Policy and Guidelines for volunteering with Spectrum Community Arts Ltd.
This policy sets out the broad principles for voluntary involvement in Spectrum Community Arts Ltd. It is of relevance to all within the organisation, including volunteers, staff, members, and those elected or appointed to positions of responsibility. This policy is endorsed by Jade Cook and will be reviewed yearly, to ensure that it remains appropriate to the needs of Spectrum Community Arts Ltd and its volunteers.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd acknowledges that volunteers contribute in many ways, that their contribution is unique, and that volunteering can benefit users of services, staff, local communities and the volunteers themselves. Spectrum Community Arts Ltd values the contribution made by volunteers and is committed to involving volunteers in appropriate positions alongside self-employed staff.
The purpose of this policy is to enable volunteers to be recruited, supported, and managed in a way that reflects the values of the organisation. Spectrum Community Arts Ltd seeks to ensure that the relationship the organisation has with its volunteers is of a non-contractual nature and that no legal contract or relationship of employment is created.
This Volunteering Policy is underpinned by the following principles:
A recognition that volunteering is something an individual chooses to do and that every individual has the right to volunteer without experiencing coercion or discrimination
A commitment to ensuring equality of access to volunteering opportunities and equality of treatment for all volunteers
A recognition that volunteers contribute their time, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to the organisation and that, by doing so, they can often enhance or complement those that currently exist within the organisation
A commitment to ensuring that volunteers are valued and integrated within the organisational structure and that processes are in place for them to contribute to the work of the organisation
A recognition that volunteers need satisfying tasks that is personally fulfilling and opportunities for personal development and a commitment to helping volunteers meet these needs and to providing appropriate support and training for them to their activities efficiently
A commitment that Spectrum Community Arts Ltd will not involve volunteers as a means of replacing paid staff
A commitment that all Spectrum Community Arts Ltd staff will be clear about the role of volunteers and work positively with volunteers
A recognition that the volunteer role is bound only in honour, trust and mutual understanding. No enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, can be imposed on volunteers to attend, give or be set a minimum amount of time to carry out the tasks involved in their voluntary activity. Likewise the organisation cannot be compelled to provide either regular tasks, payment or other benefit for any activity undertaken by the volunteer.
A recognition that although volunteers offer time freely and willingly without binding obligation, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what the organisation expects of volunteers and what volunteers expect of the organisation.
4. Organisation Mission
Spectrum Community Arts exists to provide performing arts workshops and opportunities to people with disabilities and in doing so use the performing arts to help people with disabilities to develop self-esteem, confidence, social skills, and self-expression
In line with this mission Spectrum Community Arts seeks to involve volunteers to:
ensure our services meet the needs of our clients
provide new skills and perspectives
increase our contact with the local community we serve
5. Organisation Aims
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd aims;
To provide performing arts workshops for people with disabilities and additional needs.
To use the performing arts to help develop self-esteem, self-expression and build friendships
To give the participants a place they feel safe and a club to which they belong
To give the parent/carers an opportunity for a short period of respite
6. Organisation Structure
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd values every member of our team, including volunteers and recognises the important role volunteers play in enabling the organisation to deliver its services.
7. Practice Guidelines
The following guidelines deal with the practical aspects of the involvement of volunteers. More detailed information, including copies of the various documents referred to, is provided in Spectrum Community Arts Volunteers Induction Pack.
7.1. Recruitment Process
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd is committed to equal opportunities and believes that volunteering should be open to all regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs or offending background that does not create a risk to vulnerable groups including children. The acceptance of volunteer assistance for a particular role is made on merit, the sole selection criterion being the individual's suitability to carry out agreed tasks. Information about the volunteer not relevant to the performance of the volunteering tasks concerned will be disregarded by the organisation in terms of recruitment and selection.
Volunteering opportunities will be widely promoted in ways that make them accessible to all members of the community. An interested potential volunteer will contact Spectrum Community Arts Ltd. It will be mutually agreed which sessions, activities, tasks will be most suitable for the volunteer to be involved with.
The potential volunteer will complete and submit the Spectrum Community Arts Volunteer Application form. This can be completed online or in paper form.
All applicants will be invited to attend and complete an informal interview to find out what they would like to do, their skills, suitability and how best their potential might be realised. Following the interview, a decision is made on whether to proceed with the applicant through the onboarding process to be appointed as a volunteer.
D. Taster Workshop
All applicants will be invited to attend a workshop on a taster basis. This gives the applicant a feel of what Spectrum Community Arts is all about, what is involved in the workshops as well as an opportunity to meet the facilitators, assistants, other volunteers, and participants. The applicant will also be able to ask any questions.
Volunteers who are considered unsuitable for a particular task will either be offered alternative voluntary involvement with the organisation or referred to the nearest Volunteer Centre.
