Simple Steps to Legal Responsibilities

There are many different regulations and legal requirements you need to consider in the running and management of your community group. This simple guide will direct you to the relevant information on the Community Toolkit, pulling together an overview of your potential legal responsibilities. 

Setting up and running a community group

A good place for any new group to start is to draw up their constitution, this will give the group a legal frame work to adhere to while setting out clear intentions from the start. Whilst there is no legal obligation for your group to adopt a formalized structure, starting with a solid recognised and constituted structure will give you clear advantages when applying for funding and gaining public credibility.
Your committee or directors will have clear legal duties relevant to the type of structure you choose and whether or not your group becomes a registered charity.

Financial Management

Financial management is not just about cash handling. It includes keeping day to day cash records, managing your group’s bank account(s) and ensuring that all legal requirements relating to finance are complied with including annual filling requirements.


Many Community groups and charities employ people to help deliver their service. A charity or community group are still expected to adhere to employment law the same as any other employer being an employer brings many statutory obligations covered both by Employment Law and the Equality Act. It is the responsibility of your community group to ensure legal duties and best practice are complied with.

Health and Safety

Under Health and Safety legislation, all employers have a legal duty to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees, volunteers, committee members and service users.

Working with children and vulnerable adults

Any employee or volunteer who comes into contact with a child under 18 or anyone who would be considered a Vulnerable adult has to register with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme(PVGS). The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act defines two groups as being protected - children, and adults in receipt of particular services.
A protected adult is an individual aged 16 or above who is receiving certain types of services. There are four categories of services specified in the PVG Act:

• A support service, an adult placement service, a care home service, or a housing support service
• Healthcare services, provided or secured by the NHS or provided by independent operators
• Community care services, provided or secured by a council or services for which the council has made a direct payment;
• Welfare services, encompassing the provision of support, assistance, advice or counselling to individuals with particular needs by the voluntary or private sector.

A child is defined as an individual aged under 18 years and the PVG Act gives protection to every child.

Data protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the use and protection of personal data. If your group or charity hold any personal data this must be stored (be this electronically or hard copies) and dealt with in accordance with all current legislation relating to data protection. 


Licensing Regulations most likely to affect your community group include those associated with the sale of alcohol, public entertainment and public performance.


Running a Minibus or other Community Transport Scheme

If your group or organisation is involved in the running of a community transport scheme and is responsible for a minibus, there will be statutory duties to consider relating to the taxing, licensing, maintenance and insurance of that vehicle.



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Last Updated 23/11/2015 09:59