ARE YOU BEING SERVED! (AND IF SO IS THE SERVICE GOOD)
Some of you will be aware that here at the Volunteer Centre we have been working hard to produce an affordable Quality Assurance process for local VCS organisations. This process is called the Supporting Volunteers Award and you can read details of the award process and how it affects volunteers here http://vanel.supportingvolunteers.org.uk/who-is-it-for/for-volunteers/
Our plan is to get all of the organisations currently registered with VANEL and the Volunteer Centre to be compliant with at least Level One SVA and to offer assistance needed by organisations to get there. This includes public sector bodies such as the North East Linconshire Council, Humberside Fire and Rescue and the GP Commissioning Group. This will mean that we have a way of being able to assure volunteers that the organisations we recommend will look after them as they should.
Having said all that there are organisations in North East Lincolnshire that recruit volunteers directly and we are concerned that we cannot give assurances on their behalf. In order to help deal with problems that volunteers might encounter with such groups we have devised a set of guidance notes to help volunteers help themselves.
The guidance is in the form of a series of questions to ask your organisation so that you know they have in place the things you need to be an effective volunteer. Click on the link below to download your copy.
We are also offering the opportunity for all volunteers to come to us if they have issues affecting them whilst they are volunteering that they would like help addressing.
External verification is now in force.
This means that for those volunteers unable to supply Level 1 photo I.D. (Generally a passport or photo driving licence) the CRB will have to be externally verified by an authorised organisation. This however comes at an extra cost of £5 to the Volunteer Host Organisation. VANEL and the Volunteer Centre are continuing to attend the Safeguarding Board meetings for Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults to try and ensure that we get agreement locally to minimise costs to Volunteers and their Host Organisations.
There is still no official word as to the eventual cost (if any) of the much vaunted portable CRB but as soon as we know you will.
Here at the Volunteer Centre we have been looking at the issues facing volunteers highlighted by the Volunteering England “Free Volunteering from Red Tape Campaign”. The hottest current issue is the changes to vetting and barring best known to most as the CRB checks. Recently VANEL hosted a meeting which invited the major players to look at what the changes will mean generally and in particular to volunteers. This process is still ongoing but the most interesting part is the possibility that CRB checks could be transferable. This would make a huge difference to volunteers who are currently volunteering at more than one organisation dealing with children or vulnerable adults as waiting times for volunteers to get the green light to start volunteering would be immediately reduced. The downside is that the registration for a portable CRB is not planned to be automatic and may be charged to the individual rather than the organisation. It doesn’t take much working out that this might lead volunteers to be out of pocket. Now we know Volunteering England are making representation at a National Level and hopefully there will be direction from National Government to ensure volunteers are not out of pocket but if that doesn’t happen then we are looking to see how we can influence things for the best locally.
This will mean that the initial meeting will need a follow up as soon as the National policy is firmed up so that we know what representation to make to the local authority and the wider partnership to see what can be done to ensure volunteers locally don’t lose out.
Join Volunteering England’s campaign to cut
the red tape out of volunteering!
Volunteering England believes that nothing should be easier than giving your time to help other people.
The truth is that there are a number of things that often stand in the way of someone volunteering. Some of them real barriers; others are myths and misunderstandings; some are good old fashioned bureaucracy. Some are created by government and others by organisations that involve volunteers.
The aim of this campaign is to cut through some of this red tape – real and imagined – and let people know how easy it is to help out in their community.
As well as dispelling some of those myths, we’ll be calling on the Government, organisations that involve volunteers and others to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer.
The story so far…
September: We made a submission to the Red Tape Challenge website regarding asylum seekers and volunteering, visa restrictions on volunteering, the new guidelines on the identity checking process for Criminal Recors Bureau checks and the new online system to make CRB checks portable.
May: The working group of the insurance industry and voluntary and community sector publised the code of practice for volunteers.
December: We gathered support from voluntary and community sector organisations to call on the Government to affirm its commitment to volunteering by making portable Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks free to volunteers.
October and November: We provided MPs with briefings on the Protection of Feedoms Bill.
September: In collaboration with the Association of British Insurers we established a working group of the insurance industry and voluntary and community sector. We also wrote to the Home Secretary again about the cost of the system to make CRB checks portable.
August: Over 50 motor insurance providers confirmed they would not charge extra for volunteer driving.
July: We wrote to the Home Secretary to raise concerns about the cost of the system to make CRB checks portable.
June: We met with the Association of British Insurers and the Community Transport Association to discuss the issue of motor insurers charging volunteer drivers a business use premium.
May: We welcomed the report of Lord Hodgson’s Red Tape Taskforce, which makes a number of recommendations that chime with our work to free volunteering from red tape.
April: We put together an article that tackles some of the myths about volunteering and state benefits that continue to circulate. We also celebrated another important step forward for volunteer drivers as, following our ongoing work around the issue of insurance, the Association of British Insurers agreed to survey its members to find out which companies do charge a premium for volunteer drivers and publish a list on its website.
March: Our response to the Giving Green Paper Download file type: PDF, size: 149.3Kb (149.3Kb) included comments about the importance of reducing unnecessary bureaucracy. The Budget also brought good news for volunteer drivers with an increase in mileage payments (effective from 6 April).
February: We published a post on our policy blog which lays out the red tape myths included in our campaign leaflet Download file type: PDF, size: 201.8Kb (201.8Kb) .
January: Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, showed his support for the campaign at its pre-launch on 24 January. Later in the month, we met with the Community Transport Association to discuss a joint initiative to remove barriers for volunteer drivers by increasing the tax-free mileage allowance to 45p per mile and pressing insurance companies not to charge a premium for volunteer drivers.