Corps Volunteer Policy
Statement of policy
The South Dublin County Volunteer Corps exists as a volunteer led movement of citizens of the county who make themselves available to volunteer at various community events and / or emergencies in the county. It is a joint project of South Dublin County Council (SDCC), the County Development Board and South Dublin County Volunteer Centre (SDCVC).
Within the Corps we regard volunteers as a valuable resource and an integral part of the team. We aim to induct, support and supervise our volunteers to the best of our abilities, and to act quickly and fairly if difficulties arise
1. General principles
1.1 Purpose of this document
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on all aspects of volunteering within the Corps. It does not constitute a binding contract. It supplements other Corps policies and procedures. These procedures apply to all volunteers who undertake tasks on behalf of the Corps and at the direction of the Corps.
The co-ordinating bodies of the Corps are responsible for ensuring that the policy and the procedures in this document are implemented efficiently and effectively. All Corps volunteers are expected to facilitate this process.
The Corps will consider involving anyone as a volunteer. Individuals must, however, be able to demonstrate a commitment to the aims of the Corps and may only be placed if their needs as volunteers match the needs of the Corps. No person who has a conﬂict of interest with any aspect of the Corps will be accepted as a volunteer.
1.4 Working conditions
Volunteers are provided information on each event/project they are to participate in, and have access to a “project manager” on the day. Volunteers are given the direction, equipment and facilities necessary to volunteer effectively and comfortably and are provided with a uniform/vest to identify them as members of the Corps.
1.5 Relationship with paid staff
In many instances, the Corps will work alongside paid staff. They are there to enhance the capacity of paid staff – not as a substitute for them.
1.6 Working times
Working times are dependent on the needs of the project/event. Volunteers are given advance notice of the time. Voluntary time commitment is based on goodwill, but unscheduled absences can create problems for the project/event. When expecting to be absent, volunteers should inform the “project Manager” as soon as possible, so that alternative arrangements can be made.
1.7 Appropriate behaviour
Volunteers are expected to work within the policies and procedures of the Corps and adhere to its ethos. As representatives of the Corps, they are responsible for presenting a positive image of the Corps to the outside world. Our first and foremost concern is to keep YOU safe and to ensure that you have an enjoyable experience. To this end, the following basic guidelines have been put in place in respect of how Corps members will conduct themselves:
Volunteer members of the Corps will:
- Portray a positive and professional image of the Corps and refrain from unacceptable forms of behaviour.
- Report for your volunteer project when called upon, in a timely manner and free from influence of alcohol and drug related substances.
- Comply with all reasonable instructions and lawful orders received during duty to the best of your ability.
- Prepare for your volunteer role by participating where possible in any relevant meetings or briefings relating to the work of the Corps.
- Show respect and consideration at all times for fellow members of the Corps, members of the public, other Volunteers, recipients of services from the Corps and Statutory bodies.
- Respect the privacy of persons served by the Corps and hold in confidence sensitive, private and personal information except in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect.
- Keep staff informed of progress, concerns and problems within the Projects in which I participate.
- Keep personal opinions and actions separate from those made as a representative of the Corps.
- Avoid activity that could be considered detrimental to the Corps and which could specifically result in personal injury to you, any volunteer or a member of the public.
- Wear the uniform/vest provided to you on the day to identify you as a member of the Corps.
Volunteer members of the Corps will not:
- Use vulgar or inappropriate language, or make remarks that could be considered offensive.
- Solicit gratuities, gifts or bequests for personal or professional benefit.
- Discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status or disability, and/or sexual orientation.
- Sometimes the nature of our work will mean Corps members will come into contact with younger people (under 18 years). It is important to “keep safe” in these circumstances (for you and the young person). Volunteers should not therefore be in a situation where they are alone with a young person. Appropriate physical boundaries should be maintained at all times.
1.8 Representation of the SDCVC/SDCC
Volunteers must seek prior approval from the SDCVC Manager before undertaking anything that might affect the Corps. This includes, but is not limited to, statements to the press, joint initiatives with other bodies, and agreements involving contractual or ﬁnancial obligations.
South Dublin County Volunteer Corps respects the volunteer’s right to privacy and conﬁdentiality. In turn, volunteers are responsible for maintaining the conﬁdentiality of all privileged information to which they are exposed while volunteering with the Corps.
A system of computerised records is maintained on all volunteers, including dates and times of service, duties performed etc. Volunteer records are held at SDCVC and are accorded full conﬁdentiality.
1.11 Service at the discretion of the South Dublin County Volunteer Corps
Any voluntary service is at the discretion of the Corps. The Corps may, at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate volunteers relationships. Similarly, volunteers may at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate their relationships with the Corps. Notice of such decisions should be communicated at the earliest opportunity, preferably in writing.
