Volunteers and the Law

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Mark Restall delivered a training session at AVM 2016 on the basics of volunteers and the law. Covering the basic considerations that volunteer managers need to make when engaging volunteers in their activies.

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Volunteers and the Law

  1. 1. Volunteers and the Law Mark Restall
  2. 2. Aims and limitations • An overview of key legal issues • A practical understanding of where problems can arise – and how to avoid them • Where to find out more • But………… • This is not in any way a substitute for legal advice • We are cramming a large topic into a small amount of time
  3. 3. The legal position of volunteers A piecemeal approach – no overall legal status • Employment law doesn’t apply • There is no protection from unfair dismissal • There is no protection from discrimination • Other law can include volunteers by name or by implication • Or include volunteers because they apply to anyone
  4. 4. Keeping people safe
  5. 5. Health and Safety • You must take reasonable steps to keep volunteers safe • Duty of care, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 • You must risk assess your activities • Review and revise where necessary • Health and Safety policy • Insurance
  6. 6. Safeguarding • You must take reasonable steps to keep volunteers safe • Duty of care, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 • You must risk assess your activities • Review and revise where necessary • Health and Safety policy • Insurance
  7. 7. Criminal Record Checks • Disclosure and Barring Service • Enhanced Disclosure • Enhanced Disclosure with barred list check • There are strict rules on who can be checked • www.gov.uk/find-out-dbs-check
  8. 8. Data Protection • Applies to information held on identifiable living people • Volunteers should be aware of what you are doing with information and why • If you plan to use their information and you don’t think they’d expect this usage you’ll need their clear consent • Take reasonable steps to ensure data security
  9. 9. Benefit claimants • Are fully entitled to volunteer • It must be unpaid • They must continue to meet requirements of their benefit • No hour limits
  10. 10. People from overseas • EU/EEA citizens – can volunteer • Refugees/Asylum seekers – can volunteer • Visitors – can volunteer up to 30 days for a registered charity during their stay • Other immigration statuses – must be allowed to work (e.g. students, working holiday makers)
  11. 11. Young people • Check your insurance • Parental consent • Risk assess the activity • Consider safeguarding issues • Charity shops and ‘activities carried out for profit
  12. 12. Avoiding a legal relationship • Volunteers could claim employment status and therefore employment rights – e.g. access to minimum wage • Employment relationship is a contractual relationship • Consideration, intent, offer & acceptance • Expenses, not income • Expectations, not obligations
  13. 13. Thank you! restallmark@gmail.com Legal updates from Sandy Adirondack: www.sandy-a.co.uk Online resource coming soon (and further guidance): www.ncvo.org.uk

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