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In working with Volunteer Car Schemes, Helping Go has compiled a list of FAQs. 

Our answers are typical across schemes, but please check with an individual scheme to confirm their exact answer.

Answer:

You can volunteer as much or as little as you like to suit your own individual circumstances.  Most schemes seek to offer flexibility for their volunteers.

Answer:

Whilst not compulsory, it is likely that the VCS will undertake a Disclosure Scotland check before you can provide lifts in the community. Volunteer Drivers may be required to become members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, which involves a search of criminal records.  If this is the case, you will need to complete the appropriate form and provide proof of identity (Disclosure Scotland is happy to advise re individual roles and VCSs).

In addition:

  • References may also be required.
  • You will have to produce an MOT certificate and an insurance certificate;
  • You will be required to declare that you are fit to drive and disclose any relevant medical conditions.

Answer:

Volunteers usually provide lifts with their own car (occasionally some schemes may offer pool cars or minibuses for use, although this is less common).  You must hold a full driving license and your car must be fully MOT’d and insured.  Your car should also be in a clean and suitable condition for transporting passengers.

Answer:

No you should not be required to change your policy to, say, a business policy; however, you will need to advise your insurance provider to ensure you are covered.  If you advise your provider that you are involved in a VCS on a not for profit basis, then this should not affect your insurance premiums.

Answer:

Having penalty points on your license won’t automatically exclude you from volunteering.  The VCS will consider each application on a case by case basis.  You must notify the scheme of any change to, or endorsements on, you licence that may affect your suitability to drive.

Answer:

You will not require a special license as long as you do not receive anything more than expenses payments.  I.e. you must not profit in any way.

Answer:

As a volunteer, you will not get paid but will be entitled to reclaim out of pocket expenses such as mileage (within HMRC limits, which are currently 45p per mile for up to 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter) and parking expenses incurred. In addition you can receive a further 5p per mile per passenger carried.  

If you receive payment (such as tips) over and above the level of your expenses, I.e. make a profit from the service you are providing, then this can cause complications with your tax position, car insurance policy and licensing requirements.

Answer:

No, as long as you are not claiming reimbursement for more than the maximum allowable HMRC rate (45p per mile up to 10,000 miles (25p per mile thereafter) and 5p per mile for a passenger).  The total received, however, must not exceed the running costs of the vehicle.

Answer:

In the interest of drivers and their clients, smoking in vehicles used for VCS duties is unlikely to be permitted.

Answer:

The law requires that drivers and passengers in the front or rear of a motor vehicle wear a seat belt unless they have a Medical Exemption Certificate (Taxis and some Delivery Drivers may also qualify for exemptions, however these exemptions are not relevant for volunteer drivers).  All individuals aged 14 years and older are responsible for themselves when it comes to wearing a seat belt.  As the driver, you have responsibility to ensure any animals travelling in your vehicle are properly constrained.

If applicable, children/babies should be carried in approved child seats.

Answer:

Animals must not be carried whilst vehicles are being used for transport of clients.  The exception to this rule would be a Registered Guide or Hearing Dog (after permission was sought from the scheme).  Volunteers would not be expected to transport Guide or Hearing dogs without prior agreement.  Animals must be suitably restrained to prevent injury if you stop quickly.

Answer:

If in the course of a journey any difficulty is experienced i.e. problems finding an address, difficulties at the address, or a vehicle breakdown or accident, the VCS Coordinator/ Office should be contacted and appropriate advice sought (in addition to urgently seeking police or medical assistance and advising your insurance provider as required).

Answer:

Any contravention of the law is your responsibility.  This relates to parking restrictions, speeding tickets, and other motoring offences.

Helping Go

The Lighthouse
Heugh Road
North Berwick
EH39 5PX

Email. help@helpinggo.org

Helping Go

Helping Go is a Social Enterprise promoting micro-volunteering. 

Running a Volunteer Car Scheme? Looking for drivers? 
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