UKCRN welcomes Ofcom’s increase in volunteer value rates

Ofcom’s announcement increasing the value community radio stations can assign to their volunteer hours has been welcomed by the UK Community Radio Network.

The UKCRN has been lobbying on this issue for several years. In January last year, it also submitted a policy proposal recommending a methodology and rate that could be assigned.

The increase will see standard volunteer value increase from £9.38 per hour to £13.91 and senior volunteers from £13.13 to £15.23 per hour.

Originally, the rate was set using European Social Fund volunteer rates from over 15 years ago. The new rate has been based on the Office for National Statistics data on occupation rates of pay in similar sectors.

The new methodology was similar to one proposed by the UKCRN in its policy paper from January 2022, although the main proposal was to align with BBC Local salary grades.

Community stations are currently limited on the percentage of income they are allowed to generate via commercial on-air revenues in excess of the £15,000 ‘fixed revenue allowance’.

Above this amount, not more than 50% can be from on-air advertising with the rest from other sources. Included in the percentages, stations are allowed to use up to 25% of the value of their volunteer time.

Martin Steers Co-founder and Director of the UK Community Radio Network said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of community radio which wouldn’t be able to exist without them.

“We thank Ofcom for hearing our concerns and working with us to increase their values. Although everyone knows volunteers are priceless, it’s good the community radio stations can now add more of their value to their annual returns.”