Specialist HR support services for organisations in the charity sector
Charities and other non-profit organisations rely on their staff and volunteers to achieve their aims and make a difference to people’s lives, so it is important to ensure all HR issues are taken into account to keep staff productive, engaged and consistently fulfilling the goals of your charity.
HR services charity: considerations
Some of the HR considerations which all charities need to be aware of include:
- Project-specific health and safety issues
- Employing volunteers
- Compliance with employment law
- Operating within regulatory guidance
PeoplePointHR has experience working with a range of organisations across the charitable sector and understands these sector-specific concerns, which, left unaddressed, can lead to poor employee performance and high staff turnover.
HR services charity: Regulatory guidance
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is responsible for ensuring all charities operate within a legal framework.
All charitable organisations are required to register with the Charity Commission and report annual income, any changes to trustees and any serious incidents. Some examples of serious incidents include large donations from unverified sources, lack of a safeguarding policy, and links to extremist organisations.
Not reporting a serious incident could result in the Charity Commission taking enforcement action, which might involve restrictions on transactions, or appointing new trustees and managers, so it is important to ensure that your organisation operates within Charity Commission guidelines.
Working with children and vulnerable adults
Staff working on the front-line of many charities work with children and vulnerable adults. In these cases, it is essential to make sure all staff are thoroughly vetted – including volunteers and trustees – to avoid potentially putting those you aim to help at risk.
Vetting usually involves a DBS disclosure, which searches police records to identify people who are unsuitable for this type of work.
DBS disclosures are free for volunteers, but there will be a charge incurred for vetting paid staff.
The level of the disclosure required is also dependent on the work to be undertaken, so if an individual’s main duties involve caring for, supervising or being alone with a vulnerable person, they require an enhanced DBS check.
Safeguarding induction training is also mandatory for people who will be working with children, young people and their families.
HR services for your charity: Legal status of volunteers
It is important to distinguish between the rights of paid staff and volunteers in your charity to avoid potential legal issues. Without clearly defined boundaries and expectations, volunteers could claim they have the same rights as paid staff, such as making an unfair dismissal claim.
Volunteers are not classed as employees, and therefore they do not require a contract of employment.
An organisation may give its volunteers a volunteer agreement which specifies what expenses they may receive, what training they will receive, what level of supervision they work under, any health and safety issues relevant to their work, and whether they are covered under your organisation’s public liability insurance.
While not a legal requirement, a volunteer agreement gives both parties clarity on what is expected of them, and avoids problems later down the line.
This agreement must not require volunteers to work a certain number of hours or a particular shift pattern.
Volunteers and reimbursements
Volunteers should not be paid for their time, but they should be reimbursed for any expenses they incur in completing the tasks.
These expenses might include:
- Travel costs
- Food and drink costs
- The costs of equipment needed for the role
- Clothing required
Volunteers should provide receipts for any expenses claimed. It is also important only to pay the value of the expense, as any further payments could legally be considered a contract of employment.
In that case the individual would be entitled to either the National Living Wage or the National Minimum Wage.
How PeoplePointHR can help organisations in the charitable sector
Our HR consultants have a thorough understanding of the unique challenges faced in the voluntary, charitable and not-for-profit sector.
With PeoplePoinHR by your side, you can focus on the important matters of fundraising and helping those less fortunate.
Whether you have paid staff, volunteers, or a mixture of both, there are potential risks for your organisation, and having access to professional support can help minimise these risks.
HR support for charities
Our services to the charity sector include:
- Specialist consultant available by phone, email or face to face to provide support when you need it
- Advice on industry specific legal issues, including safeguarding policies and working with volunteers
- Assistance with Health and Safety compliance
- Drafting contracts of employment and volunteer agreements which take into account the unique challenges of your charity
- Assistance with disciplinary and grievance procedures and representation at employment tribunals
- Handling payroll, annual leave, sickness leave and parental leave
For more information on specialist HR services for charities contact us on 0330 555 2555.