What do I need to know?
For people considering or beginning a volunteering opportunity, we have have a selection of Information Sheets to help answer many of the questions you might have.
- Thinking about volunteering? (56.8Kb)
- Who is allowed to volunteer? (59.9Kb)
- Accepting volunteers from outside the UK (132.5Kb)
- Volunteering and state benefits (50Kb)
- If things go wrong (72.2Kb)
- Problem solving for volunteers (73.3Kb)
- Finding Volunteering Opportunities (43Kb)
- Volunteering outside the UK (42.8Kb)
All groups and organisations that involve volunteers should consider what types of insurance they need to put in place to cover them for that involvement. For more information visit the insurance section of our Good Practice Bank.
Code of practice for volunteers
Take care in whatever you do. As long as you act reasonably and take this guidance into account you are very unlikely to put yourself at risk of litigation.
Think about your safety and the safety of others around you. Before you do anything it’s a good idea to take some time to think about the risks it could pose to you and others. If there is a risk, think about what you can do to reduce it.
Involve other people. Before you do something, think about who else it might involve or have an effect on. If you’ve noticed something needs doing, chances are someone else has too. By talking about it with others, you’re more likely to identify potential problems – and be able to solve them.
Ask for help and information. Most importantly, before you decide you can’t do something or you’re putting yourself at risk of litigation, look for the information. If you have concerns about health and safety, ask for help. A great place to start is Citizens Advice, which can point you in the right direction.
Be clear about what you are and aren’t responsible for. Various myths circulate about responsibility. For example, if you allow your land to be used by the community for an activity you only owe the same duty of care as to all other visitors. If you’re not sure about what the law says you can contact Community Legal Advice.
Check your existing insurance policies to see what you are covered for. If you already hold home insurance you might be surprised to find out what individual activities it covers you for. If in doubt, ask your insurance provider. The British Insurance Broker’s Association also has a guide to insurance for volunteers.
If you are volunteering for an organisation you are probably covered by their insurance. It’s the organisation that has a responsibility to ensure it has the right cover for its activities and its volunteers have the right information and training. If you are concerned, or just interested, you should ask what insurance the organisation has.