St Paul’s Community Development Trust recognises that volunteers have a positive contribution to make to the work of the Trust and its various activities. It aims to encourage volunteers’ involvement in all aspects of its work, as a means of empowering and supporting the local community. As the Trust has limited resources, priority will be given to applications from within the local area (B11, B12 and B13 postcodes). We may be able to offer a placement to applicants from outside the postcode neighbourhoods if they have a particular area of expertise that would benefit our clients and our work. Special consideration will also be given to people from disadvantaged groups.
Areas of work where volunteers may be helpful have been identified by each Department of the Trust. Volunteers will not replace paid staff. Opportunities will be advertised locally and through other partner agencies as appropriate.
Applications from outside of the catchment area who meet the criteria (as above), will be considered by a panel. The decision will be recorded and kept on file for a period of six months.
The Trust has a Volunteer Co-ordinator who is responsible for interviewing and allocating placements to volunteers. Anyone wishing to volunteer needs first to complete a Volunteer Application Form. Volunteers will need to supply references, one of which should be from a recent employer, training provider, college, school, established organisations (including voluntary) or professional person. Volunteers must also agree to an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Check, which must be satisfactory to the Trust. No volunteer can be allowed to start until satisfactory references have been received. Volunteers should never be placed in an unsupervised situation at any time.
At Start of Placement
• volunteers will be given induction into the work of the Trust and their particular department
• they will be allocated a Supervisor who will have regular meetings to ensure adequate support, and periodical reviews
• the Supervisor will discuss the relevant description of their role with the volunteer, so that they have a clear picture of their tasks
• other paid staff will be made aware of the volunteer’s role
• volunteers will be required to wear an ID badge which should be returned at the end of their placement
• volunteers will be given encouragement, advice and support to take up appropriate training opportunities
• a record of every volunteer’s achievements will be kept and references will be supplied in accordance with St Paul’s Policy and Procedures. Personal information will be treated as confidential
Terms and Conditions
• volunteers are required to follow the Trust’s policies and procedures. It is the responsibility of both the volunteer and the Supervisor to ensure that there is clear understanding of these policies and their means of implementation
• volunteers are asked to attend at the agreed times, and to inform the Volunteer Co-ordinator if unable to attend for any reason
• volunteers who wish to finish their placement should discuss this with their Supervisor and Volunteer Co-ordinator, and agree a finishing date
• volunteers will be covered by adequate insurance whilst on placement with the Trust, but this does not include insurance for personal belongings
• all volunteers need to complete a record of their hours on placement
• childcare for volunteers cannot usually be arranged
• volunteers will be reimbursed their actual expenses incurred in carrying out voluntary duties for the Trust, subject to the agreement of the Volunteer Co-ordinator and on production of a receipt or bus ticket. All expenses must be agreed in advance. Travel expenses incurred must be agreed beforehand and will only be payable to cover the cheapest means available. Car mileage is not payable except in unusual circumstances
Problem Solving Procedures
St Paul’s Trust has a problem solving procedure which aims to create consistency, and demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to volunteering good practice.
While employees have grievance and disciplinary policies, volunteers are not covered by employment or equal opportunities legislation. In fact, volunteers only have the same legal rights as the general public (e.g. Health and Safety and Data Protection).
The following procedures aim to ensure that volunteers are treated fairly and are not discriminated against.
The Trust will aim to deal with complaints openly, fairly and quickly in order to:
• protect volunteers
• minimise any disruption to staff, service users and other volunteers
• demonstrate that the Trust respects its volunteers
• protect the reputation of the Trust
It is the responsibility of all concerned in these procedures to maintain confidentiality at all times.
If a volunteer has a complaint
This part of the problem solving procedure gives the volunteer the right to complain if they feel they have been unfairly treated.
Stage 1 – Verbal complaint
Initial complaints, whether against a member of staff, the organisation or another volunteer, should be discussed in a meeting between the volunteer and their Supervisor and the Volunteer Co-ordinator. During this meeting the volunteer can be accompanied by a nominated person of their choice. If the complaint is about the volunteer’s Supervisor, then the matter should be referred to another Manager. If the issue is still not resolved the volunteer should then move on to the Trust’s Complaints Procedures (see Policy and Procedures Manual D3 – 1).
If someone complains about a volunteer
This part of the problem solving procedure gives the volunteer the right to be told details regarding the nature of the complaint and the right to state their case.
Stage 1 – Verbal recorded discussion
Sometimes minor issues can arise during the course of volunteering, such as a volunteer not fitting into the team as well as was expected; not meeting the required standards when undertaking tasks; or being unreliable.
Such issues are usually detected during regular supervisions, and may be quite easy for the Supervisor to resolve without resorting to formal procedures.
Stage 2 – Review
There could be external factors influencing the volunteer’s ability to carry out tasks, their behaviour or their attitude. The supervisor will identify goals that will help the volunteer to fulfil their role, offering extra support and supervision where necessary. The situation will be reviewed by the Supervisor and the Volunteer Co-ordinator, within one month. If there is insufficient improvement, the supervisor will make a written report to the Head of Department and Volunteer Co-ordinator who will decide whether to adopt a more formal approach, by issuing a written warning.
If the complaint was raised by someone else, the Trust will keep them informed of the measures taken to rectify the situation.
Stage 3 – Written warning
If the issue hasn’t been resolved by the verbal discussion or the review, then the Head of Department in consultation with the Volunteer Co-ordinator can issue the volunteer with a written warning outlining the complaint. The Head of Department and Volunteer Co-ordinator will arrange a meeting within five working days of the written warning. The volunteer will have the right to state their case at this meeting and be accompanied by a person of their choice. The Supervisor/ Volunteer Co-ordinator will be expected to attend this meeting.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, further objectives could be set, and help offered. If further objectives are set, the process will then revert to Stage 2 again.
The Head of Department and Volunteer Co-ordinator may decide to end the placement of the volunteer.
There are some occasions on which volunteers can be suspended immediately while an investigation is carried out. These include, but are not limited to, acts that constitute gross misconduct, e.g. theft; assault; act of violence; malicious damage; deliberate falsification of documents; harassment or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The decision to put a placement on hold will be taken jointly between the Supervisor Head of Department and Volunteer Co-ordinator. A full investigation will be carried out and the volunteer will be notified in writing of the outcome. The possible outcomes are:
a) The volunteer can resume their placement
b) The volunteer placement is ended
Related Policies: Equality and Diversity Policy, Staff Development and Training.
Amended January 2011