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THE HIGHLAND COUNCIL
DRAFT VOLUNTEERING POLICY
1. 1. Within the adopted voluntary sector policy the Council has already defined its
view of volunteering: -
∑"Volunteering is an important expression of citizenship. It is the commitment by individuals of time and energy for the benefit of the community. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain. ∑ It is one of the main ways in which citizens of all ages and from all sectors of society become involved in the life of their community and society.
∑Volunteering also has many benefits for individuals, providing an invaluable and inexpensive gateway for personal development and fulfilment."
1. 2. Volunteering is recognised as a major resource, contributing thousand of hourís labour per week to the Highland social economy.
1. 3. The Council recognises that it has a variety of roles in relation to volunteering including acting as: -
∑ A supporter of volunteering in Highland communities.
∑ A funder of activities that give rise to opportunities for volunteering.
∑ A purchaser of services that engages volunteers.
∑ An engager of volunteers in the delivery of services.
∑ An employer, with skilful staff, who themselves undertake volunteering.
1. 4. This policy statement looks at each of their roles in turn and sets out a clear
statement of policy which should promote, encourage and guide volunteering in
2. A SUPPORTER OF VOLUNTEERING IN HIGHLAND COMMUNITIES.
2. 1. The Council recognises that a few, very simple measures in work and working practice can make a positive impact on volunteering. This policy statement seeks to cement these good practices into the activities of the Council.
2. 2. This policy recognises that the voluntary sector cannot thrive without an adequate
infrastructure, which addresses the need for: -
∑ information on volunteering,
∑ advice on how to get involved,
∑ volunteer training and development.
Accordingly Council services, working in liaison with Volunteering Highland and the many hundreds of voluntary groups across the highlands will seek to maximise the availability of information and advice on volunteering, encourage volunteers to come forward, co-ordinate the placement of volunteers and promote opportunities for volunteer training.
2. 3. The Council, and its wellbeing partners, note and support the fact that public agencies in simply recognising the value of volunteering can itself lead to a greater commitment to volunteering. Accordingly the Council will seek to highlight volunteer endeavour through publicity, events and awards.
2. 4. That streamlined Council procedure can help reduce the burden on volunteers and voluntary organisations. The council will continue to adopt procedures and practices that assist volunteering through for example the provision of straightforward advice and quick responses to enquiries. In particular Council Services will seek to provide good information and advice on volunteering issues and opportunities through the Councilís web-site Ė www.highland.gov.uk . The Council will seek to highlight its efforts of volunteering within individual Service Plans and set out clear outcomes to be realised.
2. 5. The Council recognises the benefits of the involvement of the local voluntary sector in consulting volunteers and will establish recognised mechanisms to ensure that the voluntary sector is consulted on the wide range of issues that affect volunteers. The Council will work with its Wellbeing Alliance partners to coordinate effort.
2. 6. The Council recognises the need for a strategic approach to the development of volunteering and in particular supports the work of the local volunteering agency, Volunteering Highland, in providing leadership on volunteering. The Council will encourage networking of Volunteering Highland with other key voluntary sector organisations such as local Councils of Voluntary Service (CVSs) to co- ordinate work, promote good practice and ensure quality of service to the consumer.
3. A FUNDER OF ACTIVITIES THAT GIVE RISE TO OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOLUNTEERING.
3. 1. The Council invests over £9m per annum in the voluntary sector and more in terms of securing services from organisations who engage volunteers. Service Agreements or conditions of grant govern many of these activities. Through these arrangements the Council seeks Best Value and Performance Measurements. The Council will seek to ensure that in funding activities evidence of a proactive approach to involving volunteers should be included as a requirement where appropriate.
3. 2. The policy to be promoted must make it easier for people to volunteer, especially under-represented groups such as young people, people with a disability, older people and people from minority ethnic groups. The policy will charge all existing supported organisations to set specific standards of performance of volunteer recruitment and support as an obligation from their funders. Additional funds are being made available to local communities and Councils under the Scottish Executiveís social exclusion agenda and other programmes to help widen the base of those who actively participate in volunteering. The Council and its partners will seek to draw down these new funding opportunities to assist with this objective.
