Our experienced solicitors provide support and advice to co-operatives and mutuals on all aspects of volunteer management and the legal relationship between organisations and volunteers.

Many co-operatives rely on the help of volunteers and without them they would find it difficult to run their organisations. While from the outside it may seem that there is no legal relationship between an organisation and a volunteer, there often is, and it is imperative that organisations are clear on the organisational management of volunteers.

Although a volunteer may act as an employee in terms of the tasks they carry out, they do not have a contract of employment. It is important that volunteer arrangements are in place to ensure that the relationship and expectations are defined and recorded. Volunteer arrangements provide a clear distinction between volunteers and employees. There are certain circumstances where the line between volunteer and employee can become blurred, including:

  • Volunteers are often reimbursed for expenses and are provided with training to enable them to fulfil their volunteering duties. However, if payments to volunteers become regular, or if non-essential training is provided, such payments and training can be interpreted as income and can potentially create a contract.
  • If the demands on the volunteer are inflexible and they become obliged to perform certain duties, this can indicate an employee relationship.

If these lines are crossed an organisation could find themselves vulnerable to claims from volunteers. At Anthony Collins Solicitors we work with you, as co-operative or mutual, to provide support and advice on all aspects of the organisation and management of volunteers and help your organisation ensure that you have safeguarded yourself against the risk of claims. 

Our volunteer management service

We have extensive experience of working within the co-operative sector but also with groups working with volunteers (such as charities). We use this sector knowledge and our experience to work in partnership with our clients to ensure they are aware of their legal obligations toward volunteers. We can advise on all aspects of volunteer management, including:

  • Drafting and implementing volunteer arrangements to clearly outline the relationship between the organisation and the volunteer.
  • Volunteer health and safety requirements; ensuring risk assessments are undertaken and that volunteers are aware of the organisation's health and safety policies and procedures.
  • Advising on procedures for ensuring appropriate DBS checks are undertaken for volunteers’ working with vulnerable adults or children.
  • Drafting and implementing volunteer policies and procedures.
  • Drafting and implementing policies and procedures dealing with volunteers’ liabilities for their actions and how volunteer grievances are dealt with.

Our specialist team are well placed to advise on volunteer issues as many have personal experience of volunteering and are trustees of organisations which regularly work with volunteers.

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