Volunteering Code of Practice

Introduction

The S&P Sephardi Community Volunteering Code of Practice

This Code of Practice sets out good practice for how the S&P Sephardi Community works with its volunteer network.

It is recognised that volunteers are an essential component to the running of many services that are currently delivered within the community, whether it be a position on a committee or supporting a specific event and that it is vital that they are both recognised for the contribution they make, and at the same time, are adequately supported in their roles.

Definition of Volunteering

Volunteering is an activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment, or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. (Volunteering England)

Principles of Volunteering

There are three principles fundamental to volunteering:

Choice

Volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual, including the choice to stop volunteering without pressure or guilt.

Mutual Benefit

Volunteers offer their contribution and skills unwaged but should benefit in other ways in return for their contribution. Benefits that volunteers should expect to gain include a sense of worthwhile achievement and duty, useful skills, experience and contacts, sociability and fun, access to training and inclusion in the life of the local/specific area they are volunteering in and the wider S&P community.

Recognition

It is vital that the value of volunteers’ contribution is recognised by all involved. There are various ways to demonstrate how an organisation values its volunteers:

  • Saying thank you
  • Putting on social events
  • Giving certificates
  •  Providing references
  •  Involving them in decision-making
  •  Including items about their achievements in newsletters / S&P comms
  •  Opportunities to gather information for evidence based qualifications

Local volunteering infrastructure

Within the S&P there exists a large number of organisations (mainly committees) and also including the board of trustees that rely on volunteers, including the local synagogue committees, Finance committee, Hebra committee, Building committee, Welfare charities and others and they are all essential in their own way to ensure the successful running of the organisation.

Most of these committees recruit volunteers through word of mouth and some, specifically through the rules as set out in the Ascamot, e.g. Finta

Skills based selection

Although it is clear there is a general shortage of volunteers to support the many S&P committees, the future model should focus on identifying the relevant skills and experience required for each committee and sourcing the relevant individuals that meet the base requirements. This needs to be addressed in tandem with encouraging more members of the community (and possibly outside) to volunteer their time. Mentoring should be offered to volunteers where a senior of ex-officio person could advise and work with less skilled or experienced volunteers.

Commitments to support Volunteering

In supporting this Code, all committees undertake to:

  • Identify a named person within their committee (not necessarily the Chair) to be responsible for volunteer involvement, and coordinating support. Ensure this person receives full training and is adequately supported in their role.
  • Ensure that each volunteer has appropriate support, supervision and training.
  • Make sure that the contribution of volunteers is given adequate recognition and publicity.
  • Ensure that no volunteers are unfairly disadvantaged on the grounds of race, religion, age, etc.
  • Ensure that volunteers are matched to suitable roles.
  • Work together to create and maintain a modern and dynamic volunteering infrastructure.
  • Encourage volunteers to claim for out-of-pocket expenses to ensure that volunteers who wish or need to claim expenses do not feel disadvantaged.
  • Encourage the involvement of volunteers in ongoing decision-making and ensure their inclusion in internal communications.

In supporting this code, committees undertake to:

  • Promote volunteering opportunities, ensuring that recruitment is achieved on the basis of equality of opportunity and that all volunteers are subsequently managed sensitively and appropriately.

Relationship with the Office (Professional Staff)

Volunteers operate in the same way as professional staff with the exception that they are not paid and do not have contracts of employment.

Liaison with professional staff in partnership and supporting them in day to day activities is not only necessary but is critical to the success of the charity. It is expected that all volunteers act and behave in the same way as professional staff ensuring all individuals in the office and wider community are treated with respect, dignity and collaboratively. As with any member of staff, abuse will not be tolerated and the Senior Management reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary action as is deemed necessary, in the most extreme cases, by removing a volunteer from their position (see Grievance Process, Appendix 1)

S&P Volunteering Code of Practice Appendix 1 – The Volunteer Charter

All signatories to the Code will observe and promote the Volunteer Charter.

Volunteers’ Rights

  • To be given a clear description of their role as a volunteer and responsibilities within the organisation (committee).
  • That the Chair or nominated individual will look after their interests whilst they volunteer, and who will offer them appropriate induction, training and support and regular supervision.
  • To be assured that any information shared with the committee (and therefore de facto the S&P) is kept confidential and is in compliance with GDPR.
  • To be given the same protection under health and safety regulations and public liability as paid workers.
  • To ensure that there are clear problem solving procedures
  • To be offered opportunities for training and skills development, appropriate for their role and tasks as a volunteer.
  •  Not to be exploited – volunteers should not:

Be used to replace paid workers
Have unfair demands made on their time
Be asked to do something which is against their principles or beliefs

  • To be given the chance to play a part in decision making within the committee.
  • To be paid out-of-pocket expenses such as travel when appropriate To be able to take a break from or cease to volunteer.

Volunteers’ Responsibilities

  • To accept the committee and S&P’s aims and objectives and work within agreed policies and procedures.
  • To do what is reasonably requested of them, to the best of their ability.
  •  To treat information obtained whilst volunteering in an appropriate confidential manner and adhere to the S&P’s confidentiality and GDPR policies.
  •  To recognise that they represent the organisation and therefore need to act in an appropriate manner at all times.
  •  To honour any commitment made, to the best of their abilities, notifying the committee in good time should they be unable to keep that commitment e.g. for holidays.
  •  To be willing to undertake appropriate training as necessary for the voluntary work undertaken.
  •  To recognise the right of the organisation to expect quality of service from its volunteers.
  •  To attend and contribute in meetings as and when required
  •  To treat professional staff and other volunteers with respect at all times
    S&P ‘Volunteering Code of Practice’ May 2019 i

Appendix 1 – Grievance Process

The existing grievance and disciplinary process applicable to employees is the same for volunteers. It is expected that whilst working as a volunteer on behalf of the S&P that individuals not only adhere to the responsibilities as set out above but will operate in a way that (a) maintains the reputation of the charity and (b) ensures by way of their actions they do not bring the organisation into disrepute.

The performance of volunteers will be constantly monitored by head office through regular liaison with staff and others.

In the event that a volunteer is deemed to have potentially brought the organisation into disrepute or have acted in a way which is deemed unprofessional e.g. breached confidentiality, they will be subject to sections 10.4 and 10.5 of the Ascamot which deals specifically with these issues.

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