Procurement: Engaging Sub-Contract Labour without a current Order

Given time I probably could find my own answer for this, and it is most probably something I knew in the deep and distant past. However, I have just had to send a blanket email to our Project Managers to CC me into their discussions with a Labour Supplier when they discuss their requirements for the site. Labour is being engaged without said orders, which doesn’t help when trying to keep a check on costs. So what are the ramifications of engaging Sub-Contract Labour, without a current Sub-Contract Order being in place PRIOR to them commencing work on Site! I am sure we all have done it at times. Thanks I want to try and scare them!

To save any confusion; the companies have provided all insurances & are on our Approved Supplier List and Completed all inductions.

I asked :
a) whether you were a main Contractor or Employer (NEC3)/ Client (NEC4), and
b) whether you are under NEC3 or NEC4.

From your response below it seems that it was a more general response you wanted - correct me if I am wrong - conversing contract law regardless fo the form of contract.

A contract does not need to be signed by legal representatives of both organisations to come into being. It can come into being when both Parties start acting as if a contract is in existence.

The question can then become something like ‘what is the contract we are actually under?’ And the answer is whoever sent over their last offer - e.g. T&C’s with a price and scope - just before the parties starting acting as if the contract was in existence. This is sometimes known as the ‘battle of the forms’.

If no T&Cs have been sent over then you have a verbal contract and that becomes problematic e.g. are we using the forms we always use ? did your project manager say something that was received in a different way than it was meant etc., ? etc.

a) Specialist Sub-Contractor
b) NEC 3/NEC 4/JCT/Bespoke/ICE

Jon, thanks for the reply. What happens a lot of time, owing to time being a factor. A Project Manager may have emailed a requirement to a subby. Received a quote and then he either emails or phones to tell the potential S/Contractor to commence work the following day - never ideal. It may be a week until I cross path with said PM and I might just find out that we have engaged someone. It is then my duty to raise a Sub-Contract in retrospect. There may not be any T/Cs in place as no one would think to send any, the price being the main concern.
The worse case is that the company is not on our Approved Supplier List and we then have to send out a questionnaire and obtain Insurances etc., then someone loads this information into our Accounting Software, before an Order number can be allocated to the Company, following that the procedure is for me to raise a Sub-Contract Order. In most cases the Work entailed will be less than £50K, meaning that our internal orders are used. If it is over this sum, we use back to back NEC forms. Also a lot more information and discussion will have taken place before any work can proceed. It is an annoyance, which we have to live with - Clients want work done asap, PMs oblige, and get the work started and just expect that everything will follow in an orderly fashion, even though they have not relayed the information to the correct quarter, because they are themselves snowed under.