Volunteer Policy

 Volunteer Policy 

Introduction 

This volunteer policy sets out the principles and practice by which we involve volunteers and is relevant to the management committee, freelancers/contractors, volunteers, and members within the organisation. It aims to create a common understanding and to clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure the highest standards are maintained in relation to the management of volunteers. 

Our commitments 

We recognise volunteers as an integral part of the organisation. Their contribution supports our mission and strategic aims and complements the role of paid freelancers and contractors. We aim to encourage and support volunteer involvement to ensure that volunteering benefits the organisation, its service users/members, and the volunteers themselves. 

Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that paid freelancers/contractors are clear about the role of volunteers and to foster good working relationships between paid freelancers/contractors and volunteers. Volunteers will not be used to replace paid positions. 

We are committed to offering a flexible range of opportunities and to encouraging a diversity of people to volunteer with us including those from under-represented groups. 

We recognise that there are costs associated with volunteer involvement and, subject to funding, will seek to ensure adequate financial and staffing resources are available for the development and support of volunteering. 

We recognise that people have a right to participate in the life of their communities through volunteering and can contribute in many ways. We recognise our responsibility to organise volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of the volunteer’s time is best used to the mutual advantage of all concerned. 

What is a volunteer? 

Volunteers are individuals who undertake activity on behalf of our organisation, unpaid and of their own free choice. 

In accordance with legislation we define volunteering as activity which: 

• is undertaken freely, by choice 

• is undertaken to be of public/ community benefit 

• is not undertaken for financial gain 

Work experience placements and internships are not the same as volunteering. 

Volunteers may be involved on a one – off, short term or on a longer term, regular basis. They may be involved: 

• in the direct delivery of our services in community venues or public spaces 

• on our management committee with responsibility for governance of the organisation 

• in community engagement to raise awareness of our work 

• in one off events and promotional activities 

Volunteers are valued for: 

• Bringing additional and diverse and new skills and perspectives to the organisations 

• Enabling us to be more responsive and flexible in our approach 

• Championing our cause within the wider community 

• Enhancing the quality of our work and of service user/member experience 

• Promoting the wellbeing of service users/members, freelancers/contractors, local communities and themselves 

Roles and responsibilities 

A designated person in a paid position (Project Manager) has responsibility for the development, management and co-ordination of voluntary activity within the organisation, including volunteering policies and procedures and the welfare of volunteers. The responsibilities for volunteers will be explicitly referred to in their volunteer role description. The Project Manager is the designated and named person for guidance, support and supervision for all volunteers. 

The volunteer role is based on trust and mutual understanding. There is no enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, for the volunteer to attend or to undertake particular tasks, or for the organisation to provide continuing opportunities for voluntary involvement, provision of training, or benefits. However, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what the organisation expects of volunteers and what volunteers expect of the organisation. 

The organisation expects volunteers: 

To be reliable and honest 

To uphold the organisation’s values and comply with organisational policies 

To make the most of opportunities given, e.g. for training, mentoring etc. 

To contribute positively to the aims of the organisation and avoid bringing the organisation into disrepute 

To carry out tasks within agreed guidelines 

Volunteers can expect: 

To have clear information about what is and is not expected of them 

To receive adequate support and training relevant to role 

To be insured and to volunteer in a safe environment 

To be treated with respect and in a non-discriminatory manner 

To receive out of pocket expenses in accordance with the Expenses Policy 

To have opportunities for personal development 

To be recognised and appreciated 

To be able to say ‘no’ to anything which they consider to be unrealistic or unreasonable 

To be advised of protocols and procedures related to activity delivery 

Recruitment and selection 

Equal opportunities principles will be adhered to in recruiting volunteers. Opportunities will be widely promoted in both English and in Welsh. 

Positive action to target recruitment may be used where appropriate. Online application is encouraged but non-digital methods of application are also available. 

Information will be made available to those enquiring about volunteering, including written role descriptions which set out the nature and purpose of the volunteering role. A risk assessment will be undertaken on all volunteer roles and identified risks and steps to mitigate risks will be shared with the volunteer. 

Recruitment will usually involve an informal interview, application form and the taking of references; the process will be defined and consistent for any given role. 

Where applicants are not able to be placed in their preferred role, they will be provided with feedback and given the opportunity to discuss alternative volunteering roles or signposted to the local volunteer centre. 

All volunteers will be required to have a full DBS disclosure check which will be arranged by the organisation. DBS disclosures are dealt with in the strictest confidence. A criminal record is not necessarily a bar to volunteering. 

Induction and training 

Volunteers will be given induction and training appropriate to the specific tasks to be undertaken. 

Support and supervision 

Volunteers will be offered support and supervision as appropriate and this is discussed during induction. Arrangements vary according to the volunteer and the role undertaken, and may include telephone support, group meetings or one to one review. 

Recognition 

Volunteers will be given the opportunity, where relevant, to share their views and opinions with the organisation via Project Manager, volunteer team meetings, the Annual General Meeting, evaluation and/or volunteering surveys. Formal recognition of the contribution of volunteers is expressed through annual reports, website articles, and social media. 

Dealing with problems 

The organisation aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. It seeks to ensure that volunteers’ views are heard, noted, and acted upon promptly. 

We will attempt to deal with any problems informally and at the earliest opportunity. All volunteers will have a named person to whom they can turn in the case of any difficulty. 

Where informal resolution is not possible, the organisations Grievance and Complaints Procedure and Disciplinary Procedure will be adhered to. 

Volunteers will be made aware of how to access and/or use the organisation’s Grievance and Complaints Procedure, as well as the Disciplinary Procedure. They will also be made aware of how inappropriate behaviour by volunteers will be addressed by the organisation. 

Expenses 

We endeavour to ensure that Volunteers receive out-of-pocket expenses incurred by their volunteering. Volunteer expenses are subject to funding and can claimed in accordance with our Expenses Policy. 

Moving on 

When volunteers move on from volunteering with us, they will be asked to provide feedback on the volunteering experience by way of an exit questionnaire. They will also be given the opportunity to discuss their responses to the questionnaire more fully. 

Volunteers who have remained with the organisation for at least 3 months will have the right to request a reference. Volunteers will be supported to move on to other options. 

Other relevant documents 

Induction record 

Volunteer Agreement 

Volunteer Application form 

Volunteer Reference Request Form 

Expenses Policy 

Confidentiality Statement 

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure 

Complaints Policy 

GDPR Statement 

Safeguarding Adults Policy 

Health and Safety Policy 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy