Reviewed May 2012
This is a general Volunteer Policy for Re-gain. Due to the diverse nature of mental health work, projects may be required to have their own policies which are more specific to the particular service but is guided by the principles of this policy.
The aim of Re-Gain is to listen, support and empower individuals experiencing emotional distress. Re-Gain is committed to involving a diverse range of local people in our work in both formal volunteering and community activity. We do this because we believe that:-
i, It is vital to support community networks and the individuals within them.
ii, By utilising the skills, knowledge and experience of local people better services are provided.
iii, As volunteers, local people can bring a different perspective to that of professionals which is valuable in developing our work.
iv, People of all ages and cultures care about and want the opportunity to contribute to making life a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience for everyone.
v, We value the resourcefulness of volunteers as without their input we would be able to achieve only a small percentage of what we currently undertake.
A Re-Gain volunteer is defined as someone who commits time and energy for the benefit of Re-Gains's operations. They do so freely, through personal choice and without expectation of financial reward, except for payment of actual out of pocket expenses.
Volunteers help with the delivery of our services and are active in the planning of our services.
Re-Gain believes that our relationship with volunteers is one of mutual responsibility and while there is no formal agreement or contract both Re-Gain and the volunteers have rights and responsibilities as detailed in this policy. We aim to ensure that volunteers enjoy their involvement with us and gain from it in terms of their own personal objectives.
Purpose of the policy
Re-Gain recognises the importance of volunteering to its work. We aim to support our volunteers so that they and Re-Gain benefit from volunteer's contributions as much as possible.
The volunteer policy sets out to:-
i, Reflect the purpose, value and standards of Re-Gain and its involvement of volunteers.
ii, Recognise the respective roles, rights and responsibilities of volunteers in Re-Gain.
iii, Confirm Re-Gain's commitment to involving volunteers in its work.
iv, Establish clear principles for the involvement of volunteers.
Statement of good practice
i, Tasks will be clearly defined so that all concerned with volunteers' activities are sure of their respective roles and responsibilities.
ii, Records will be kept of work done by volunteers as a basis for monitoring and volunteers will have access to their records.
iii, Re-Gain Equal Opportunity Policy will be adhered to in all areas involving volunteers.
iv, Existing and future policies will be checked as to how they affect volunteers.
v, A mechanism will be established by which the policy and procedures on volunteers can be monitored and reviewed regularly.
Recruitment and Selection
i, Re-Gain's equal opportunities policy will be adhered to when recruiting and selecting volunteers.
ii, Volunteer opportunities will be made known in a way that considers diversity and accessibility to what we offer.
iii, Volunteers will be required to complete an application/registration form which will be provided and kept by the relevant Manager.
iv, Volunteers will usually be interviewed by at least two people before their volunteering is confirmed.
v, Volunteers will be police checked if appropriate prior to work commencement - where children or vulnerable adults are involved volunteers will be given an enhanced police check in line with legislation.
vi, All prospective volunteers will be interviewed to find out what they would like to achieve through their volunteer placement.
vii, We will ensure that procedures are in place to cover good practice requirements for volunteers selected to work with vulnerable people.
viii, Volunteers will be provided with sufficient training to allow them to complete their work satisfactorily.
ix, It is our usual practice to obtain two written references, of which one should be from a present or previous employer if possible.
x, People who offer to volunteer will have their offers dealt with promptly and certainly within fourteen days of receipt.
xi, Volunteers will complete a probationary period as agreed at interview.
xii, Volunteers will be placed in activities which match their skills, knowledge and interests and, once placed they will be expected to work within Re-Gain's existing policies and procedures/
xiii, If a volunteer's work for the Re-Gain proves unsatisfactory, the supervisor will consider with the volunteer ways in which support may be given to improve performance. Should the measures prove to be ineffective the supervisor will report the matter to a director who will determine what further course of action to take. This may include asking the volunteer to undertake different work or as last result, termination of the voluntary work.
Support for Volunteers
i, All volunteers will be issued with a copy of Re-Gain's volunteer policy or where appropriate a more specific policy/procedure relating to a particular project see below.
ii, Re-Gain will provide an induction programme appropriate to the circumstances of the volunteer.
iii, The supervisor of the project will put a procedure in place to assess the progress of the volunteer placement and resolve any problems at an early stage, see below.
iv, Volunteers will not receive any payment for their services. Re-Gain will provide funding for volunteers' out of pocket expenses which are necessarily incurred in the course of their work, as stipulated by the individual project. Expenses may include travel costs, meal costs and communication costs as agreed by the project's Manager and in accordance with the Inland Revenue's rules. Volunteers will be given clear information about how to make a claim. Claims should be supported by receipts or other evidence unless there is good reason otherwise.
v, Re-Gain will ensure provision of appropriate insurance cover for volunteers whilst undertaking work for the organisation.
vi, Volunteers will be given information on legislation and other policies which may affect them, e.g. health and safety, equal opportunities and confidentiality. Volunteers will be expected to implement these policies in all aspects of their work.
vii, Volunteers who work with vulnerable adults will always do so under the supervision of paid Re-Gain staff who are appropriately qualified and experienced to work with these groups.
viii, All volunteers will be offered support and supervision on a regular basis, from a named person within the project to enable monitoring of work performance and practices.
ix, Volunteers will be made aware of who to contact in an emergency.
x, Where possible, all volunteers will be offered access to appropriate training to enable them to develop their capabilities and competence in relation to their volunteering role.
xi, All volunteers will receive any necessary relevant training in areas such as health and safety.
xii, Volunteers should not be involved in any situation where there would be an unacceptable level of risk. Re-Gain will ensure risk assessments are made as necessary to avoid this,
xiii, Opportunities will be provided to change volunteer responsibilities if desired by the volunteer and subject to project needs.
xiv, Volunteers are encouraged to express their views on matters concerning their work.
xv, Should a volunteer have a grievance in the course of their work, they should bring it to the attention of their supervisor. Should they remain dissatisfied they will have the right to present their grievance to a director, who will respond as he/she deems appropriate. This decision will be final.
Rights and responsibilities of volunteers
In engaging volunteers, Re-Gain recognises the rights of volunteers to:-
i, Know what is expected of them and to be given clear information.
A volunteer policy and a statement of intent (as appropriate to each project) will be given to volunteers.
This will include a brief outline of tasks to be performed, the name of the manager to whom the volunteer is directly responsible and copies of this and other policy statements of Re-Gain as appropriate.
ii, Have grievances dealt with promptly and professionally.
iii, Be shown recognition and appreciation both informally and at agreed reviews.
iv, Have safe working conditions.
v, Be insured.
vi, Know what their rights and responsibilities are if something goes wrong.
vii, Be paid out of pocket expenses - see above.
viii, Be appropriately trained to carry out their role, see above.
ix, Be free from discrimination
x, Experience personal development through their participation as volunteers.
xi, Be provided with a reference from Re-Gain on completion of their voluntary work, if requested.
xii, Be consulted on decisions which affect what they do and be invited to express opinions on Re-Gain operations as appropriate.
xiii, Withdraw from voluntary work, but it is hoped that volunteers intending to withdraw their services will give as much notice as possible.
We expect that volunteers will:-
i, Be reliable.
ii, Carry out their tasks in a way which corresponds to the aims and values of Re-Gain.
iii, Work within agreed guidelines and remits.
iv, Respect confidentiality and follow Re-Gain's confidentiality policy
v, Respect any policies specific to the project that they are working with.
vi, Attend training and support sessions as agreed relevant to their position as volunteers.
vii, Not discriminate against and to be considerate to the needs of other volunteers, staff, service users and anyone associated with Re-Gain.
Relationship with paid staff
Re-Gain will ensure that paid staff at all levels are clear about the role of volunteers and that good working relationships are fostered between them and volunteers. Appropriate training, support and resources will be provided for those who work alongside volunteers and for those who have a managerial role in relation to them.
Re-Gain will monitor and review this policy and procedures on volunteering on a regular basis. This volunteering policy reflects the hopes and intentions of Re-Gain and the volunteer, and is not contractually binding in any way on either party.