The Parish of St Mary the Virgin, Ringmer

Volunteer Policy

1. Purpose
2. Scope
3. Distinction between volunteering and employment
4. Recruitment
5. Age
6. Management
7. Induction, training and development
8. Equal opportunities and diversity
9. Responsibilities and expectations
10. Health and safety
11. Copyright, Intellectual Property and Photography
12. Media relations
13. Data protection and confidentiality
14. Expenses
15. Insurance
16. Using your own vehicle
17. Smoking and substance abuse
18. Resolving concerns
19. Audit and whistleblowing
20. Complaints handling policy
21. Construction and application of the policy
22. Policy review

1. Purpose

1.1 The policy outlines the principles on which the relationship between volunteers and the charity is based and provides basic information about volunteering with Ringmer Church. Volunteers are vital to the effective functioning of our local parish church. They are integral to the structure and operations of the church as a charity, and contribute strongly towards its aims and objectives.

2 Scope of the policy

2.1 The Parochial Church Council ( PCC)  is composed mainly of unpaid volunteers and relies on those people giving their time and effort to make it an effective decision-making and governing body. Other volunteers support the PCC by giving their time to carry out roles which have been initiated by, or agreed with, the PCC. This policy is intended for volunteers who have accepted an agreed role with the church as a charity.

3 Distinction between volunteering and employment

3.1 The volunteering relationship is based on trust and does not involve the obligations associated with employment. No payment, other than the reimbursement of agreed expenses, is made by the PCC to people who give their time as volunteers.

4 Recruitment

4.1 The PCC welcomes and respects the breadth of experience, skills, dedication and goodwill that volunteers bring. Informal interviews may be carried out to ensure that applicants are suitable for the role in question. We will base our selection on the ability of each applicant to fulfil the role concerned, taking into account any effect the volunteer may have on the safety of all parties, our Church and reputation.

4.2 For certain roles a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required.

5 Age

5.1 In most cases you will need to be over 16 years of age to volunteer independently, and under 18s will be asked for parental consent. Younger people may get involved in some aspects of volunteering with us if they are accompanied by a responsible adult. We do not have an upper age limit for volunteers but there may be situations that require us to ask someone to stop volunteering – for example when health issues are considered a risk to the person concerned or others around them.

6 Management

6.1 Your line manager will be the staff member, PCC member or senior volunteer who is responsible for the area in which you volunteer.  (If in doubt about who has line manager responsibility, then clarification should be sought from the Vicar or Churchwardens.)

7 Induction, Training and Development

7.1 If required you will be given access to training or information to help you successfully carry out your volunteering role.

7.2 You will be offered an appropriate induction as required, including information about the volunteering environment and any equipment you may be using in your role. If you choose to take on an additional or alternative role or activity as a volunteer, your line manager will be happy to help you widen or develop your skills and knowledge accordingly.

7.3 Any concerns about inadequate training or induction arrangements should be promptly reported to the Vicar or Churchwardens.

8 Equal Opportunities and Diversity

8.1 You will be volunteering in an organisation that is committed to equal opportunities and diversity. This commitment is reflected throughout the PCC’s policies and practices.

9 Responsibilities and Expectations

9.1 We want you to enjoy volunteering with us and we take our responsibilities towards you very seriously. As a volunteer, you will also be a representative of the church and, as such, we ask that you act appropriately.

9.2 The PCC’s responsibilities to its volunteers:

9.3 Our expectations of you as a volunteer:

10 Health and Safety

10.1 We are committed to ensuring your wellbeing and safety whilst you are volunteering and, in turn, we expect our volunteers to contribute to maintaining a safe environment, and in particular to:

11  Copyright, Intellectual Property and Photography

The rights to any original works that you may produce in the course of volunteering will belong to the PCC, unless otherwise agreed in writing and approved by the PCC. Examples include photography, artwork, graphic design and written work, including the results of research. We may use photographs of volunteers carrying out their roles for promotional purposes, such as in a leaflet or online. You may, of course, request that an image is withdrawn.

12  Media Relations

No comments or stories should be given directly to the media, unless your volunteer role specifically includes talking to the press or other local media. Diocesan media relations are handled by trained specialists who can give advice. Any requests from the press, etc. should be referred to the incumbent, PCC or communications representative.

13  Data Protection and Confidentiality

We take great care to protect your information as part of our data protection responsibilities. As a volunteer, we expect you to protect any personal or confidential information to which you may have access.

14  Expenses

Volunteers may request reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel costs. Payment of reasonable expenses must be approved and authorised by the Finance working group or treasurer in advance, and receipts or tickets will be required.

15 Insurance

15.1 The PCC has appropriate types of insurance in place to cover its volunteers. These include employers’ liability insurance and public liability insurance in the event of a volunteer being harmed due to the negligence of the charity or a third party being injured as a result of the actions of a volunteer whilst performing church duties. However, our insurance does not cover your personal belongings.

16 Using Your Own Vehicle

16.1 The PCC does not provide motor insurance for you as a volunteer. Driving in connection with charitable volunteering is normally classified by insurers as “social, domestic and pleasure” which is part of your standard cover. We recommend that you check with your insurer but there should not be any additional cost. If we have agreed to reimburse your expenses for travelling in your own vehicle, we use the government HMRC approved standard mileage rates, which include an allowance for insurance as well as fuel, maintenance, tax etc.

17 Smoking and Substance Abuse

17.1 All PCC premises and events are smoke free. No smoking is allowed in or near our sites. Volunteers are asked not to smoke when wearing a badge, branded clothing or anything that would identify you with the church.

17.2 Volunteering whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be accepted. We regard this as a disciplinary issue and you will be subject to instant dismissal.

18 Resolving Concerns

18.1 If you have any problems or complaints about your volunteering, please talk to your line manager immediately. The church takes the concerns of its volunteers very seriously and will make every reasonable effort to resolve any difficulties.

19 Audit and Whistle Blowing

19.1 The PCC is accountable to the Charity Commission and to the public. We have a responsibility to monitor our activities to maintain our reputation as a trustworthy charity that manages it affairs honestly and efficiently. If you believe any member of staff or volunteer is behaving in a way that is likely to bring the church into disrepute or cause financial loss, you should let your line manager know immediately. If, for any reason, you would rather not talk to him or her, you should speak to the Vicar, Churchwarden or Treasurer.  If this is not possible you are entitled to go directly to the Charity Commission.

20 Complaints Handling Policy

20.1 A copy of our complaints policy is available from the PCC Secretary. Our policy is to try to resolve all complaints informally, although a formal procedure is available where appropriate.

21 Construction and application of the policy

21.1 Queries on the construction and application of the policy should be directed in the first instance to the PCC Secretary.

22 Policy review – this Volunteer policy statement will be reviewed every three years to ensure continuing appropriateness

Agreed by the PCC   - 18th July 2016