Key administrative tasks must be carried out with volunteers, such as management of personal files, providing 'out of pocket' expenses or desk space etc. Use this information to plan your administration processes.
Volunteers should not be out of pocket from their activity. They should consult with stakeholders and gain agreement on which expenses are covered.
Forces should discuss their proposals with HM Revenue and Customs before they are put into practice, so that tax implications are clear and the risk of creating additional tax burdens for individuals are minimised.
Police support volunteers should only receive recompense for actual out-of-pocket expenses, anything other than this may be interpreted as consideration. It is important that volunteers are made fully aware of which expenses can and cannot be reimbursed, so that they know what to expect.
All volunteers need to be adequately insured to undertake the roles they perform. This may vary from one role to another and insurance requirements should be determined and in place before they undertake any activity. Force insurers should be contacted at the earliest stage so that any problems or restrictions can be considered in full. This is an important safeguard for both the volunteer and the force.
Insurances that need to be considered include public liability, employer liability, professional indemnity, etc.
All roles should be subject to a risk assessment. Forces have the same duty of care towards volunteers as they do towards their paid employees. This means that they should avoid exposing volunteers to any situation that may be a risk to their health or safety.
Any role that is deemed to have a high level of risk may be inappropriate. The risk associated with a particular role will vary according to the capability of the individual to undertake it.
All police support volunteers should be made aware of the force health and safety policy, the procedures that are laid down within it and their obligations under it. This should form part of the induction process and regular updates should be provided.
When a police support volunteer leaves the force it is advisable to conduct an exit interview. This should be undertaken by a member of staff who has some responsibility for the welfare of volunteers locally and should be carried out in a non-threatening, comfortable environment where the volunteer can speak freely.
The exit interview provides an excellent opportunity to find out why the volunteer wants to leave and to review the placement. For some this may simply be a change in their personal circumstances that means they are no longer able to volunteer or that they are moving away from the area. For others, however, their reasons for leaving may be dissatisfaction with the organisation, demotivation, or feelings associated with being undervalued and unappreciated.
Where such concerns are expressed it is important to take time to consider the issues raised and whether there are ways to improve the situation. While providing a solution to the problem may not prevent that individual volunteer from leaving, prompt action will signify to the remaining volunteers that their concerns are taken seriously, which may prevent other volunteers from leaving.
These documents are supplied as examples of good practice by participating forces.