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.
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)
There are three principles fundamental to volunteering:
Volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual, including the choice to stop volunteering without pressure or guilt.
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.
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:
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
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.
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)
All signatories to the Code will observe and promote the Volunteer Charter.
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
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.