'Bureaucratic' Volunteering Bill faces last-minute opposition

Members of a network of UK-wide volunteering agencies are lobbying MPs to warn that the Promotion of Volunteering Bill will have the opposite effect.

The Private Member's Bill, put forward by shadow trade minister Julian Brazier, attempts to protect volunteers from negligence lawsuits from people who are injured under their watch. It is due for its final reading on 16 July.

But CSV and other charities such as Samaritans, BTCV, Barnardo's and WRVS, which belong to the informal Network of National Volunteer Involving Agencies, have sent letters to different MPs to express their alarm at the Bill. "It will do more harm than good," said CSV executive director Elisabeth Hoodless. "It proposes that each volunteer agency must produce a statement of inherent risk for every activity carried out. It would be overly bureaucratic and deter potential volunteers."

Some members also wrote a joint letter to The Times newspaper last week, in what Hoodless said was a "final resort", because of the speedy progress of the Bill.

She believes that Brazier's fears over negligence claims mainly centre around sports adventure training volunteers, and would be better served by particular insurance cover and not a catch-all bill for the whole volunteering sector.

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