Safety, Insurance and Legal

If you are working as any form of organisation, you will need to consider Health and Safety, Public Liability Insurance, DBS (formerly Criminal Record Checks) etc.

Health and Safety

The chief tenet of H&S is a simple risk assessment to show that you’ve at least given some thought to what could possibly go wrong.


The RHS provide insurance for community groups signed up to their ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ scheme.

There are two types of cover: employers and public liability, at £5m or £10m, and cover for sheds (and cups and trophies which may not apply) at £5k, £10k or £25k. Policies run for 12 month period from 1 February

RHS Insurance  

TCV’s ‘Combined Policy for Conservation Groups’ insurance covers public liability, indemnity limit £5,000,000 (with an optional upgrade to £10,000,000), and personal accident; Zurich will pay the agreed monetary benefit to your group if anyone in your group sustains bodily injury by accident or assault whilst engaged on your official activities, including direct travel. Cover starts from £102.38 for existing Community Network Members. You’ll need to check with TVC that you food-growing group counts as a conservation group for this purpose.

TCV Insurance

Leeds City Council’s Public Liability Insurance is also mainly aimed as conservation and ‘Friends’ groups, rather than food growers. It covers volunteer tasks on Parks and Countryside sites if volunteers are working with a member of staff, and some simple tasks when working without supervision (e.g. litter picking, Himalayan balsam pulling), but not when working with their own tools.

National Federation of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners

LCC Insurance contact Parks outreach officer

Incredible Edible Todmorden also offer this advice (albeit of Calderdale) See

Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB Checks)

If your team will have contact with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to hold DBS clearance. The service is free to volunteers, but small groups can’t access the service except through an agency who are large enough to justify the fees required to become an approved DBS submitter. 

Some Feed Leeds Partners, including Voluntary Action Leeds, The Conservation Volunteers and Healthy Living Network Leeds are registered as “umbrella groups” with DBS, and can process DBS applications on your behalf, though they may charge a handling fee for this. (Most charge about £15 to cover their costs of handling applications).

Alternatively you can register as an agency to process your own people (this is free for volunteers, but not for staff). To be registered with DBS, you have to fulfil certain criteria and have staff trained to complete, check the forms, and handle potentially sensitive information, and also to ensure that any applicants failing the DBS criteria are turned away.

Check directly with the DBS 


If your site is found to contain any archaeology, you’ll need to report it – and the project may be put on hold until a dig can be arranged. Thereafter you may be restricted to only growing in raised beds, and there may be weight restrictions placed on these to limit any damage to artifacts buried underneath.

Contact for advice on archeology

Council archeology department

The Friends of Stank Hall Barn can advise on developing a project at a sensitive archeological site.

Working with Volunteers

See Finding a workforce

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