Bright Sparks Volunteer Policy and Procedures
Purpose of this policy
The Volunteer Policy identifies and sets out the principles by which Bright Sparks works with volunteers, the benefits it gains from its volunteers and benefits that volunteers expect to gain. This policy sets out the minimum standards for recruitment, induction and appointment of volunteers to ensure that both volunteer and Bright Sparks expectations are met. It provides for fair and equal treatment of its volunteers.
Who the policy applies to
The policy is for staff that work with, and provide support to, volunteers within Bright Sparks and for volunteers themselves who provide this role as a part of their Bright Sparks activities.
Who are Bright Sparks volunteers?
A Bright Sparks volunteer is someone who freely chooses to give their time to undertake tasks and activities to help Bright Sparks achieve its aims, without payment or the expectation of payment. The arrangement is voluntary on both sides. Either party can bring this to an end.
Broadly, Bright Sparks recognises four main types of volunteer:
- Programme – those involved in Bright Sparks-managed programme delivery and related face-to-face work with young people.
- Office – those involved in office-based work supporting the front-line work of Bright Sparks.
- Young Ambassadors – those involved in representing Bright Sparks through a wide range of opportunities, acting as role models and inspiring others through their personal experience of Bright Sparks. This is a supported volunteer role for young people who are members of Bright Sparks.
- Fundraising – those who give their time to deliver a specific activity to an agreed fundraising event. Any individual fundraising outside of these parameters is an “in aid of” supporter with no obligations to Bright Sparks and are outside of volunteering.
In addition to these roles, Bright Sparks is supported by a number of secondments, work placements and corporate volunteers. This policy does not apply to these roles.
Bright Sparks seeks and values the following attributes that volunteers bring:
- a genuine interest in helping young people
- a non-judgemental attitude
- understanding, commitment and reliability
Equality and Diversity
Bright Sparks is committed to building a diverse organisation that is responsive to the needs of young people. Bright Sparks is also committed to equal opportunities at all stages of recruitment and selection. Short-listing, interviewing and selection of volunteers should always be carried out without regard to protected characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.
The value and benefits that volunteers bring to Bright Sparks
Bright Sparks recognises that volunteers are an enormous resource in helping to meet its aims. They bring a wealth of expertise, knowledge, experience and skills to The Trust. Specifically, volunteers:
- deliver much of the face-to-face work with young people
- enrich the quality of programme delivery
- provide a unique and different relationship with young people
- provide contacts and networking opportunities that help promote and raise the profile of Bright Sparks
- offer specialist knowledge in a variety of areas
- provide an interface between Bright Sparks, the local community, funders, referrers and other partners upon whom Bright Sparks relies
The benefits to a volunteer of supporting Bright Sparks
Supporting Bright Sparks provides volunteers with:
- the ability to make a difference to the lives of individual young people, and thereby making a contribution to society as a whole
- an opportunity to be part of a high profile, well-respected charity
- personal development opportunities and experiences
- networking opportunities and interaction with other volunteers, supporters and Bright Sparks staff
Bright Sparks principle of working with volunteers
Bright Sparks has a defined principle relating to volunteer involvement in its activities.
The principle is that it will ensure fair and equal treatment of all volunteers.
Recruitment and appointment of new volunteers
All volunteers will be interviewed to provide relevant information and explore their aspirations and the experience they can bring to Bright Sparks. It is important for all involved to appreciate that the interview is not a competitive process, and the sole selection criteria is suitability for the role.
A Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check is required for volunteers undertaking ‘regular volunteering’. Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar someone from volunteering with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of their offence.
Volunteers will have a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes gained from their education, work, previous volunteering, and life experiences. However, volunteers will have the opportunity to access appropriate training if beneficial to Bright Sparks and the volunteer.
Health and Safety
Bright Sparks will ensure that all volunteers are provided with the appropriate information, supervision and training required to enable them to complete voluntary work safely. This includes providing suitable systems and procedures and guidance is outlined in The Health and Safety Policy.
Volunteers must take reasonable care of themselves and others while volunteering for Bright Sparks and follow any health and safety advice and instruction given for their role. Volunteers should co-operate with Bright Sparks on health and safety matters, and immediately report accidents/incidents (including near misses – accidents/incidents that may have led to injury). Volunteers should not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare.
Bright Sparks has a duty of care to volunteers to ensure they are supported in their role, as well as our young people. If a volunteer finds themselves in a situation which is a threat to personal safety, their first point of contact should be to our Lead Co-ordinator or a member of Bright Sparks management committee/board.
Bright Sparks endeavours to reimburse volunteers reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, however the decision to reimburse expenses is made by the management committee/board.
Bright Sparks provides Employers Liability and Public Liability cover for all volunteers whilst working at Bright Sparks. Bright Sparks does not provide motor insurance cover.
Confidentiality and data protection issues
All volunteers are required to comply with Bright Sparks Confidentiality Policy with regard to their dealings with young people, and to keep confidential any Bright Sparks information they become aware of through their volunteering that is not in the public domain. Office volunteers will be asked to sign an agreement to this affect as the role will require access to Bright Sparks records and email.
Bright Sparks, in complying with The General Data Protection Regulation 2018, will treat in confidence the information it holds about volunteers. The information will be held while there is a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Volunteers have the right to request to see all the information held about them by Bright Sparks.
Volunteer information, such as application forms, references and any reports regarding conduct concerns, will be stored in a safe and secure (encrypted) location.
Leaving Bright Sparks
Volunteers are free to cease volunteering with Bright Sparks at any time, although, wherever possible, an agreed period leading up to this point would be helpful in order to give Bright Sparks time to make any alternative arrangements required. It is possible that there may also be times when Bright Sparks will ask a volunteer to cease volunteering for various reasons. Wherever possible we will offer the volunteer the opportunity to feedback before leaving their role, and ensure they are appropriately thanked for their support.