Following a taster workshop attendance, the applicant will be contacted to ask for feedback and how they felt after the session, providing an opportunity for the applicant to ask any question or to withdraw their application should they wish.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd will set about obtaining two references by contacting the nominated referees provided on the application form.
Referee will be contacted via email with a link to complete an online reference proforma. A 2-chase cycle process would commence if no response received after 7 days:
If no response by day 7, chase 1 is sent via email
If no response by day 14, An attempt is made to telephone the referee to complete the reference. If no response by telephone, chase 2 is sent via email.
If no response by day 21, the applicant is contacted to provide a new referee
F. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
Due to the nature of the role, the prospective volunteer will be carrying out activities with vulnerable groups (Children and/or Adults) and will therefore be required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Spectrum Community Arts Ltd will complete a DBS check on the Update Service (if applicable) or commence a new DBS application for the applicant.
Once 2 approved references and a ‘satisfied’ DBS check has been completed, applicants will then be invited to attend and complete a virtual volunteer induction. The induction will allow us to complete any pre-appointment training, provide further information and go through any necessary and required documents.
H. Probationary Appointment/Nurture Period
Once an applicant has completed all previous stages of the application/onboarding process as illustrated above, the prospective volunteer is informed, via email, of their ‘Nurture Period’ to begin their role. The ‘Nurture Period’ is in place for six months and acts as both a probationary period and time for Spectrum to support and train the volunteer into their role/responsibilities. This email will include any final documents that is needed by the volunteer as well as any documents which need to be signed.
Such documents will include their Volunteer Agreement, the Volunteer Handbook and an information pack which provides task descriptions, helpful tips and useful information before attending their first session as an active volunteer.
At this stage the volunteer will now be able to start their volunteering role/position.
Volunteers will be properly briefed about the activities to be undertaken and given all the necessary information to enable them to perform with confidence.
I. Mandatory Training
During the nurture period volunteers will be required to complete any mandatory training as required by the role they are appointed too.
J. 3-Month Review
Volunteers will be invited to attend and complete a 3-month review. This is a friendly and informal review that provides each party with an opportunity to discuss the volunteers progress and period of probation/nurture.
K. 6-Month Review
Volunteers will be invited to attend and complete a 6-month review. This is a friendly and informal review that provides each party with an opportunity to discuss the volunteers progress and to appoint as a ‘full’ volunteer
L. Formal Volunteer Appointment
Volunteers are contacted to inform them of their appointment to ‘Full Volunteer’ and that their nurture period is now over.
7.2. DBS and Safeguarding
All volunteers will be made aware of and have access to all the organisation's safeguarding policies and procedures.
All volunteers must have an enhanced DBS check completed, either on the Update Service or via a new DBS application carried out by Spectrum Community Arts Ltd. DBS checks must be carried out and seen by the person appointed by Spectrum Community Arts Ltd to complete this responsibility, usually the Volunteer Coordinator, before being able to fulfil weekly club volunteer duties.
Volunteers who are stepping in last minute to help at Spectrum Community Arts Ltd Workshop or Event must also have an enhanced DBS check, seen by the person appointed by Spectrum Community Arts to carry out this responsibility, usually the Volunteer Coordinator. Confirmation of a ‘satisfied’ DBS check will be passed to the workshop facilitator or event manager/coordinator.
All volunteers will be made aware and reminded they are never to be left alone with a participant.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd provides mandatory annual basic safeguarding awareness training for all volunteers, directors and self-employed members of staff
7.3. Induction and Training
All volunteers will receive an induction into Spectrum Community Arts and their own area of work. Training will be provided as appropriate. Where possible volunteers will be entitled to receive additional training on the same basis as paid staff. In the event of a volunteer undertaking training for nationally recognised qualifications, the volunteer will be required to commit to an agreed period of volunteering work in order to ensure that the organisation is not bearing the cost of training for no return. If a volunteer wishes to pay for these specific courses, they will be able to do so.
7.4. Volunteer Agreements
Each volunteer will have a volunteer agreement establishing what Spectrum Community Arts undertakes to do for them as well as what the volunteer will undertake to do for Spectrum Community Arts. This document is not a legally binding contract of employment and is made in honour only, signed by each party as confirmation of their understanding and agreement to do their best to adhere to the agreement points.
7.5. Support and Supervision
All volunteers will be made aware of and have access to all the organisation's relevant policies, including those relating to volunteering and safeguarding vulnerable groups.
All volunteers will have a named person as their main point of contact to whom they can take their volunteering concerns and seek guidance and support. In most cases this will be the Volunteer Coordinator.
Volunteers will have access to regular group and 1:1 support and supervision sessions as well as their annual appraisal review. This will enable both the volunteer and the supervisor to identify, monitor and evaluate the volunteer's involvement, recognise achievements and identify individual training needs, including that relevant to their particular volunteering role and to their wider personal development.
Alongside the mandatory annual basic safeguarding awareness training, Spectrum Community arts Ltd will also offer half-termly bitesize awareness sessions on relevant topics/issues.
