Volunteer problem-solving procedure

At FiA we recognise that circumstances may arise where the actions or attitudes of a volunteer working for the organisation may infringe upon the rights of others, may cause offence, may breach the policies, aims and objectives of FiA, or may otherwise bring the organisation into disrepute.

The aim of the problem-solving procedure is to ensure that, if a member of staff has any concerns regarding the conduct of a volunteer, the volunteer will be treated in a fair and consistent manner, and both parties will know what to do if such an instance arises.

It is hoped that most problems will be rectified satisfactorily through informal discussion. If this is not possible, the procedure below ensures that volunteers have their cases heard.

The following procedures will be initiated when matters cannot be dealt with informally, or where discussion in supervision or information received reveals that the volunteer has committed a serious breach of his/her role description, confidentiality, equal opportunities, health and safety or other organisational policies or guidelines.

• If the person expressing concern is the Project Manager, a meeting will be arranged with the volunteer within one week to discuss the situation. The volunteer will be informed that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss a problem. A plan for rectifying the situation, which may include providing additional training, support or supervision, will be agreed and recorded. The volunteer will be entitled to see what is written. A review meeting will be arranged to take place in four weeks time.
• If a volunteer or committee member is raising the problem, she or he will be asked to supply the facts to the Project Manager before the first meeting, which will proceed as above.
• If at the first meeting it is clear that the volunteer has behaved in a way that would, for a paid member of staff, lead to instant dismissal, the services of that volunteer should be terminated immediately, and the reasons explained both verbally and in writing.

Examples of such behaviour are:
• theft of property belonging to the Salvation Army, FiA, another volunteer, member of staff, service user or Management Committee member
• acts of violence towards a service user, member of staff, Management Committee, or another volunteer
• malicious damage done to Salvation Army or FiA property
• attending the Drop-in under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• providing false personal details
• sexual harassment
• racial harassment
• deliberate falsification of expenses claims
• bringing FiA into disrepute

FiA reserves the right to withdraw a volunteer from service before the first meeting and/or between that and the review meeting. However it should be borne in mind that withdrawing a volunteer may limit the possibility of assessing change of behaviour on the volunteer’s part. It is likely to be restricted to situations where training for the volunteer is being arranged, or where FiA itself needs to make changes in its practice.

At the review meeting, the volunteer and Project Manager will discuss what changes have taken place since the first meeting. If the Project Manager feels that the situation is now satisfactory, no further action will be needed. The proceedings of the meeting will be recorded. The volunteer will be entitled to see these notes.

If the Project Manager feels that insufficient progress has been made after the review meeting, a further meeting will be arranged to take place four weeks later. The Chair of the FiA Management Committee will also be present. If there is still insufficient progress at this meeting, the volunteer’s services will be terminated unless it is possible to arrange an alternative placement where the same situation could never recur.

Proceedings of all problem-solving meetings will remain confidential between the parties involved, except where discussion with other volunteers or Management Committee members is needed to rectify the situation.

A volunteer who is the subject of a problem-solving meeting may bring another volunteer or friend with them to the meetings. The role of that person is of observer only, except for the case of a volunteer with special needs, who would require the involvement of a facilitator. The same rules of confidentiality apply to the observer or facilitator as apply to others attending the meeting.

Where a Volunteer feels that they have not been treated fairly
FiA recognises that situations can arise when volunteers feel that they are not being treated fairly, or that their rights as volunteers are not being upheld. This policy lays down ways in which volunteers who believe that they have a legitimate complaint or grievance about the way they are or have been treated while volunteering with FiA may express their complaints and grievances, and lays down how they will be dealt with. The welfare of its volunteers is of paramount importance to FiA, and the grievance procedure is in place to ensure that all volunteers are dealt with in a fair manner.

It is hoped that most grievances will be sorted out satisfactorily through informal discussion. However, if that is not possible, the procedure below is available to ensure volunteers have their case heard.

If you feel discriminated against, or have a grievance against another volunteer, you should discuss this discreetly with the volunteer concerned, informing the Project Manager of the meeting and the outcome.

If you feel discriminated against or have a grievance or complaint against a member of the FiA staff, you should discuss this at the earliest opportunity with the Project Manager who, if necessary, will discuss this with the person concerned.

If the grievance/complaint is with the Project Manager, you should raise the issue with a member of the Management Committee. You can contact the Chair of Trustees.

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