1. 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
Myth: Voluntary groups that work with children and vulnerable adults have to check every volunteer with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
Fact: Checks should only be made for roles that meet the CRB’s eligibility criteria. If an application for a check is not justified, you could be breaking the law, as well as creating unnecessary bureaucracy. The complete list of eligible posts is available at crb.homeoffice.gov.uk
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. Guidance on clearing snow and ice from pavements is available at direct.gov.uk
Please join us and help Cut Red Tape in Volunteering.
2. Keeping CRBs (both standard and portable) free for volunteers
This is an issue that is really important to volunteering in the area as well as regionally and nationally. At this point in time we have an assurance that CRB checks in their current form will remain free, but Volunteer Centre East Riding doesn’t feel that this is enough.
There are 2 reasons why we would like to ensure that the new Portable CRBs will be free to volunteers:
We strongly feel that volunteers should not have to pay out of their own pockets to volunteer. They do a great job in the community, adding value to so many services and in many cases allowing services and groups to run. The government has decided that CRBs need to be in place, and we can fully see the need for this; volunteers are giving their time, skills, energy and enthusiasm and should not be asked to contribute financially as well to help the community.
Volunteers tend to volunteer for several organisations so once the initial Portable CRB checks had been carried out, the new system would mean that the checking process would be quicker for subsequent checks and remain more useful as the system is being updated.The decision on whether Portable CRB check will be free for volunteers will be made in 2012 and we want to ensure that we do everything we can before this point to influence the decision makers. We want to ensure that this issue is brought to the attention of the people who we feel can make a difference.
Please join us and help us to keep ALL CRB checks free for volunteers.