7.6. Volunteer Coordination
All volunteers will have a nominated member of staff or volunteer to offer guidance and advice to help the volunteer carry out tasks effectively. Volunteers will be informed of who to contact to receive support and supervision. This will in most cases be the Volunteer Coordinator and/or Workshop Facilitator
The nominated post holder with overall responsibility for the development of voluntary activities within the organisation is Jade Cook, proprietor. This person is responsible for the management and welfare of the organisation's volunteers.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd highly values the involvement of volunteers within the organisation and as such likes to formally recognise the contribution of the volunteers. This is done through a variety of methods including articles in newspapers, certificates and thank you letters and/or cards.
7.8. Safeguarding volunteers under 18
Spectrum will accept volunteers over the age of 16 as they recognise the benefits towards a variety of development, training and experience: - e.g. D of E, UCAS personal statement and interview talking points.
Spectrum will ensure that all volunteers are trained prior to starting their volunteer role. In addition, under 18 volunteers will have additional support in understanding the nuisances of Spectrum participants.
Spectrum has a group WhatsApp to support the volunteers – all volunteers give permission to be included.
Spectrum discourages 1-1 messaging between under 18 and adults. All under 18s have a designated mentor for support and to discuss any issues related to Spectrum of personal issues.
7.9. The Volunteer's Voice
Volunteers are encouraged to express their views about matters concerning Spectrum Community Arts and its work.
7.10. Settling Differences
The organisation aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. The organisation seeks to ensure that volunteers' views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly and aim for a positive and amicable solution.
The designated person responsible for handling volunteer complaints or conduct is usually the volunteer coordinator, however depending on the nature of circumstances or issue these may be handled by either the Business Manager or Artistic Director, who has overall responsibilities for volunteers in the organisation.
In the event of a problem, all relevant facts should be obtained as quickly as possible. Support will be provided by the organisation to the volunteer while it endeavours to resolve the problem in an informal manner.
If the complaint/concern raised relates to the person who would ordinarily be responsible for resolving complaints in the organisation, volunteers should refer to one of Spectrum Community Arts Ltd’s directors.
If a volunteer’s behaviour is repeatedly or seriously unacceptable, they may be asked to change their role, or to leave the organisation.
Due to Spectrum Community Arts Ltd being a not-for-profit organisation we are unable to reimburse travel expenses to weekly clubs except in extreme circumstances. This should be agreed with a director prior to making a claim.
Volunteers involved at the performing arts day camps and other agreed events are entitled to reimbursement of all reasonable expenses and will be encouraged to claim expenses for:
Travel to and from the location of the day camp/event
A meal and/or light refreshment that has been bought specifically for the day camp/event
Any other reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that are agreed with a director
A receipt is required along with a completed expenses form for any expenses to be reimbursed. Limits or expensive cap may be put on expense claims if deemed excessive.
All volunteers involved within the organisation are covered by Spectrum Community Arts Ltd’s employer’s liability insurance.
This insurance is reviewed and renewed annually.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd is happy to provide volunteers with references to enable them to undertake other volunteering opportunities or paid employment. This may be during or after their time with the organisation.
7.14. Health and Safety
Volunteers are covered by Spectrum Community Arts’ Health and Safety Policy, a copy of which is made available to the volunteer during their application onboarding. A copy can also be requested at any time once the volunteer has started their full appointment.
7.15. Equal Opportunities
Spectrum Community Arts operates an equal opportunities policy in respect of both paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers will be expected to have an understanding and commitment to our equal opportunities policy.
7.16. Data Protection and Confidentiality
All names and information about participants must remain confidential. Volunteers understand that they cannot discuss participants outside of sessions due to safeguarding reasons.
As outlined in the safeguarding policy, if any participants share concerning information with you, this must ONLY be shared in line with the reporting procedures outlined in the safeguarding policy.
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd will keep all volunteers’ personal information secure and confidential in line with GDPR, including references.
All volunteers will be required to sign and adhere to the organisation’s confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Should Spectrum Community Arts Ltd not hear back from a volunteer for 6 months after they have completed an application form or after any stage of the recruitment onboarding process, contact will be attempted and if there is no response by day 14 from the contact attempt, all data and information held on the applicant/volunteer will be deleted from Spectrum Community Arts Ltd systems.
7.17. Leaving the Organisation
Spectrum Community Arts Ltd recognises that volunteers give their time freely and that their circumstances and availability may alter, resulting in them leaving the organisation. Volunteers have the right to leave at any time; however, to assist with ensuring continuity of service, we would welcome as much notice as possible. The organisation would also welcome informal feedback on the volunteer’s experience of volunteering with the organisation.
8. Monitoring and Review
The effectiveness of this policy, and its procedures, will be monitored and amended as and when necessary, by the Directors. The policy will also be reviewed every year as part of a continuing review of organisational policies.