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Volunteers get their say on how regulations are enforced

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “Volunteers are the unsung heroes of communities in this country. But dealing with the …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of communities in this country. But dealing with the way rules are enforced can sometimes be more of a problem than the red tape itself - no one volunteers to be a bureaucrat.

“So, whether it’s an inspection by someone who won’t listen or having to fill in the same form twice - we want to hear about it. I urge you to go to the Focus on Enforcement website and let us know your views so that we can take action.

“We know there are good regulators out there, so we also want you to tell us on the website about the heroes - people who give really good guidance and help your event to happen well and safely.

“This is your chance to make a real difference to the way regulations are enforced.”

The campaign allows comments to be posted anonymously and is also looking to hear about other organisations or officials who suggest volunteers must follow rules they shouldn’t have to. This happens where regulation does not actually require a group to do something - but somebody insists that they do.

Questions we are looking for answers to include: Do you want to do something locally but you daren’t because you might be breaking the rules and regulations? What sort of advice would help you run your event without worrying about whether it meets health and safety? If you already organise a volunteer event, do you get useful help, and if so where from, or do you keep quiet and hope no one knows?

The Focus on Enforcement website, for the first time, also provides details on national regulators in one place and also on regulatory functions carried out by local authorities.

Notes to Editors

  1. Volunteer Events, which is the third review theme to be launched, is now live on the Focus on Enforcement website and can be found at: The site gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to suggest areas for review of compliance and enforcement arrangements, and to provide evidence on areas ‘in focus’. Other review themes underway include:
  • smaller food and drink manufacturers

  • chemicals sector.

  1. The focus of these reviews is on the way regulation is delivered and compliance is achieved - whether through inspections, advice or enforcement - not about the regulations themselves. A separate initiative - Red Tape Challenge - invites the public, business and the voluntary and community sector to give their views, comments and ideas on what regulations should stay, be improved, or be scrapped altogether. The Volunteer Events theme will run alongside the Civil Society theme on the Red Tape Challenge, which was launched on Friday and be accessed at:

  2. Each review starts with a 5-6 week evidence-gathering phase.

  3. The Focus on Enforcement website, for the first time, provides details on national regulators, their remits and regulatory budgets and staff resource in one place and information is also provided on regulatory functions undertaken by local authorities. (A large number of organisations play a part in securing compliance with the law. They include national regulators, local authorities, and bodies independent of Government, some of which have statutory regulatory functions. The list on the website is not exhaustive and details will continue to be added and updated).

  4. The scope of the Volunteer Events enforcement theme will cover:

  • Regulatory activity by national regulators and/or local authorities that affects/is perceived to affect the arranging and running of events by volunteer-based organisations, including (this is not exhaustive):

  • preparation and sale of cooked foods (such as cake-bakes to raise funds for the school PTA)

  • sale of second-hand goods (jumble-sales, bring-and-buy sales, for example)

  • raffles

  • sponsored** **events (fun-runs, three-peaks challenge)

  • staging of performances involving sale of tickets to raise money, such as choral events, plays, poetry-readings (but not including copyright issues)

  • street parties.

However the scope will exclude:

  • Events arranged principally for the purposes of commercial gain

  • Sales through premises intended permanently for the purpose of raising funds for voluntary or charitable purposes, such as charity shops

  • Activities that take place for prolonged periods of time, such as longer than 2 weeks

  • Regulation of the governance, constitution and operating of Non-Government Organisations (Charities, Not for Profit Businesses, for example)

  • Regulation of working with children (CRB checks etc)

  • Review of the legislation (primary or secondary), rather than the implementation/enforcement of the legislation governing volunteer events

‘Regulatory activity’ in this context includes action taken by national regulators or officers of local authorities, including but not limited to:

  • provision of advice on compliance with the law

  • nspections of locations or equipment in order to satisfy regulatory authorities of compliance with the law

  • equirements to make formal applications, or provide information

  • handling of emergency planning

  • equirements to attend courses / obtain particular qualifications

  • enforcement proceedings taken against individuals or organisations in the event of failure to comply with regulations (we cannot consider comments on specific cases unless all proceedings have finished - but we can consider general evidence in relation to enforcement proceedings)

  1. The review will also seek to identify examples of effective, tailored and easy to understand guidance and advice for businesses, and good regulatory delivery that is risk-based, focused on achieving compliance and supporting business growth.

  2. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Aidan Steer Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5245 Fax



Published 22 May 2012