LAW understand the challenges of the charity sector.
With around 160,000 registered charities operating in the UK and accounting for 760,000 employees, the charity and social sector is a vital part of the fabric of society in the UK. The past few years have, however, been a tumultuous time: from the collapse of Kids Company to reports of unacceptable fundraising practice and, of course, the sex scandal allegations.
Many charities are able to ride the ups and downs of third sector funding by outsourcing key functions such as HR and health & safety which allows for the employee fluctuations required to stay afloat while ensuring robust and clear cut practices. Other charities get rid of their costly lawyer overheads in favour of our unlimited, fixed-fee expert support while maintaining a HR role within the organisation. Either way, there are flexible options to suit everyone.
Law At Work prides itself on its in-depth knowledge of the tricky employment law issues affecting the sector. As a sector specifically targeted by HMRC on NMW violations we are well versed in advising our charity clients on NMW compliance. We are also proud of the fact that we keep clients on the right track when it comes to sleep-over/sleep-in shifts as this has recently been an area of much consternation. Allow our team of experts guide your organisation through the tricky, and sometimes nuanced, employment law and human resources issues.
Charities are put in a position of trust, and are therefore heavily scrutinised when things go wrong. Health & safety doesn’t just mean carrying out a workplace risk assessment and testing the fire alarms – it covers the health and welfare of your employees as well as any member of the public that comes to your premises or attends a fundraising event. For charitable organisations this can be an expensive minefield and can have devastating consequences. In addition, it is not impossible for charity trustees to be held personally liable for health & safety failings.
In 2017, a member of staff in an iconic stately home run by a charity was killed when a faulty lift dropped and crushed his head. After investigation it was found that the lift had not been inspected since it was installed in the 1950s/60s. Had the lift been suitably risk assessed and properly maintained, a man would not have lost his life. The lift was in a staff-only area and was used for luggage alone but nevertheless, the lack of a key safety device would have been noted in a thorough risk assessment. In 2015, a service user was scalded by a radiator lacking a thermostatic valve and the resulting 30cm burn required a skin graft leading to an extensive fine. It was noted in the investigation that the risk had been highlighted but no action was taken. Both of these examples were concluded as being foreseeable risks, yet no action had been taken by the organisations.
At LAW, we have extensive experience in all sorts of charitable organisations. From small charities with one office, to those with shops, to housing and care homes, we are fully qualified to look after your health & safety needs.
We moved our legal support to Law At Work having previously used a time and line law firm. It was important, though, that an all-inclusive fee structure did not come at the expense of quality. Thankfully we’ve been delighted with the service we’ve received from LAW. The support and advice is excellent, and the commercial approach from our employment solicitor is exactly what we need. LAW allow us to achieve highly satisfactory results with a minimum of fuss.
Chief Executive, Waverley Care