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    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 11:57 AM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    How to find out from charity if a freelancer got paid for 'voluntary' work I did?
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 17, 11:57 AM
    How to find out from charity if a freelancer got paid for 'voluntary' work I did? 2nd Oct 17 at 11:57 AM
    Hello!

    I'm wondering if anyone can tell me whether organisations must disclose when asked details of invoices they've paid, specifically payments to freelancers.

    I volunteer at a local charity, and I strongly suspect another person (freelance) was paid in advance for a specific project, which was actually completed by me on a supposedly voluntary basis. I have no proof but it seems from the bits and bobs of information I've gleaned from the charity's manager that it's very likely this happened. They've been quite cagey so far.

    When I agreed to voluntary work I obviously didn't expect to be paid but then again neither did I expect another person to be paid for my work!

    Does anyone know if I can request that the charity show me the invoices for the project, and whether they have to do it or can refuse on the basis of confidentiality? I've no idea how I'd pursue this but I feel I need to know what's going on at least.

    Thanks in advance!

    SpaceisthePlace
Page 4
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 5:06 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    The charity seem somewhat incompetent if your suspicions are correct, but hey, they are a charity. Most of them are incompetent. They could apologise if they wasted your time, which they have done if the freelancer had actually done it all anyway and they just panicked. But if it did need doing, and you did it, then you did what you agreed and helped them out. Their previous incompetence in paying for something and not following it up isn't really your issue.

    You need to separate the incompetent waste of money issue from the wasting your time issue. They are two different things, of which neither, either, or both may have happened.
    But I wasn't fully informed before I agreed. So my agreement means nothing. I wouldn't have done the project if I'd been told the freelancer had already been paid to do it. It's not a situation I'm comfortable with, doing work that someone else will be paid for. I would've used that time to do something else.

    I understand that him being paid only may have happened. That's why my original post was about how to find out if my suspicions are correct.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 5:08 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    My mum has a saying............just because she has retired does not mean her time in not valuable and she has nothing better to do than other family members chores.
    Good one! I quite agree.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 2nd Oct 17, 5:12 PM
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    Comms69
    But I wasn't fully informed before I agreed. So my agreement means nothing. I wouldn't have done the project if I'd been told the freelancer had already been paid to do it. It's not a situation I'm comfortable with, doing work that someone else will be paid for. I would've used that time to do something else.

    I understand that him being paid only may have happened. That's why my original post was about how to find out if my suspicions are correct.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    But you were in team meetings where the subject was brought up a number of times?


    Stop volunteering if your time comes with conditions.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 2nd Oct 17, 5:12 PM
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    nicechap
    Literally the whole point of my entire OP was how do I get evidence for my suspicions. I've been completely upfront about the fact that these are just suspicions, and that I don't have proof, and that I would like to get proof.

    I've been very clear that what I want out of this situation is to know what really happened. And then IF what I think happened did happen, go from there.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    As has been said on page 1, you're not entitled to get evidence. You are not the police nor an auditor.

    You can ask, which you appear to have done, and not got the answer you wanted.

    That's where the road ends unless you want to make accusations that could end up backfiring on you.
    Quote was right and saw into the future.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 5:15 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    you're assuming they won't try to get their money back. at my workplace, we have freelancers for certain things. a lot of the time we do pay them in advance, especially if it's near the end of the budget and we have a surplus to spend. we ask them to submit their invoice early, as we would like to use that surplus, even if the work is then completed later in the year. if they don't complete that work, we would issue them with a bill for works not completed. this could well be the case. but you're only a volunteer and you do not have any right to their financials to know what is going on.
    Good points. I think that was why he was paid in advance - budget surplus at the end of the tax year. I truly hope they did issue him with a bill for works not completed. But I suspect not, as the work was completed, just not by him, and I have no idea whether the financial team are aware of that. Plus the manager made comments that strongly suggested otherwise.

    Thanks for the information though, it's useful.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 2nd Oct 17, 5:19 PM
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    nicechap
    I know for a fact that he hadn't done it beforehand. There were several team meetings with him present where the project was discussed and the fact it hadn't been done was talked about. He had plenty of chances to say 'hey I've done this already' but didn't. The nature of the work means he couldn't have done it while on holiday. I was asked to do it because it hadn't been done.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    But I wasn't fully informed before I agreed. So my agreement means nothing. I wouldn't have done the project if I'd been told the freelancer had already been paid to do it. It's not a situation I'm comfortable with, doing work that someone else will be paid for. I would've used that time to do something else.

