Press release

Boost to volunteering as government cuts red tape

A raft of measures designed to encourage more people to volunteer and to make it easier for people to run charities is being published today by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd.

CAB 036-12 

A raft of measures designed to encourage more people to volunteer and to make it easier for people to run charities is being published today by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd.

The steps taken to make it easier for people to volunteer include:

  • a “Volunteer Code of Good Practice” stating that volunteering is not a generally risky activity and setting out simple guidelines that will reduce any risk there might be;
  • guidance from the Association of British Insurers on ‘How to run an event’ giving volunteers advice on how to arrange appropriate insurance;
  • ABI’s “Volunteer Driving - The Motor Insurance Commitment” which has encouraged insurers not to charge additional premiums for volunteer drivers. 66 insurance companies have already signed up, covering over 90% of all drivers. Women’s Royal Voluntary Service has over 10,000 volunteer drivers alone; and
  • new legislation the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will radically improve the “portability” of CRB certificates so that people can volunteer using the same certificate as they do for employment. This change will lead to a big reduction in the need for repeat checks on the same individual reducing the time and costs incurred

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:

Many volunteers, charities and social entrepreneurs have told me of their frustration with the amount of red tape interfering with their day to day work.

While we do have a responsibility to protect people we want a balance so they feel that they can volunteer their time without fear of facing unnecessary bureaucracy. The guidance we are announcing today will mean that people can get involved in their local communities without the burden of unnecessary red tape.

But we know there is more to be done and we continue to need your help. We’d like to hear from people who have any more ideas for changes to regulations that would make it easier to run a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation.

The Red Tape Task Force spent nine months examining the myriad of rules and regulations which put people off giving their time and money to good causes and stifles the volunteer and charity sector in the UK.

There has been much progress in reducing the burden of red tape on civil society since the report Unshackling Good Neighbours was published last May. It made 17 recommendations to organisations and the Government has since worked with a range of civil society and other organisations to introduce a series of measures designed to guide people on misconceptions about regulations and to cut down unnecessary bureaucracy in the sector. Ministers are keen that as many people as possible can do more for the common good without being stifled by legislation.

As a sign of the Government’s commitment to continually crack down on red tape, it is today following the review up with a new call for evidence to identify any remaining unnecessary frustrations there might be. This is part of the “Red Tape Challenge” which was launched by the Prime Minister to give the public a chance to have their say on the more than 10,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.

Specifically the Red Tape Challenge is asking for views on:

  • Is there red tape that stops you giving your time or money?
  • If you run a civil society organisation are there rules and regulations that stop you making it more successful?
  • Should it be easier to invest in social ventures?

Notes to Editors

1. Unshackling Good Neighbours and the “One Year On” progress report to Lord Hodgson can be accessed at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/unshackling-good-neighbours.

2. The Volunteer Code of Good Practice, developed by a Working Group of representatives from civil society organisations and the insurance industry, can be accessed at: http://www.volunteering.org.uk/aboutus/news-releases/2287-working-group-publishes-code-of-practice-for-volunteers.

3. To access the ABI’s “How to run and event” guidance please visit http://www.abi.org.uk/Media/Releases/2012/04/Celebrate_safely__ABI_publishes_guide_on_organising_street_parties_and_other_events.aspx 

4. To access the ABI’s “Volunteer Drivers - The Insurance Commitment” guide please visit:  [www.abi.org.uk/information/consumers/general/volunteer_driving.aspx](http://www.abi.org.uk/information/consumers/general/volunteer_driving.aspx).

5. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April, giving the public a chance to have their say on the more than 10,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.

6. The Civil Society Theme will go live on the Red Tape Challenge website on 17 May and can be found here: http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/home/index/.

7. 19 themes, totalling over 3700 regulations have been launched on the Red Tape Challenge website so far.

8. Overall, of the 1500 regulations (across 7 themes) where Ministers have already made decisions, the Government has committed to scrap or improve well over 50% - decisions that will bring real benefits to business, civil society organisations and individuals.

9. The Red Tape Challenge process does not include legislation falling within the responsibilities of the devolved administrations.

10. For each sector theme, experienced ‘Sector Champions’ are appointed who will provide expert knowledge in their specialist field.  The champion acts as an intermediary between the sector and Government, including helping to direct the web-based debates and discussions.

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