Risk 'a growing issue' for voluntary groups

Nathalie Thomas

Nine out of ten voluntary organisations believe the UK has developed a 'compensation culture', according to new research produced for the ChangeUp volunteering hub.

Initial findings from Volunteering England research to be published in the new year suggest that two-thirds of voluntary organisations consider risk to be a growing problem.

"Nearly all the major social movements in our history have been started by volunteers who were willing to step out of line and take risks in pursuit of a high ideal," Dr Justin Davis Smith, deputy chief executive of Volunteering England, told a risk management conference earlier this month. "Yet parts of the volunteer movement are increasingly responding by seeking to eliminate risk from their work."

A sharp increase in insurance premiums has contributed to concerns, Davis Smith suggested.

Three-quarters of the voluntary organisations surveyed by Volunteering England reported a rise in their premiums.

"One organisation said its public liability insurance had gone up from £8,000 in 1999 to £42,000 in 2005, an increase of 400 per cent in six years," Davis Smith added.

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