4s team are available.

I don't have a username or password for the Provider Portal?

You only need a username and password when you start receiving enquiries from users and /or transacting via the s4s system (i.e. you receive a purchase order). In order to prevent you from losing / forgetting your password, we only issue these once you receive your first enquiry / purchase order.

What does it cost?

For Directory and store entries, there are no cost whatsoever.

Who handles the physical payment?

The s4s system facilitates the process, but never handles any physical funds. If you choose to accept card payments, this will be done by PayPal, which s4s integrates with. Users can also pay manually (e.g. by cheque) or via other means (such as online banking).

How can I receive online payments?

There are a range of different merchant providers that you can sign up with which will enable you to receive debit and credit card payments. One of the simplest is PayPal, as this is very easy to setup and has no standing charges (although you will need to pay a merchant fee for each transaction). To set you up to accept payments via PayPal for things bought via CtSH, all we need you to do is tell us the email address that is linked to your PayPal account. Sign up to PayPal.

Does s4s guarantee that we will receive payment?

No. Whilst s4s helps facilitate the transactional process, the contract is between the provider and the buyer (i.e. the individual or the entity managing their personal budget). The checks and balances within the s4s system help to make the debtor management process more efficient and effective, but responsibility for payment ultimately rests with the buyer.

Can I export invoice information from s4s to my finance system?

Yes. Please contact s4s for more details. However, bear in mind that it is only worthwhile doing this when you have a steady stream of transactions flowing through the system.

When will individuals start to use the system in Hillingdon?

Connect to Support Hillingdon will be soft launched in early April 2015, which means that members of the public will be able to access the site (and your Store) from this date. A formal launch will be undertaken later in the year, when Hillingdon Council will start proactively marketing and promoting the site we will keep you informed of progress over the coming months.

How do I contact the s4s helpdesk?

Our preference is that you submit any queries via our online ticketing system. To do this, go to http://www.shop4supporthelp.com/hesk/ and click on "Submit a Ticket". A member of the team will then respond to your query, and you can monitor the status of it online. Alternatively, you can email us at info@shop4support.com or call us on 0333 600 6330 (lo-call rate).

While every care has been taken in the compilation of the information on this website, neither Hillingdon Council or PCG Care Solutions will be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of using the site and any inaccuracies/errors within these pages.

If you choose to purchase services via the Marketplace, you are advised to refer to the Buyers Guide prior to making a purchase, as well as making your own enquiries and seeking independent advice. This is applicable to Adult services only, as there is no Marketplace for Children's services.