Volunteering England and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have published a code of practice for volunteers.
The code was developed by the working group that was set up by Volunteering England and the ABI last year to address the problem of unnecessary red tape raised in Lord Hodgson’s report Unshackling Good Neighbours last May.
It informs people that "volunteering is not a generally risky activity". There are seven points to the code giving volunteers guidance on staying safe and when to ask for advice:
- Take care in whatever you do.
- Think about your safety and the safety of others around you.
- Involve other people.
- Ask for help and information.
- Be clear about what you are and aren’t responsible for.
- Check your existing insurance policies to see what you are covered for.
- If you are volunteering for an organisation you are probably covered by their insurance.
The working party is chaired by David Tyler, chief executive of Community Matters, and members include Acevo, Acre, Clubs for Young People, Community Matters, Locality, NCVO, NCVYS, Social Enterprise UK, Sport & Recreation Alliance, Volunteering England, ABI, Direct Line Group, Zurich, Allianz Insurance Plc, Ecclesiastical Insurance, RSA Group, CaSE Insurance, BIBA, BESSO Insurance Group Ltd, Mason Owen, Marsh and Unity Insurance Services.
The ABI also revealed that the number of insurers that cover volunteer drivers had increased to 66 from 54 in March, meaning that 90 per cent of all drivers were covered.
The Cabinet Office has set up a Red Tape Challenge website and the civil society ‘theme’ went live last week. The government is encouraging people to comment on by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 2012.
Minister for civil society, Nick Hurd said: “We know there is more to be done and we continue to need your help. We’d like to hear from people who have any ideas for changes to regulations that would make it easier to run a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation.”
Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) certificates are also set to become transferable after the Protection of Freedoms Bill 2012 gained royal assent earlier this month. This means that people will be able to volunteer using the same certificate as they do for employment reducing the number of repeat checks.