This policy was agreed by KLS Trustees on 17th April 2013, updated 2016, 2019, 2022.
All KLS policies are reviewed every three years (or earlier if the law changes).
This policy will be reviewed again in September 2025.
1. About Katherine Low Settlement
Katherine Low Settlement is a charity that has been serving Battersea and the wider Wandsworth community since 1924. We are dedicated to building stronger communities and enable people to challenge and find ways out of poverty and isolation. We run a range of our own community projects to support older people, refugee communities and children, young people and families. In addition to these direct services, we also use our premises to act as a local hub for other charities and community groups so that as partners, we can meet the diverse needs of the communities of Wandsworth. Each week we work with 45+ charities and community groups supporting more than 1,100 people. Visit www.klsettlement.org.uk
2. Katherine Low Settlement Volunteer Policy
This volunteer policy is in place to explain how we work with volunteers at the Katherine Low Settlement (KLS). It is of relevance to volunteers, staff and trustees. It aims to ensure fairness and consistency, because being able to refer to a written policy will mean that decisions are not made on an ad-hoc basis and that all volunteers are treated equally and fairly – they know where they stand, what to expect and where to turn to if they feel things are going wrong. The policy is endorsed by the Katherine Low Settlement’s Trustees and will be reviewed every three years to make sure it remains relevant and appropriate to the needs of KLS and its volunteers. This Volunteer Policy is freely accessible to all. This means that KLS will share copies of this policy with staff and volunteers as part of their induction and training. All KLS’ policies will appear on its website.
Katherine Low Settlement recognises the benefits of people having the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the life of their communities by volunteering and champions such involvement. It acknowledges that volunteers contribute in many ways, that their contribution is unique and that volunteering can benefit service users, local communities and the volunteers themselves. KLS values the contribution made by volunteers and is committed to involving volunteers in appropriate positions and in ways which are encouraging and supportive. KLS recognises its responsibility to arrange its volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of volunteer’s time, skills and experience is best used to the mutual advantage of KLS’ service users and the volunteer themselves.
4. Statement of Values and Principles
Volunteering is not intended to be a substitute for paid employment. The role of volunteers complements but is not intended to replace the role of paid staff. Those responsible for placing and supporting volunteers will ensure that paid staff are clear about the role of volunteers and will work to foster good working relationships between paid staff and volunteers. No enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise can be imposed on volunteers to attend or to be set a minimum amount of time to carry out agreed tasks. Likewise KLS is not required to provide either regular work or payment or any other benefit for any activity undertaken by the volunteer. Although volunteers offer their time freely and willingly without a binding obligation there is a reasonable expectation of mutual support and reliability on both sides. Expectations on both sides will be clearly communicated.
Katherine Low Settlement is committed to Equal Opportunities (see KLS policy). Volunteering at KLS is open to all regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, ability or religion. Our volunteer roles have a written role description and are then advertised locally, by poster around the borough, online, through word of mouth, and in other ways which make them accessible to all members of the community. However, on a rare occasion it may be appropriate for us to only recruit in a specific place e.g. a particular newspaper, if the role in question demands such. KLS’ recruitment procedure includes a completed online application by a prospective volunteer, taking two written references and an informal interview with paid staff to discuss the role and the individual’s suitability. This may take 2-4 weeks. If an application is turned down appropriate feedback is given to the applicant and a note of this made on their application form. They will also be signposted to other volunteering organisations such as Battersea Volunteers, Wandsworth Care Alliance, Link UP London and doit.life.
6. DBS Check
Due to the fact that all our volunteer roles have substantial contact with children, young people, their families and vulnerable adults (children are described in Section 115 (4) (a) of the Police Act 1997 as ‘vulnerable people’). Our work is one of those defined in the ‘Exceptions Order’ to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which states that both spent and unspent convictions need to be disclosed. This means that all staff and volunteers require an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks) before they can begin to regularly volunteer.
7. Induction and Training
There will be an induction prepared and delivered by one of our staff members. This will include:
- The role of the volunteer, including a role description
- A list of staff and their roles
- Introduction to all the relevant KLS policies including this Volunteer policy, Code of Conduct, Safeguarding, Confidentiality, Health and Safety and Equal Opportunities & Diversity
- Essential procedures e. timekeeping, rota, expenses claim forms
- Induction training and details of ongoing training
- Other information as appropriate
Volunteers will have a named person to whom they can take any volunteering concerns and seek guidance and support. The contact details for your main supervisor will be provided to you. Your supervisor will be very happy to discuss any issues you have before or after a session, if you feel you need a longer session a time can be arranged for this. Volunteers will have access to regular support and supervision. This will enable both the volunteer and the supervisor to identify, monitor and evaluate the volunteer’s involvement, to identify achievements and any development needs. Volunteers will be given the opportunity where appropriate to participate in team / staff meetings.
We value our volunteers and want to ensure that there are no barriers to volunteer involvement. Out-of-pocket expenses, if required, will be reimbursed, including expenses for travel and resources (if pre-checked with us). KLS volunteers are able to claim these expenses with prior agreement and on production of receipts. In order to claim expenses an expenses form must be completed and sent into your line manager with receipts attached. We only reimburse actual expenses incurred. We try to reimburse volunteers in cash, if this is not possible for whatever reason we reimburse volunteers by bank transfer. It is the responsibility of the designated person as above to make volunteers aware of the procedure for the reimbursement of expenses.
