Insurance for volunteers – what you need to know

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Volunteers at events

Volunteers are invaluable to many events. From organising the catering to running stalls, volunteers are a perfect example of the community spirit that events create.

But even though they’re not employed staff, they still require cover and protection. As long as they’re working on behalf of the event, they’re subject to much of the same legal obligations as employees.

What’s the difference between a volunteer and a standard employee?

Apart from the obvious (pay and contracts), not an awful lot. They have the same protections under the Health and Safety at Work act, they still need a DBS check if they’re working with children and vulnerable adults and they’re still covered by Employers Liability.

This means that volunteers should be subject to the same risk management as your standard employees.

What insurance does a volunteer need?

Technically speaking (and this is a real technicality), you don’t have to have insurance for volunteers. However, you do have to have Employer’s Liability by law, and volunteers are covered under that policy.

Because they have the same protection as Employees under the Health and Safety at Work act, they can make the same claims should they suffer accident or injury. It’s vital to ensure that you’re creating the safest working environment as possible.

What do you need to consider when employing a volunteer?

Volunteering England has a 10-step quality standard which should give you some guidance. It might also be worth visiting the NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) website as well for tips.

Our best advice would be to treat volunteers in much the same way you would a standard member of staff. Make sure you commit thorough background checks before giving them any access to cash, and ensure there is a system in place to prevent fidelity.

If you’re planning on asking volunteers for help on a regular basis, you should make sure they’re subject to the same training as employees and where possible, assign them a member of staff ‘buddy’ for quality assurance.

For more information on your responsibilities when hiring and insuring volunteers, contact us today at info@insure-our-event.co.uk.

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