18 Jun 2015

When volunteers are recruited and managed by your own organisation there are usually clear policies and procedures in place for managing their involvement.

But when third party organisations are involved (such as a community group, a hospital or a private company) then establishing expectations and responsibilities is important. Barnardo's Cymru have developed guidance on this, based on its own needs and experience. 

Perhaps another organisation provides volunteers to work with you on a project. Maybe you are placing volunteers to work with an organisation on their premises.

In these situations, it is not always clear where the responsibilities for managing volunteering lies.  A new tool developed by Barnardo's Cymru aims to ensure that key questions are discussed with the other parties and that appropriate arrangements are in place to protect service users, volunteers and staff. 

It is broadly based on the 'Investing in Volunteers' standard, which is a benchmark of good practice.

The tool, entitled 'Best practice guide on establishing joint working arrangements with third parties for involving volunteers' provides a framework for discussion - both to agree how you will involve volunteers in your joint work, and to develop an action plan to implement agreed ways of working.

In particular you would need to think about any differences or conflicts in how the organisations currently manage volunteers and what is required to put agreed practices in place, including how and with whom relevant information will be shared.  You will need to establish who will take responsibility for what.

Formal arrangements may not always be necessary. In general, the more 'high risk' the volunteering, including working with vulnerable clients for example, the greater the safeguards needed to be to ensure that all runs smoothly and successfully.