Volunteers turned off by the threat of legal action

Indira Das-Gupta

The culture of volunteering in the UK is being destroyed by "excessive risk management", according to research published today by Volunteering England.

On the Safe Side, which was produced in conjunction with the Institute for Volunteering Research, found that 86 per cent of 1,124 respondents thought risk management was causing problems. More than 25 per cent of voluntary organisations felt people were being deterred from volunteering by fear of legal action, and 7 per cent had called off events due to excessive insurance premiums. A third have seen insurance costs rise by a substantial amount in recent years.

Justin Davis Smith, deputy chief executive of Volunteering England, said: "The compensation culture is in danger of taking a real hold in this country, with potentially disastrous effects on the provision of services by both public and voluntary bodies."

In response to the research, Volunteering England and the IVR will issue practical advice for voluntary bodies at a debate held on Friday at the Thinktank science museum in Birmingham.

- See Finance News, page 9.

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