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3C - HR & volunteers - Hira Choudhury & Stephen Peck


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Speakers at CFG's Annual Conference 2012

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3C - HR & volunteers - Hira Choudhury & Stephen Peck

  1. 1. HR and Volunteers Stephen PeckOperations Director – The Scout Association Hira ChoudhuryManaging Director - Unity Insurance Services
  2. 2. The Scout Association• Largest co-educational youth organisation• 400,000 young people aged 6 to 25• Growing at 3% per year • Especially 14-18 year olds (7%)• 120,000 adult volunteers (and growing)• 8,500 local groups• Staff to beneficiary ratio of 1:2080• Turnover £24m including subsidiaries
  3. 3. Volunteer roles• Youth and Children‟s workers• Managers• Trustees• Support roles• Bigger “workforce” than M&S, BBC or McDonald‟s• More volunteers than the Olympics (every week!)
  4. 4. Issues• Disputes between volunteers• Complaints from “customers”• Threat of litigation• Not following rules• Local interpretation of rules• Volunteers managing employees
  5. 5. Causes of volunteer disputes - wider trends seen• Volunteer asked to stop volunteering• Volunteer injury claim – dissatisfaction with outcome• Volunteer negligence causes injury to someone• Disputes between volunteers• All these can result in a grievance• Leading to a threat of litigation by the volunteer
  6. 6. What statutory rights do volunteers have?• Legal status of a person determines their statutory employment rights• If no „employment status‟ - not eligible for „protection‟• Fundamental is a Contract of Service o Offer & acceptance o Consideration o Intention to create legal relations• But a volunteer‟s legal status is not always clear cut
  7. 7. Armitage vs. National Relate 1994• Applied to be a Volunteer counsellor but unsuccessful• Discrimination claim brought successfully based on: o A requirement to work a minimum amount of hours o A requirement to repay training costs if she left earlier o The training could lead to paid work• Mutuality of obligations & consideration did exist• This amounted to a contract of employment• Tribunal allowed discrimination claim to be heard
  8. 8. Chaudri vs. Migrant Advisory Service 1997• Volunteer‟s role terminated - sexual discrimination claimed• Expenses paid but not incurred - regarded as „consideration‟• Regular payment during holiday & sick - regarded as wages• Hence role as a volunteer was infact employment and entitled to pursue her claim for discrimination
  9. 9. Murray vs. Newham Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) 2000• Declined for voluntary adviser post. Discrimination claim brought• Required to volunteer at set times and for minimum periods• CAB undertook to repay expenses & provide training in return• This amounted to consideration and mutuality of obligation• Hence a contract of employment• Tribunal allowed discrimination case to proceed
  10. 10. South East Sheffield CAB vs. Grayson 2003• Mrs Grayson brought a disability discrimination claim• Original Tribunal found volunteers were „employed‟• CAB appealed with a robust defence: o Expectations not obligations - Language not of a contract o No sanction if minimum hours were not worked o An “if” contract does not mean contractual obligations o Request for notice is a reasonable expectation• Appeals Tribunal concluded volunteers did not have any contractual obligations and thus not in employment• Mrs Grayson was therefore not entitled to bring her claim
  11. 11. Breakell vs. Shropshire Army Cadet Force 2010• A cadet force volunteer‟s work stopped – disability discrimination complaint brought• Key argument – was paid allowance for loss of earnings on days worked and hence „employed‟• However Judge concluded he was not in employment: o No obligation for the organisation to provide work o No obligation for him to accept work offered o Hence no mutual obligations & no contract of employment o Not entitled to claim for discrimination
  12. 12. X vs. Mid Sussex CAB 2011• Disability discrimination claim brought• Based on volunteering being a facility for future paid employment & a deemed as “work placement”• The court of Appeal rejected this on the basis: o Any future paid employment was merely a bi- product o The volunteering was not for a limited period & nor for sole purpose of training – hence not a work placement o Therefore no contract of employment, no right to claim o Case referred to the Supreme Court for hearing in 2012
  13. 13. In Summary – factors affecting volunteers’ rights to claim• There must be „Consideration‟ before a contract can be binding• Intention to create legal relations• Mutuality of obligations - both parties “bound” to do something• Remedy or sanction for breach• Are expenses paid over and above true costs• Are there minimum hours commitment• Must notice be given by volunteer• Will the volunteering lead to employment
  14. 14. The Volunteer Agreement is crucial - key mitigations• Inclusion of policy on volunteering & intentions of both parties• Expression and language used: o Volunteer agreement not a contract o Volunteer role description and not a job description o Arrangements if there is a problem not disciplinary procedures o Arrangement if there is a problem not grievance procedures o Expectations and intentions not requirements or obligation o Re-imbursement of expenses not payment o Agreement „binding in honour only‟
  15. 15. Broader Mitigations• Clear role descriptions• Robust appointment process• Comprehensive induction• Clear line management• Clear agreed expectations• Regular reviews (renew, retire, reassign)• Comprehensive training• Time limited commitment
  16. 16. Summary• Volunteers deserve best practice• Take a professional approach• Be robust• Don‟t apologise for being thorough• Support the managers of volunteers• Acknowledge their motivation• Make them feel valued• Cost v Benefit
  17. 17. Any questions? Stephen Peck Operations Director – The Scout Association Hira ChoudhuryManaging Director - Unity Insurance Services
  18. 18. Contact details for further information: Stephen Peck Hira Choudhury