Ruby’s Fund recognises the significant and valuable role that volunteers have in implementing and enhancing our services and believe that volunteering should be a worthwhile and rewarding experience.
We intend to encourage, develop and support volunteer involvement in our work. For the purpose of this policy, a volunteer is a person who does voluntary work on our behalf, with voluntary work defined as: “any activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to close relatives…. (Helping out Survey volunteering England, 2007).
Within Ruby’s Fund, volunteers serve on our management committee and help with the delivery of our services. Volunteers undertake supplementary and supportive tasks, complementing and not replacing the work of paid staff. Ruby’s Fund believes that our relationship with our volunteers is one of mutual responsibility and commitment within which Ruby’s Fund and our volunteers both have rights and responsibilities.
We hope that volunteers will enjoy their involvement and gain from it in terms of their own personal objectives. We expect staff at all levels to work positively with our volunteers and, where appropriate, actively seek to involve them in their work, complying with the procedures detailed below.
Purpose and Advantages of adopting a Volunteer Policy
This policy presents Ruby’s Fund with a framework of best practice and procedures, which
we will follow when recruiting, selecting, managing and supporting volunteers. The policy will:
- recognise the respective roles, rights and responsibilities of volunteers and Ruby’s
- establish clear principles for the involvement of
- give a framework for recruiting and supporting volunteers including people from under-represented groups.
- commit Ruby’s Fund to identify and adequately meet the financial and personnel costs of the volunteer programme and to support volunteering through funding and other forms of help.
- recognise the contribution all its volunteers make in a range of
In involving volunteers, we will be guided by the following principles of good practice:
- Volunteers receive specific role descriptions and volunteer agreements, ensuring they have clear expectations of their role.
- Volunteers have a named person as their main point of contact and are provided with regular supervision to consider progress and discuss any concerns.
- Initial and ongoing training and support will be offered to
- We ensure that volunteers feel part of the organisational structure by enabling them to contribute to our on-going development by giving them a voice and encouraging their input.
- Information given to volunteers, and forms they are asked to complete, are clear and easy to understand.
- Volunteers are reimbursed for out-of-pocket
- Within resources currently available, Ruby’s Fund will try to meet additional equipment or support needs to enable disabled people to participate fully as a
- We aim to identify and solve problems at the earliest possible stage; procedures are in place to deal with complaints either by or about volunteers.
- We do not regard volunteers as unpaid employees and do not expect volunteers to undertake inappropriate tasks or roles.
- All staff and volunteers are expected and required to follow our Equal Opportunities Policy and treat each other and service users with respect and fairness.
- Our Health and Safety Policy cover volunteers, and we take care not to expose volunteers to risks to their health and safety, and that of others.
- There is no formal/legal agreement between Ruby’s Fund and its volunteers. When volunteers give their time for a given number of hours, this is entirely at their
- We will update our guidance in line with relevant changes in either law or in the scope of volunteer roles.
Identifying Volunteering Opportunities
If a member of staff identifies a new voluntary opportunity, they should, discuss the proposal and its implications, in terms of resources and support, with their line manager. A Volunteer Role Description will then be drawn up by the member of staff, who will be the main contact for the new role (named supervisor) with support from the Volunteer Manager.
Volunteer Role Description
Volunteer role descriptions ensure volunteers are clear as to what is required and expected of them and will minimally include:
- Title of volunteer role
- Purpose and responsibilities of the
- Times/days and location of volunteering
- Skills/experience that are required/desired/essential.
- Whether the role is anticipated to be short term or
Recruitment & Selection
The recruitment process for volunteers will help establish whether potential volunteers and
Ruby’s Fund meet each other’s interests and needs. The process will include an application form, an informal interview, taking up of references, and will be in line with Ruby’s Fund’s Safer Recruitment DBS Policy, Equality and Diversity Policy and current legislation.
We will use a variety of approaches to ensure we recruit volunteers that are representative of the community and the people who use our services.
The selection process for volunteers interested in volunteering for Ruby’s Fund could include:
- attending a Ruby’s Fund activity session where they will learn about Ruby’s Fund and be given specific information on the volunteer role(s).
- an interview with the named supervisor with support if necessary, from the Volunteer
References will be accepted from suitably qualified people, who do not need to have been former employers, but should not be close relatives. Two references are required, and no volunteer will commence a placement until both are received and are satisfactory. Any prospective volunteer, for whom this may prove a difficulty, should seek advice from the Volunteer Manager.
Where a volunteer role requires a volunteer to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, if the volunteer has completed one within the previous three calendar months, we will not ask them to complete a further check but will request to see the original DBS certificate. We reserve the right to request a further DBS check based on the applicant’s criminal record or other relevant information which may have changed since its issue. Having a criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to anyone who applies to be involved with our work and only relevant convictions will be taken into account when considering a prospective volunteer’s application. Please see the ‘Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy’ which further explains how we use this information. It should be noted that some volunteer roles are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore all convictions, spent or otherwise, must be declared.
At any point in the selection process, if a potential volunteer is considered unsuitable for a role, Ruby’s Fund will explain their reasons to that volunteer and either decline their application or suggest an alternative role.
All volunteers will receive an induction, determined by the Volunteer Manager and the named supervisor, which will be in keeping with the duration and nature of the volunteering activity.
All volunteers will have a named supervisor who shall be responsible for:
- Providing the volunteer with a written description of the volunteering role outlining specific and general tasks, responsibilities and who they will report to.
- Ensuring that volunteers are aware of their agreed responsibilities with regards to confidentiality. Volunteers are bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as paid staff.