    I understand that him being paid only may have happened. That's why my original post was about how to find out if my suspicions are correct.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    So you were privy to meetings where the paid Freelancer hadn't done the work (it would be strange if the person responsible for delivering the project wasn't minuted as being), yet you then went on & did it?
    Quote was right and saw into the future.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 5:24 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    As has been said on page 1, you're not entitled to get evidence. You are not the police nor an auditor.

    You can ask, which you appear to have done, and not got the answer you wanted.

    That's where the road ends unless you want to make accusations that could end up backfiring on you.
    My comment was a response to your comments that I am jumping to conclusions without evidence. I pointed out that I would like to get evidence. I would never make accusations without evidence to back myself up. Hence my OP.

    However I know now that I am not entitled to see invoices to prove my suspicions. I fully accept that.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 5:31 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    So you were privy to meetings where the paid Freelancer hadn't done the work (it would be strange if the person responsible for delivering the project wasn't minuted as being), yet you then went on & did it?
    At the time of the meetings I wasn't aware he had been paid in advance. Nobody disclosed this information.

    Usually freelancers invoice after work done. I assumed that as he didn't do the work, he wouldn't be invoicing or being paid. However later on, after I had completed the project, the manager told me it had been paid for in advance, but didn't specify whether that payment included paying the freelancer or was just for equipment etc (although I don't see why it wouldn't, usually a project cost would include freelance worker hours). Hence my original post about wanting to get clarity on the issue.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 2nd Oct 17, 5:46 PM
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    nicechap
    At the time of the meetings I wasn't aware he had been paid in advance. Nobody disclosed this information.

    Usually freelancers invoice after work done. I assumed that as he didn't do the work, he wouldn't be invoicing or being paid. However later on, after I had completed the project, the manager told me it had been paid for in advance, but didn't specify whether that payment included paying the freelancer or was just for equipment etc (although I don't see why it wouldn't, usually a project cost would include freelance worker hours). Hence my original post about wanting to get clarity on the issue.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    See how easy it was for me to draw wrong conclusions when I didn't have the full information? But I'm guessing it was known he was a PAID freelancer and was responsible for delivery?

    Maybe think about whether you are doing the same.

    Instead take pride in your delivery of the project to timescale for the benefit of the charity. And move on.
    Quote was right and saw into the future.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 6:14 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    See how easy it was for me to draw wrong conclusions when I didn't have the full information? But I'm guessing it was known he was a PAID freelancer and was responsible for delivery?

    Maybe think about whether you are doing the same.

    Instead take pride in your delivery of the project to timescale for the benefit of the charity. And move on.
    It was known that he works for the charity doing various projects on a paid freelance basis. However, like I said, usually freelancers invoice after work done. Not before. No work, no pay. At least that's how it usually works. I'm not sure how I would have been expected to know without being told that on this one occasion, he'd been paid in advance.

    As I've said several times, I'm not jumping to conclusions, I've been very clear that I want the full information. This was the exact reason for my OP. But I'm just repeating myself now and wasting my time. Have a nice evening.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 6:21 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    I'm signing out now and won't be logging back on to this thread.

    I feel like I've got an unequivocal answer to my original question, and that now the thread is just descending into quibbles over details about the specific situation. I anticipate that it will all just end up in circular arguments and we've all got better things to do.

    Thank you to everyone who wrote kind, polite, constructive comments.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 2nd Oct 17, 6:32 PM
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    nicechap
    It was known that he works for the charity doing various projects on a paid freelance basis. However, like I said, usually freelancers invoice after work done. Not before. No work, no pay. At least that's how it usually works. I'm not sure how I would have been expected to know without being told that on this one occasion, he'd been paid in advance.

    As I've said several times, I'm not jumping to conclusions, I've been very clear that I want the full information. This was the exact reason for my OP. But I'm just repeating myself now and wasting my time. Have a nice evening.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    Did you know & accept that you were doing for free what the charity would have "otherwise" paid for?

    There's lots of things people want but accept they cannot have. Have you accepted that you are not entitled to it?
    Last edited by nicechap; 02-10-2017 at 6:35 PM.
    Quote was right and saw into the future.
    • hyubh
    • By hyubh 2nd Oct 17, 7:04 PM
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    hyubh
    Given you admit as much yourself ....
    ...I think I'll leave it as it is.
    Originally posted by ReadingTim
    Er? I'm not the OP. When you say the following, you are being a nasty bully: 'you've been exposed as being as dishonest and money-grubbing ... you're beyond help'.
    • NewShadow
    • By NewShadow 2nd Oct 17, 8:29 PM
    • 2,225 Posts
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    NewShadow
    Thanks for both your comments. So he is not entitled to be paid for work he didn't do. Thank you for confirming this. I have no idea whether there was a timescale for completion and if so, what it was. If the payment did happen, it was several months in advance of the project being done.