3. 3. The Council in funding services involving volunteers will also ensure that service providers using volunteers know about and understand this volunteering policy and the principles that underpin it. It is expected that they in turn will adopt the same good practices and procedures.
3. 4. The Council will seek to encourage service providers engaging volunteers to ensure t hat volunteering opportunities are advertised widely, in ways that are accessible to all sections of the community. Such advertising will specify the task to be undertaken and will draw attention to the benefits and experience to be gained from participation in volunteering.
4. A PURCHASER OF SERVICES THAT ENGAGES VOLUNTEERS.
4. 1. The Council in purchasing services involving volunteers will work with its service providers to ensure that:
∑ The role of volunteers is made clear and satisfactory arrangements are in place for their management.
∑ Information, advice and assistance will be available to voluntary management committees about the handling of the contractual arrangements.
∑ Consideration will be given to utilising agreements to set out the roles and commitments of the volunteers.
4. 2. The Council will occasionally seek information on the involvement of volunteers in the provision of purchased services. The purpose for the collection of this data is to promote the opportunities for volunteering, determine the characteristics of those so involved and where appropriate seek to broaden the range of those who could get involved in volunteering opportunities within local communities.
5. AN ENGAGER OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE DELIVERY OF SERVICES.
5. 1. Volunteering Highland in contr ibuting to the development to this policy have highlighted the following principles for volunteering in public serves which the Council is happy to endorse. These are:
∑ Distinctiveness: The contribution volunteers make
is distinctive. Volunteers are not the same as paid
∑ Additional: The tasks that volunteers carry out
are additional and complementary to the work of paid
∑ Value and diversity: Volunteers can contribute to
social services by adding value and diversity.
∑ Quality: Volunteers can thus enhance the quality
of a service by adding value and diversity.
∑ Reciprocity: There is reciprocity in volunteering
- it is a two-way process. Volunteers are motivated
∑ Parity and recognition: Volunteers, while not
paid staff, should have parity of esteem with them.
∑ Investment: This parity requires investment in
volunteering and senior level management support.
∑ Safety: Volunteering needs to be safe. Good
practice in the management of volunteers is essential to
∑ Choice: Service users have the right to choose
not to engage in volunteer activity if it is not right for
5. 2. To help bring these principles into working practice
the Council when engaging volunteers will
Rights of volunteers
∑ To know what is expected of them. Tasks to be performed
by volunteers will be clearly defined, so
∑ to have clearly specified lines of support and supervision.
∑ To be valued.
∑ To have safe working conditions.
∑ To be insured.
∑ To know what their rights and responsibilities are if something goes wrong.
∑ To be paid agreed expenses.
∑ where appropriate the Council will provide an induction
period and a review/appraisal session to
∑ To receive appropriate and relevant training.
∑ To be free from any form of discrimination or harassment
which contravenes good equal opportunities
∑ Have appropriate access to grievance and disciplinary procedures.
Expectation that Volunteers will be :
∑ Respect confidentiality and, where necessary, sign confidentiality agreements.
∑ Attend training and support sessions where agreed
∑ Carry out their tasks in a way which corresponds to the aims and values of the authority
∑ Work within agreed guidelines and remits.
5. 3. It is the responsibility of Council Services to
identify ways in which the work of the Council can be
5. 4. Volunteers will not be asked to take on tasks
formerly or currently undertaken by employees, or to
5. 5. Turning to issues of recruitment, interview and
selection all appropriate volunteering opportunities w
5. 6. The Council has clearly understood procedures for
vetting volunteers who are to work with
5. 7. Whilst the bulk of volunteering activity may be
undertaken by adults, it is recognised that some
6. AN EMPLOYER, WITH SKILFUL STAFF, WHO THEMSELVES UNDERTAKE VOLUNTEERING.
6. 1. The Council has over 12,000 employees many of who
undertake volunteering activities within their
6. 2. The Councilís Code of Conduct already addresses the
relevant points on which staff should be
6. 3. The Council in its encouragement of employer- supported volunteering will:
∑ Increase employees' awareness of the opportunities for
volunteering through advertising in Council
∑ The Council will look at the feasibility of designating
an appropriate officer within services and Areas
∑ The Council will seek to promote volunteering
experiences to staff drawing on initiatives and events in