10. State benefits
Voluntary work may affect eligibility for certain state benefits. We advise volunteers to check this with the appropriate government agencies prior to starting volunteering with KLS.
The acceptance of gifts, services and hospitality can leave an organisation vulnerable to accusations of unfairness, partiality or deceit, conflicts of interest, or even unlawful conduct. Work relationships may be subject to bias and our organisational reputation for ‘working ethically’ could be put at risk. Therefore, KLS gift policy is a no-gift policy. KLS and its employees do not accept gifts from members/users, suppliers, potential employees, potential vendors or suppliers, or any other individual or organisation, under any circumstances. Exempted are cakes, flowers and written forms of thanks and recognition such as cards, thank you notes and certificates – these must be shared by the whole staff team, not by one individual. If you are unsure, please speak to your line manager.
Katherine Low Settlement has a valid insurance policy which covers you as a volunteer for activities held on our premises and outside it. KLS does not insure volunteer’s personal possessions against loss or damage. We ask volunteers not to bring in valuable to the projects/centre.
Katherine Low Settlement has an explicit confidentiality policy, which all workers, including volunteers, are obliged to observe.
14. Data Protection
Katherine Low Settlement will hold personal data about volunteers in line with its own guidelines and the requirements of current legislation e.g. GDPR Act 2018. All personal data will be retained and process in line with KLS’ confidentiality policy and data protection legislation.
15. Resolving Difficulties
The relationship between Katherine Low Settlement and its volunteers is entirely voluntary and does not imply any contract. However, it is important that the organisation is able to maintain its agreed standards of service to the clients who use it, and it is also important that volunteers should enjoy making their contribution to this service. If your role as a volunteer does not meet with the organisation’s standards, here is how it will be dealt with:
- An initial meeting with your supervisor who will explain the concerns that we have.
- If this does not resolve the concern then depending on the issue volunteering will cease at this point until you have had a meeting with the Project Coordinator / Head of Community Services.
- If there continue to be concerns after this, then you will be unable to return to your volunteer role or if you have continued until then we will terminate your position.
At all times you will be able to freely state your case and can have a friend to accompany you. If you have any problems with your role and/or the people you work with you should:
- Initially explain your dissatisfaction with your supervisor, and we’ll see if the issue can be resolved. If the problem is linked to child or vulnerable adult protection issues, we will take this very seriously – see KLS’ Safeguarding Policy for more details.
- If the initial meeting does not resolve the concern then a meeting with the Project Coordinator / Head of Community Services will be convened.
- If after this, there are issues which we feel cannot be resolved by changes that are within our control and practical to do it is likely that it will be inappropriate for you to continue to be a volunteer.
- Moving On
When volunteers want to leave KLS we ask that they try to give as much notice as possible to their supervisor. They will be asked to provide feedback on their volunteering experience by way of an exit questionnaire and/or meeting. Volunteers who have remained with us for at least 3 months will have the right to request a reference.
Katherine Low Settlement Volunteer Agreement
Volunteers are an important and valued part of the Katherine Low Settlement. We hope that you enjoy volunteering with us and feel a full part of our team. This agreement tells you what you can expect from us, and what we hope to get from you. See also the role description for your specific voluntary role. We aim to be flexible, so please let us know if you would like to make any changes and we will do our best. The Volunteer Agreement is not meant to be a legally binding one and may be cancelled at any time at the discretion of either party. The role is purely voluntary and not intended by either party to create a contract. The agreement is a best practice guide for both volunteers and Katherine Low Settlement. It sets out how we intend to act and the support we intend to provide one another during the course of your volunteering.
You start on _____[Add Date]_______________________
This is what volunteers can expect from KLS, to:
- be valued and recognised
- be treated with fairness and consideration
- know what is (and what is not) expected of them including having a clear description of the nature and purpose of their volunteer role
- be reimbursed for appropriate expenses
- have adequate support in their volunteering
- receive appreciation
- be receptive to any comment from the volunteer regarding ways in which we might mutually better accomplish our respective tasks
- have safe and healthy working conditions and to be insured
- receive appropriate training
- have the opportunity to raise concerns and when necessary access to complaints procedures
- be free from discrimination
- be offered the opportunity for personal development
I, ______________________________ agree to do my best to:
- help KLS to fulfil its objectives
- be reliable, honest and respect confidentiality
- carry out tasks in a way that reflects the aims and values of the organisation
- work within agreed guidelines and comply with the organisation’s policies and standards
- maintain the confidential information of the organisation and of its clients
- complete monitoring and evaluation tasks as required
- make the most of training and support opportunities
- respect the work of the organisation and not bring it into disrepute
KLS Staff Supervisor Signature:
Address & Postcode:
Katherine Low Settlement
Volunteer Supervision Meeting [Template]
Name of Supervisor: Name of Volunteer:
Date of Supervision meeting:
- What has been going well?
- What hasn’t been going well? What could be done to improve things?
- What support and/or training do you need?
- Are there any areas of our work you’d like to move into?
- Actions to be taken (by whom, by what date – review the actions at your next supervision meeting)