- Organising a planned induction to the organisation, ensuring volunteers are aware of the Volunteer Information File which contains policies, procedures, forms and other useful information.
- Ensuring volunteers have adequate workspace, equipment and services necessary to perform their tasks effectively and safely.
- Arranging a short, trial period during which volunteers will receive training, support and feedback, including the chance for them to relay their views and At the end of the trial, if it is decided that the volunteer is not best suited to the needs of Ruby’s Fund an alternative voluntary role may be suggested and support will be given to find this. It is hoped that, if a volunteer considers a volunteer role does not fulfill their requirements, they feel able to withdraw their help without fear of embarrassment.
- Making up and maintaining a confidential file for the volunteer. The file will be held in a secure manner in compliance with the GDPR 2018. The file should contain the application form, references, copy of the DBS certificate, the volunteer agreement, induction record, supervision record, training record and emergency contact details.
- Providing on-going supervision and support including one-to-one meetings on a regular basis, to identify areas for development, or to discuss any issues. A record of these discussions will be held as part of the individual volunteer’s Volunteers can have access to their records at any time.
Volunteer Agreement & Code of Conduct
All volunteers will sign a Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct, which outline the voluntary arrangement between the volunteer and Ruby’s Fund and the way in which both parties will conduct their business. It will also be signed by the designated Ruby’s Fund supervisor the for the volunteer. It is binding in honour only and is not intended to be a legally binding contract of employment. This agreement is intended to be flexible enough to take account of changes in a volunteer’s circumstances or in the requirements of Ruby’s Fund.
Ruby’s Fund believes that no one should be at a financial disadvantage, through volunteering their time on a freely chosen basis, and is committed to meet, within resources available, reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by our volunteers. These will include:
- Travel between home and place of volunteering Ruby’s Fund will cover your mileage at a rate of 45p per mile (or other travel expenses) up to a maximum of £25 per return trip. If traveling by public transport, the ticket must be retained, by way of a receipt. If the volunteer is using his/her own transport, a record of all mileage must be kept.
- Volunteers, claiming mileage, must notify their motor insurance company that they are performing a voluntary role and insure their vehicle for ‘business use’ (which should not incur any additional cost).
- Car parking charges – the parking ticket must be retained, by way of
- If volunteering longer than five hours in any one period, the volunteer is eligible to a
- Other ‘reasonable’ expenses should be discussed in advance with your named supervisor and receipts should be provided.
- Claims for expenses should be made on a Ruby’s Fund Volunteer Expenses Claim form and will be paid retrospectively.
In any organisation, problems can sometimes occur and whilst it is hoped that this will not be the case, if there are any concerns volunteers should in the first instance speak to either their named supervisor or the Volunteer Manager who will try and resolve the matter informally. If the matter remains unresolved, reference will be made to the Problem Solving Procedure for volunteers, a copy of which is in the Volunteer Information File.
All complaints will be dealt with within 10 working days and treated in a confidential manner.
Volunteers will not be subject to Ruby’s Fund disciplinary procedures nor have access to Ruby’s Fund grievance procedures, both of which are for employees only.
If there are concerns about the conduct or performance of a volunteer, their supervisor should investigate to find out what is happening. This includes talking with the volunteer concerned. If conduct or performance is unsatisfactory, the volunteer should be informed that s/he will be offered ‘special guidance’ for a period. The object of ‘special guidance’ will be to encourage improvement. If a volunteer does not meet our standards of performance or the steps we have taken to encourage them to improve do not work, the volunteer will be offered more suitable voluntary activities. If behaviour, which in Ruby’s Fund’s view, is equivalent to gross misconduct has occurred, then the volunteer activity will be terminated immediately.
Although both Ruby’s Fund and a volunteer can end their volunteering arrangement at any
time and without any notice, unless there is an emergency or misconduct, Ruby’s Fund will aim to give a volunteer at least two weeks’ notice, hoping that they will offer the same to us.
The decision to ask a volunteer to leave will be a last resort. It might not be possible to keep a volunteer, for reasons nothing to do with the person’s performance, due to, for example, a project ending. It may be necessary ask a volunteer to leave due to, for example, poor performance, misconduct, attendance irregularities, DBS issues or criminal convictions. Every effort will be made to ensure that the reasons for ending an involvement are clarified, recorded and shared with the volunteer.
Where a specific volunteer role within Ruby’s Fund has proved not to be suitable for a particular person, the Volunteer Manager will assist them to explore other options. At the end of a volunteer’s time with Ruby’s Fund their views and experiences will be captured in an exit questionnaire. This will gather information on the following areas:
- Their “highs and lows” whilst volunteering with
- Their views on the training and support they were offered or received during their
- Feedback on how the volunteer
If asked, either during a volunteer’s time with us or when it ends, we will supply a reference,
based on a volunteer’s service with Ruby’s Fund, indicating the skills and knowledge acquired as well as personal qualities observed.
Volunteers are covered by Ruby’s Fund Employers and Public liability insurance policies.
Ruby’s Fund is responsible for the actions of its volunteers in the course of their duties and will take all reasonable precautions to prevent or minimise accident, injury, loss or damage.
Where volunteers have holidays or other commitments which mean that they cannot undertake their normal volunteering, they should advise their supervisor to ensure that alternative arrangements can be made. If volunteers require a longer break from their volunteering, they should discuss this with their supervisor. Ruby’s Fund will endeavour to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the needs of volunteers.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:
Contact Lead: Alison Parr. Policy reviewed: 4th March 2022. Policy review date: March 2023.