2.1 Role descriptions and person speciﬁcations
Volunteers are provided with a clear and accurate description of the tasks and responsibilities they are expected to undertake for each project / event. This must includes a title for the volunteering role, starting and ﬁnishing dates, hours and place of volunteering, name of supervisor and tasks to be undertaken.
Volunteers for the Corps are recruited on a pro-active basis by SDCVC using publicity avenues that are suitable for the role. Potential volunteers may also apply speculatively or come via the volunteer placement service provided by the SDCVC. Volunteers are recruited in accordance with the SDCVC’s equal opportunities policy. All volunteers are required to complete an application form.
Corps Volunteers are not subject to Interview.
2.4 Checks for suitability
Two References are taken up for each member of the Corps. If a volunteer refuses permission and cannot provide an acceptable reason, they will not be placed. At the moment, we do not envisage carrying out Garda Vetting of all Corps members as vetting should only be carried out if volunteers have sustained access to vulnerable adults or children.
Volunteers become member of the Corps after all necessary checks have proved acceptable.
All volunteers receive induction. Induction sessions are held every six months but volunteers can commence their voluntary work in the interim. Induction consists of a general introduction to the Corps, as well as a speciﬁc orientation on the purposes and requirements of their volunteering role.
3.2 On-the-job training
Volunteers receive initial and ongoing on-the-job support to provide them with the information and skills necessary to perform their tasks well. The training must be appropriate for the demands of the position and the capabilities of the volunteer.
3.3 Additional training
From time to time, additional training may be identified as necessary for certain projects of the Corps. We will inform the Corps of the availability of this training and open it to all members of the Corps who may require it for certain projects.
4.1 Lines of communication
Lines of communication between SDCVC and Corps members should operate in both directions and should exist formally and informally. Volunteers have have access to all appropriate information and meetings relevant to their projects / events.
Each project / event has a clearly identiﬁed project manager who is responsible for Corps member on the day. SDCVC are responsible for all other aspects of volunteer management.
4.3 De-briefing sessions
Volunteers are emailed after event event/project to ascertain how things went and their feedback (positive and negative) to SDCVC is welcomed.
4.4 Corrective action
If it is necessary to evaluate a volunteer’s performance or conduct within the Corps, corrective action may be taken following this. Examples include the organisation of training for an identiﬁed training need, the reassignment of a volunteer, or the dismissal of a volunteer.
Volunteers who do not adhere to the Corps’s rules or who fail to perform their volunteer assignments satisfactorily may be subject to dismissal. No volunteer’s involvement will be terminated in writing until the volunteer has had an opportunity to discuss the reasons for possible dismissal with the SDCVC Manager. Grounds for dismissal include, but are not limited to, the following: gross misconduct, being under the inﬂuence of drugs (including alcohol), theft, misuse of equipment and materials, abuse of clients and co-workers, breaches of conﬁdentiality, failure to abide by Corps policies and procedures and failure to complete duties to a satisfactory standard.
4.6 Concerns and grievances
If volunteers are not satisﬁed that issues relating to their volunteering are being handled appropriately, they are entitled to have their concerns reviewed by the volunteer centre manager. The Volunteer Centre manager will discuss the issue as soon as practical after receiving a written complaint, and take appropriate action. The Volunteer Centre manager makes the ultimate decision.
4.7 Exit interviews
Where possible, informal exit interviews are held with any volunteers who are leaving the Corps. Interviews are usually conducted by the SDCVC Manager and written records are kept. The session should ascertain why the volunteer is leaving, how they found the volunteering experience and what suggestions they offer to improve the way the Corps operates.
5. Support and recognition
Support on the day of a project/event will be offered by the identified “project manager”. Volunteers are given the opportunity to feedback by email to SDCVC after each event/project and this is a safe space in which to express themselves and discuss how they feel about volunteering. SDCVC will support volunteers with any issues raised.
Volunteer Corps members provide a unique service to the community, the beneﬁts of which are difficult to quantify. It is essential that their efforts are recognised and rewarded. Organisations using the Corps are responsible for thanking volunteers after each event/ project. SDCVC also thank all volunteers informally on a regular basis for the valuable contribution that they make. SDCVC are also responsible for ensuring that more formalised recognition takes place at key times.
Corps projects are organised in local areas so that volunteers should not have to incur any travel expenses. Whereever possible, potential expenses such as parking, food etc… will be covered by the receiving project but this will be done by way of providing these facilities as opposed to monetary reimbursement.
Organisations involving the Corps are required to have insurance to cover the work of the Corps. SDCC and SDCVC will not accept any liability out of claims arising from the Corps being involved in events.
6. Monitoring and evaluation
6.1 Corps volunteer involvement
SDCVC monitors and evaluates volunteer involvement in the Corps on a regular basis and seeks to make ongoing improvements.
Constructive feedback on this document is always welcome. It must be given to the SDCVC Manager who will ensure that it is considered fully.
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre, Unit F, Block 2, Exchange Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24
t: (+353 1) 462 8558 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.volunteercorps.ie