    I feel compelled to point out that at no point did I say I was going to legally pursue the charity to get payment for this work. My query was initally about whether I could get proof that what I suspect occurred actually did. And yes I have read and understood the many comments saying that I cannot get it.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    To be clear - he may be entitled to claim for work he didn't do.

    It would depend on the exact wording of his contract. And no - before you ask - you don't have a right to see it.

    Having read the whole thread - I've also noted that this person apparently works for the charity on a semi-regular basis. It's entirely possible the hour's he's been paid for will be allocated to another project.
    Last edited by NewShadow; 02-10-2017 at 8:38 PM.
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    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 2nd Oct 17, 9:27 PM
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    jobbingmusician
    He hadn't already done it. The project was completed, from scratch, by me. He was on holiday when the project was being done, having already invoiced and been paid for the work. He knew that the project deadline was coming up and went on holiday anyway rather than stick around and do the work he'd been paid to do.

    The question I originally asked was can I get proof of him being paid for my work. That's been answered.

    My concern is the unfairness of recruiting a volunteer and then paying someone else for that volunteer's work. Yes I feel personally wronged. I have been volunteering here for years and trusted and made friends with all the people involved in this situation. They have withheld information and that has personally hurt, but it also is part of a lack of transparency in the charity that could affect other volunteers, and points to behaviour in the freelancer and manager which is unethical and bad for the charity.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    Just hoping that the OP might pop back.

    I am the CEO of a small charity, and can relate to this situation. And here is my guess as to what's happened. (The scenario below is from my imagination but I have been in very similar situations - or situations which might look similar from the outside even without a mistake being made.)

    We engaged a freelancer, and for some reason s/he was paid in advance for the project. There are likely to be internal concerns about this, given the fact that FL b*ggered off on holiday before the closing date of the project, without finishing it. (Yes, this was a serious mistake, and we are learning from it. Of course, mistakes like this never happen in other sectors, do they? )

    We're not sure whether we can reclaim any money from the FL. We are worried about employment tribunals and the like, especially as the FL is from an ethnic minority/disabled/elderly/any other protected characteristic. Even the raising of an ET would cost us far more than the payment for the work this FL didn't do on the project, so we (may) have decided to write the money off.

    Along came the OP, and it was like manna from heaven. The OP saw us out of a very sticky situation and finished the project. Hurrah! Our other options were to pay someone else to complete the work (money the OP has saved us) or to abandon the project.

    We are now upset that the OP has found out about the FL being paid in advance, for work they ended up doing. We can't tell the OP much because of the risks of things like adverse publicity for the charity (we know we made a mistake but we are scared it could be twisted to impact on a lot of our work if it hit the press) and our worries about the employment status of the FL.

    However, we feel that the OP has actually donated to the charity - their work really was invaluable.

    OP, does that help? It's genuinely how I would feel if I was the person running the charity in that situation.
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 3rd Oct 17, 8:49 AM
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    agrinnall
    We are worried about employment tribunals and the like, especially as the FL is from an ethnic minority/disabled/elderly/any other protected characteristic. Even the raising of an ET would cost us far more than the payment for the work this FL didn't do on the project, so we (may) have decided to write the money off.
    Originally posted by jobbingmusician
    In this situation there could be no concern about ET as the contractor is, by definition, not an employee.
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 5th Oct 17, 12:03 AM
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    jobbingmusician
    In this situation there could be no concern about ET as the contractor is, by definition, not an employee.
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Whilst this is true, non-employees can still cause chaos by threatening an ET and claiming they are an employee. Defending this still wastes time and energy. Been there, got the t-shirt (and of course had the ET thrown out of court. It still cost management time though....)
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 9th Oct 17, 9:41 PM
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    theoretica
    You can find out quite a bit about charity finances from their records on the Charity Commission website. Not usually down to individual invoices, but if this was a big piece of work for them it may be identifiable from their accounts. However, you will have to wait quite a while after the end of their accounting year for their report to be made. But you might find it interesting to look at past years accounts.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
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