Cutting the Red Tape in Volunteering
ERVAS has joined Volunteering England’s campaign to free volunteering from red tape.
Volunteering your time to help other people should be easy and straightforward, but so often barriers get in the way. Barriers can be real, myths and misunderstandings or just plain bureaucracy. Together we’d like to cut through some of the red tape, remove these barriers and let people know how easy it is to volunteer in their community. We’d like to start by dispelling some of those myths.
Myth – You can only volunteer for sixteen hours a week if you receive state benefits.
Fact – Your volunteering hours are not limited, as long as you continue to meet the conditions of your benefit(s). You must talk to Jobcentre Plus, your local council or whoever pays your benefit(s) before you start volunteering.
Myth – Voluntary groups that work with children and vulnerable adults have to check every volunteer with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Fact – Checks should only be made for roles that meet the DBS’s eligibility criteria. If an application for a check is not justified, you could be breaking the law, as well as creating unnecessary bureaucracy.
Myth – If you volunteer to clear snow from paths you’re at risk of legal action under health and safety laws.
Fact – There’s no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It is also very unlikely you would be held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you cleared it carefully.