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Case 72 - Local council required volunteers to have public liability insurance for health and safety reasons

Issue

A local council is concerned about the impact on their public liability insurance by letting volunteers maintain some of the public garden areas. The council are quoted as saying the volunteer group have to have public liability insurance for health and safety reasons.

Panel decision

This is a case where health and safety has been given as the excuse for insisting that volunteers obtain public liability insurance. However, it is not at all clear what risks they are insuring themselves against other than a vague possibility of civil litigation. Given the very low risks involved in maintaining the public gardens it is hard to understand why the Council are insisting on the volunteers taking out insurance or not simply offering to provide the cover for the volunteers who are helping them out.

2012-10-05