Policy Review Date: 17 January 2018
Date of next review: January 2019
The Thanet Youth and Community Centre (The Thanet) is a registered charity made up almost entirely of volunteers who are responsible for the day to day running of our community centre. The Thanet Youth and Community Centre also relies on volunteers from user groups and the local community to help with events and fundraising.
The Thanet Youth and Community Centre values the contribution made by volunteers and is committed to involving volunteers in ways which are encouraging and supportive.
This policy sets out the broad principles for voluntary involvement in The Thanet Community Centre. It is of relevance to all within The Thanet, including volunteers, staff members, and user groups.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Thanet recognises the rights of volunteers to:
- know what is (and what is not) expected of them
- have adequate support in their volunteering
- receive appreciation
- have safe working conditions
- be insured
- know their rights and responsibilities if something goes wrong
- receive relevant out-of-pocket expenses
- receive appropriate training, if necessary
- be free from discrimination
- be offered the opportunity for personal development
The organisation expects volunteers to:
- be reliable
- be honest
- respect confidentiality
- carry out tasks in a way that reflects the aims and values of The Thanet
- work within agreed guidelines
- respect the work of The Thanet and not bring it into disrepute
- comply with The Thanet’s policies
Volunteers are unpaid and do not receive any material reward. Whilst there is a volunteer agreement for volunteers, who do not have any rights under the employment protection legislation.
Volunteers are required to adhere to the policies and procedures of The Thanet Community Centre. Anyone who breaches the policies and procedures, may have their service terminated by The Thanet.
Although our volunteers offer time freely and willingly without binding obligation, it is important that there is a culture of mutual support and reliability.
Volunteers have the right to come and go as they wish, but we would request that you notify an officer of The Thanet (the Coordinator or the person organising the activity) if you are unable to undertake your voluntary task or role at any given time.
Volunteers are asked to respect the views of staff and user groups within the Community Centre and to seriously take them into account when making decisions.
Whilst The Thanet fosters ingenuity and welcomes new ideas, volunteers who are part of The Thanet are asked not to pre-empt The Thanet’s agreement before acting as an individual. Volunteers must refer any ideas to the rest of The Thanet for approval before taking action. Email and phone calls are an acceptable way to obtain approval/advice if a quick decision is needed, however the most preferable way is to wait to place your suggestion before the next Directors’ meeting. This is in the interest of the smooth running, free flow of information and the business transparency required for our charity.
We recognise that the reimbursement of expenses incurred in travelling in the course of volunteering is important from an equal opportunities point of view.
The Thanet’s volunteers are able to claim reasonable out of pocket expenses, subject to the production of receipts as evidence of the expenditure/purchases on behalf of The Thanet Community Centre. Examples of reasonable expenses are: ink, paper, envelopes, folders, plastic wallets.
The Thanet has a consistent approach to the reimbursement of expenses which are the same for volunteers and staff and are as approved by the Inland Revenue. If you are unsure of what can be reimbursed, please talk to the Treasurer.
The organisation’s liability insurance policies include the activities of volunteers and liability towards them. The organisation does not insure the volunteer’s personal possessions against loss or damage.
The Thanet aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. We seek to ensure that volunteers’ views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly and aim for a positive and amicable solution. The Chair is responsible for handling problems regarding volunteer complaints or conduct, please refer any complaint/concern to them. If the problem involves the Chair, the problem should be referred to any other director. In the event of a problem, all relevant facts should be obtained as quickly as possible. Support will be provided by The Thanet to the volunteer while it endeavours to resolve the problem (see Complaints Procedure).
Conflicts of Interest
Our volunteers at The Thanet have a duty to act in the best interests of The Thanet Youth and Community Centre and its’ user groups. Volunteers must not use their position to their own personal benefit. Conflicts of interest occur when a volunteer’s personal or business interests or the interests of an organisation or person connected to the volunteer conflict with the smooth running and decision making process of The Thanet. Volunteers within The Thanet must not attempt to sway the decision making process in order gain personally or professionally from outcomes. All decisions that may involve commissioning work/services from someone known to a member of The Thanet must be fully discussed at regular directors’ meetings and other options explored if necessary, to avoid conflicts of interest.
The Thanet volunteer members must avoid all situations that may possibly lead to a conflict of interest and also have a legal duty to declare any potential conflicts of interest between themselves.