Volunteers - Volunteer Management

Volunteer rights
Management responsibility

Volunteer rights    

Volunteers have the right to:
  • undertake activities in a healthy and safe environment;
  • be treated in accordance with principles of equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation;
  • be adequately covered by insurance;
  • be given accurate and truthful information about the agency for which they are undertaking activities;
  • be given a copy of the agency's volunteer policy (with particular reference to reimbursement policy) and any other policy that affects their volunteer activity;
  • have a description of the voluntary activity and agreed activity hours;
  • have access to grievance procedures;
  • be provided with orientation to the agency;
  • have his/her confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the privacy principles; and
  • be provided with sufficient training to undertake volunteer activities.

Management responsibility    

Treasury recommends that it would be prudent for agencies to incorporate the following into the volunteer policy of the organisation:

Risk Management

Agencies should develop and implement appropriate risk management policies and procedures for the management of volunteers. Agencies should identify and assess the risk associated with the volunteer activity to be undertaken and take steps necessary to eliminate or minimise any risk prior to commencement of the activity. This process should be documented. Risk should be managed in accordance with AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management, which provides a generic guide for establishing and implementing risk management.

Volunteering Australia has developed a helpful risk management tool called "Running the Risk?" to assist organisations involving volunteers to identify the range of risks that might affect them and their volunteer staff alike and implement strategies to deal with these risks.

Occupational Health and Safety

Agencies should ensure that the volunteer is safe from injury and risks to health and, in particular, provide and maintain a safe environment in which to undertake the voluntary activity and have safe systems in place in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (see section 19 regarding duty of care). During induction, the agency's relevant OH&S policies and procedures, including information on the agency's incident and accident reporting system, should be given to and explained to the volunteer.

Agencies are encouraged to develop a volunteer registration form that records contact and emergency details of the volunteer, and agencies must ensure that volunteers disclose any medical condition or injury, or any medication that the volunteer is taking, that could affect the carrying out of the volunteer activity.

Recruitment

Agencies should assess and screen potential volunteers to ensure that they are competent and appropriate for the volunteer activity. Areas of potential risk are activities requiring the volunteer to undertake physical tasks, deal with money and/or sensitive information and intellectual property, operate in positions of trust, or where volunteers will be involved with vulnerable clients, such as children or people with disabilities. Agencies need to fit their volunteer screening procedures into all aspects of their formal recruitment and management processes.

Policies and Procedures

It is suggested that agencies make reference to the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not-For-Profit Organisations when defining and documenting their policy and procedures for volunteer involvement.

Agencies should have clearly documented recruitment, selection and orientation policies and procedures that are consistent with non-discriminatory practices and guidelines, and ensure that volunteers have an understanding of State Service Principles, Code of Conduct, Diversity and Occupational Health and Safety. Volunteers should be supplied with a copy of the agency's volunteer policy and any other policy that affects the volunteer activity.

Cover

Agencies should be aware of the details of the terms of cover provided to agencies by the Fund for authorised agency volunteers. For information on the terms of the cover provided by the Fund for authorised agency volunteers, see Incident management - personal accident, Incident management - liability and Incident management - property.

Treasury has also developed a brochure containing information about cover provided for volunteers that agencies may wish to customise for their agency and give to volunteers.

Orientation / Induction

Agencies should provide appropriate orientation / induction for volunteers including an introduction to the policies and systems used within the agency. Volunteers should be supplied with a copy of the agency's volunteer policy and any other policy that affects the volunteer activity.

Activity Statement

Agencies should provide a written activity statement to all volunteers appointed by the agency. The statement should clearly identify the nature of the activity the volunteer will be undertaking and be consistent with the agency's role and function.

Training

Agencies should provide volunteers with sufficient training to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to safely and effectively undertake the volunteer activity.

Supervision

Agencies should provide adequate supervision and feedback for the volunteer.

>> Further Information
Back Home