This policy sets out the broad principles for voluntary involvement in Power2Inspire (the Charity). It is of relevance to all within the Charity, including volunteers, staff, members, and those elected or appointed to positions of responsibility. This policy is endorsed by the trustees and will be reviewed regularly (as determined by the trustees) to ensure that it remains appropriate to the Charity’s needs and its volunteers.

The Charity acknowledges that volunteers contribute in many ways, that their contribution is unique and that volunteering can benefit users of services, staff, local communities and the volunteers themselves. The Charity values the contribution made by volunteers and is committed to involving volunteers in appropriate positions and in ways which are encouraging, supportive and which develop volunteering.

Volunteers are people who, unpaid and of their own free will, contribute their time, energy and skills to benefit the community.

Statement of values and principles
Volunteering is a legitimate and crucial activity that is supported and encouraged by the Charity. The role of volunteers complements but does not replace the role of paid staff.

Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that paid staff are clear about the role of volunteers, and to foster good working relationships between paid staff and volunteers.

No enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, can be imposed on volunteers to attend, give or be set a minimum amount of time to carry out the tasks involved in their voluntary activity. Likewise, the Charity cannot be compelled to provide either regular tasks, payment or other benefit for any activity undertaken by the volunteer.

Volunteer Co-ordination
Volunteers will, if relevant to their role, have a nominated member of staff or volunteer to offer guidance and advice to help the volunteer carry out tasks effectively.

The nominated post holder with overall responsibility for the development of voluntary activities within the Charity will be a Trustee – currently this is Tom Burgess. This person is responsible for ensuring senior management puts in place and maintains the appropriate procedures for managing the Charity’s volunteers and for their welfare.

Recruitment & Selection
The Charity is committed to equal opportunities and believes that volunteering should be open to all regardless of disability, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs or offending background that does not create a risk to vulnerable groups including children. The acceptance of volunteer assistance for a particular role is made on merit, the sole selection criterion being the individual’s suitability to carry out agreed tasks. Information about the volunteer not relevant to the performance of the volunteering tasks concerned will be disregarded by the Charity in terms of recruitment and selection.

All volunteers may be asked for up to two references and to attend an informal interview. If the volunteer will be carrying out activities with vulnerable groups (children and/or adults) there may be other safety recruitment procedures carried out including asking a volunteer to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check. More detailed information will be made available specific to legislative requirements and to the particular volunteer position.

Volunteers will have a clear and concise role or task description, which will be subsequently reviewed annually (or at such times the board of trustees deems appropriate). The role or task description will be prepared in conjunction with the volunteer and the Nominated Person or appropriate staff member.

New volunteers will be provided with induction into the Charity, appropriate to their role. Volunteers will be properly briefed about the activities to be undertaken and given all the necessary information and equipment to enable them to perform with confidence.

Training & Development
Volunteers will be made aware of and have access to all the Charity’s relevant policies, including those relating to volunteering, health and safety, safeguarding vulnerable groups and equal opportunities. Volunteers must agree to the Charity’s Code of Conduct (in a manner established by the Nominated Person) before undertaking any activities or tasks.

The development of training and support for volunteers is a high priority for the Charity to equip volunteers with the necessary information and skills to carry out their tasks. It will be the responsibility of the Nominated Person to see that this training is provided. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to attend relevant training.

Training in the supervision of volunteers will be provided for all those who have direct responsibility for volunteers.

Support, Supervision and Recognition
Volunteers will, if appropriate, have a named person to whom they can take their volunteering concerns and seek guidance and support, but if none is given then it will be the Nominated Person.

Volunteers, as appropriate to their role, will have access to regular support and supervision. This will enable both the volunteer and the supervisor to identify, monitor and evaluate the volunteer’s involvement, recognise achievements and identify individual training needs, including that relevant to their particular volunteering role and to their wider personal development. The frequency, duration and format of these sessions will be negotiated between the volunteer and the designated officer referred to above.

Volunteers can claim reasonable out of pocket expenses, subject to the production of receipts as evidence of the expenditure. What can be reclaimed from the Charity and the calculation of expenses will be explained to the volunteer before they start any activity likely to give rise to expenses.

It is the responsibility of the Nominated Person to ensure senior staff make volunteers aware of the procedure for the reimbursement of expenses and that the rules, whether for volunteers or employed staff, are equitable and fairly applied.

The Charity’s liability insurance policies include the activities of volunteers and liability towards them, subject to the volunteer complying with any conditions specified therein. In some circumstances the Charity may request the volunteer insure themselves (e.g. for driving) and reimburse any reasonable cost incurred by the volunteer (over and above that they would otherwise have incurred).

The Charity does not insure volunteers’ personal possessions against loss or damage.

The Charity will advise the volunteer on its confidentiality policy and procedures, where relevant. This includes those relating to personal information held by the Charity relating to the volunteer. The volunteer will be deemed to have agreed to abide by that policy by agreeing to the Code of Conduct.

Rights and Responsibilities
The Charity recognises the rights of volunteers to:
• know what is (and what is not) expected of them
• have adequate support in their volunteering
• receive appreciation
• volunteer in a safe environment
• be insured in an appropriate and relevant manner for the tasks and/or activities undertaken
• know their rights and responsibilities if something goes wrong
• receive relevant out-of-pocket expenses
• receive appropriate training
• be free from discrimination
• be offered the opportunity for personal development

The Charity expects volunteers to:
• be reliable
• be honest
• respect confidentiality
• make the most of training and support opportunities
• carry out tasks in a way that reflects the Vision and Mission of the Charity
• carry out tasks within agreed guidelines
• respect the work of the Charity and not bring it into disrepute
• comply with the Charity’s policies.

Settling Differences
The Charity aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. The Charity seeks to ensure that volunteers’ views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly and aim for a positive and amicable solution based on the Charity’s guidelines for settling differences.

The Charity’s CEO (or the Nominated Person if more appropriate) is responsible for handling problems regarding volunteer complaints and these should be referred to him/her. In the event of a problem, all relevant facts should be obtained as quickly as possible. Support will be provided by the Charity to the volunteer while it endeavours to resolve the problem in an informal manner.

If an informal resolution proves impossible, the matter may be referred to the Nominated Person, the board of trustees or a committee selected by the trustees for this single purpose (the panel), whichever is the most appropriate forum, to investigate the complaint by or against the volunteer. The panel will determine how the complaint will be dealt with, including but not limited to setting out whether there needs to be a hearing, whether the volunteer may have representation at that hearing and if the volunteer may question staff, other volunteers or bring members of the public to give evidence to the panel.

If a volunteer’s behaviour is repeatedly or seriously unacceptable, and/or in serious breach of Code of Conduct and/or any of the Charity’s policies, the panel has the right, subject to the rights of “natural justice”

  • to suspend the volunteer for a time the panel deems appropriate
  • to issue a verbal, written or final warning to the volunteer
  • to change the volunteer’s role or require them to accept training as a precondition of remaining in the role
  • to require the volunteer make recompense to the Charity if the actions of the volunteer have caused the Charity financial loss
  • to require the volunteer leaves the Charity
  • to prohibit any further attendance by the volunteer at any Power2inspire event (including those hosted, organised, co-hosted, or promoted by the Charity).

Date adopted: 26 September 2018