Guidance on legal aspects of working with volunteers

Volunteers raise hands
Friday, 1 May, 2020

Russell Cooke Solicitors, who specialise in work with charities, have rounded up some useful legal guidance on working with volunteers during the pandemic. Here's what they have to say:


The huge response from the public wanting to volunteer to help with the coronavirus effort has rightly been recognised as a good-news story at a time when good news can be hard to come by. However, training and managing this surge in volunteers represents a real challenge for charities at a time when resources are already stretched.

Where necessary, adjustments can be made to normal volunteer recruitment and training practices – for example, doing induction and training online rather than in person – but charities must take care not to sacrifice essential measures required to comply with legal duties in areas such as health and safety, safeguarding, and data protection.

  • The ICO has published a blog outlining core data protection measures that charities and community groups need to put in place, read here
  • The Disclosure and Barring Service has updated its processes for carrying out criminal records checks, read here
  • NAVCA's resources hub includes links to safeguarding resources for volunteering groups, read here
  • NCVO has materials available to support charities with volunteer management, including training videos and know-how guides, read here

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