Volunteer rights and responsibilities with regard to the law.

Scottish Parliament

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG)

Volunteer roles where a volunteer will be in contact with children or supporting ‘vulnerable’ adults require that volunteer to undergo a criminal record disclosure check.

They're undertaken to ensure volunteers don't have any impediments or previous convictions that would make them unsuitable for working alongside children or vulnerable adults, or which could put them at risk.

If volunteers do disclose convictions theywill likely be given an opportunity to explain the circumstances. Most convictions do not automatically exclude people from volunteering.

Please see our Disclosure Services section to find out more.

Volunteer rights

In the UK, volunteers don’t have a legal status in the same way that paid workers do. Volunteers are not covered by employment law and so do not have formal rights to redress in an Employment Tribunal.

That means that volunteers don’t have the right to have an organisation follow proper investigative procedures when things go wrong, or the right to appeal a decision made by the organisation.

You have the right to complain or walk away, but we’d encourage you to complain first to give the organisation the chance to investigate and do their best for their volunteers.

Check out our frequently asked questions on volunteering for practical advice and guidance.