WHAT IS A VOLUNTEER?
“…An important expression of citizenship and essential to democracy. It is the commitment of time and energy for the benefit of society and the community and can take many forms. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain...” The Volunteering Code of Practice
HOPE is geared at volunteers of all ages.
OUR VOLUNTEERING VALUES INVOLVE
- Choice - People must be free to choose to volunteer; no one will be forced to volunteer. Volunteers are also free to choose not to volunteer.
- Diversity - Volunteering is open to all, regardless of background, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, faith or other factors.
- Reciprocity - In return for giving their time, energy and skills, volunteers expect to gain something – this could include: a sense of worthwhile achievement; useful skills; experience and contacts; sociability and fun; inclusion in the life of the organisation.
- Recognition - We want to recognise volunteers’ contribution our organisation to the community, to the social economy and to wider social objectives.
OUR RECRUITMENT PROCESS
- All volunteers will complete a "Volunteer Enquiry Form".
- The form will also ask volunteers to disclose any ‘unspent’ convictions under the requirements of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- A volunteer may need to have a Disclosure and Barring Check (DBS) check before they can start volunteering. The most likely reason for needing a DBS check is that the volunteer will have contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults.
- Having a criminal record will not be a bar to volunteering unless the coordinator/trustees/management committee of our organisation thinks that a conviction means that the applicant is unsuitable. Volunteers should be made aware that the DBS process make take some time to complete. If you have already completed an online DBS check then following national policy we will ask you for your unique number, this allows us to register an interest in you as a volunteer and confirm your current status to volunteer. We will discuss this process with you and if no disclosures are relevant then we will proceed with recruitment. If there are disclosures that need to be discussed then we will arrange and appointment to do this. Outcome will depend on disclosure and organisation risk management of disclossure.
All volunteers will receive an induction that will include:
- A full explanation of their role and tasks and the expectations of the organisation;
- An introduction to the team which will include leaders, other volunteers and members of the organisation;
- A clear introduction to where they will be based when volunteering and who to go to if they need help or support. An introduction to the building, including any health and safety information relevant to the role. This should include fire safety and personal safety e.g. where to store personal items, toilets and general building layout.
Additional training and induction for each role will be identified by the coordinator, this may include a risk assessment.
WHAT IF THINGS GO WRONG DURING HOPE?
Volunteers, although valued by our organisation, are not employees and have no contractual obligation to the organisation. If an issue arises the coordinator(s) will speak and listen to the volunteer, this may lead to agreements about changes in behaviour or expectations which will be monitored and reviewed.
If the coordinator(s) or the volunteer feel that there is no resolution to the issues then the volunteer will be asked to leave.
If a serious issue such as theft, violence or a safeguarding issue arises the volunteer will not be given time to change behaviour but asked to leave immediately as they are no longer supporting the aims and core values of the organisation.
CAN I REQUEST A REFERENCE?
Our organisation values and respects the motivation and skills of our volunteers and will be happy to provide a reference.
HEALTH & SAFETY
We have a duty to look after the safety and well-being of our volunteers.
This means we will make sure that appropriate precautions are taken to control and manage any significant risks, including having support sessions, training and information about any relevant health & safety policies and procedures.
Like employees, volunteers must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the health and safety of others who may be affected by what they do, or omit to do, while volunteering. Volunteers must also co-operate with our organisation in carrying out any duty or complying with any requirement imposed by relevant health and safety laws.
Our Organisation will indemnify (this means "cover") its volunteers against claims made against them for injury or damage as long as the volunteer:
- Acted in good faith and honestly believed that they were acting within their power or duty as our volunteer and;
- Lets the Coordinator or committe know immediately about any incident which could lead to a claim.
CONFIDENTIALITY & DATA PROTECTION
During induction all volunteers will be made aware of their rights under Data Protection law and the importance of respecting the confidential nature of our business, particularly in the case of sensitive information about children, young people or vulnerable adults that volunteers may have access to.
Volunteers must be made aware that any information they produce during their time volunteering may be made available to the public, if asked, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Volunteers must not have access to personal information for colleagues, children, young people or vulnerable adults unless it is deemed necessary by the coordinator, for example in case of a medical condition that staff and volunteers should be aware of such as diabetes or epilepsy.
CAN VOLUNTEERING AFFECT MY BENEFIT CLAIMS?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) states that: "You can volunteer for as many hours as you want, as long as you still meet the conditions to get your benefit or tax credit."
As legislation varies over time it is always best for volunteers to check the latest information either with their benefits advisor or on the website www.dwp.gov.uk - it is the volunteer’s responsibility to do this.
Our organisation asks that volunteers do not smoke whilst volunteering so when entering or leaving the building please do not smoke.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY
Volunteers should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol whilst volunteering within our organisation, on its grounds or supporting our activities.