The South Dublin County Volunteer Centre exists to promote support, recruit and train volunteers and place them in relevant agencies in the South Dublin area. We recognise that in order to achieve our goals we need to involve volunteers in our own work too. It is also essential that we present a model of good practice in volunteer management.
We regard volunteers as a valuable resource and encourage them to get involved at all levels of the organisation and within all appropriate activities. We aim to train, support and supervise our volunteers to the best of our abilities, and to act quickly and fairly if difficulties arise.
Adverse Weather Policy
Recent years have seen some severe weather conditions, which have adversely affected some of our staff’s ability to get into work by whatever transport route they use. This Policy has therefore been developed to cover those kinds of situations other than the norm, such as heavy snow falls, flooding, or severe weather warnings, etc. and to ensure so far as possible our staff are treated fairly and consistently.
Data Protection Policy
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre is committed to the protection of the rights and privacy of individuals and organisations, including staff, volunteers, Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs) and others whose data is held by the organisation. This commitment is underpinned by full compliance with the statutory measures that ensure these rights, namely the Data Protection Act 1988, the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2016. To meet our responsibilities under the legislation and in accordance with the data protection principles, we will:
- Obtain and process information fairly.
- Keep it only for one or more specified, explicit and lawful purposes.
- Use and disclose data only in ways compatible with these purposes.
- Take appropriate measures to keep data safe and secure.
- Keep it accurate, complete and up-to-date.
- Ensure it is adequate, relevant and not excessive.
- Retain for no longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes in was collected.
- Provide data to data subjects on request.
Equality and Diversity Policy
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre is committed to taking action to promote equality and to value diversity. We will work to address unfair treatment, discrimination and prejudice within the workplace, in our work with volunteers, organisations and in the wider community and voluntary sector. We recognise that every individual has a right to equal recognition and fair and appropriate treatment and opportunities regardless of their: gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief or lack of religious belief, age, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin or membership of the travelling community. In order to achieve our commitment to equality and diversity, we will:
- Prioritise working with communities and groups whose full participation in society is limited by economic and social disadvantage and/or discrimination.
- Deliver equality and diversity throughout organisational policies, procedures and practice and develop an ethos which respects and values all people.
- Challenge discrimination and lack of opportunity and encourage other individuals to do the same
- Actively promote equality of opportunity.
- Create a culture that respects and values an individual’s differences and recognises that difference/ diversity is an asset to our organisation.
- Strive to eliminate all forms of unfair discrimination, bullying, harassment or other oppressive behaviour.
- Take positive action to provide encouragement and support to individuals and groups whose progress has been limited by stereotyping and cultural expectations.
- Ensure all employees, volunteers and collaborative partners are aware and encouraged to support the objectives of this policy.
- Promote good relations amongst people within the organisation and the wider communities within which we work
- Strive to remove barriers which limit or discourage access to the organisation’s services.
- Monitor the implementation, set targets for improvement and evaluate the impact of equality and diversity action.
It is the policy of South Dublin County Volunteer Centre to provide a Garda Vetting Service for not-for-profit voluntary organisations. This service will be managed by appropriately trained personnel to ensure the individuals privacy and confidentiality and the integrity of the information. To achieve this systems will be put in place to ensure that individual’s information is carefully managed at all stages of the vetting process. In addition organisations wishing to avail of this service must:
- Register with South Dublin County Volunteer Centre to avail of the service.
- Have a designated Garda Vetting Contact Officer (GVCO) in place.
- Have Data Protection/Confidentiality and Garda Vetting policies in place internally to ensure that all information gathered in the vetting process is used in a correct and appropriate manner.
- Have no access to Garda vetting by any other means.
Risk Management Policy
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre recognises that the nature of our activities and the environment in which we operate expose us to risk which have the potential to impact or harm our staff, community, stakeholders, reputation, finances, operation and success of our organisation. It is our policy to adopt best practice in the identification, analysis, evaluation, control, monitoring and review of risk to ensure that they are avoided, reduced, shared or accepted. To ensure this, we will:
- Embed full and effective consideration of risk within the planning and management of new and existing activities across the organisation.
- Engage with our stakeholders and use our knowledge and understanding to identify our risks.
- Determine the level of risk for our organisation by considering the likelihood and impact of identified risks.
- Risks will be ranked in order of importance.
- Ensure that acceptable net risk thresholds are clearly defined and managed.
- Effectively manage risk to ensure that our objectives, goals and purpose are achieved.
- Create and maintain a risk register and management plan.
- Monitor and review the risk register on a regular basis.
- Put a contingency plan in place in case of a severe business disruption.
Working with U18s
It is the policy of South Dublin County Volunteer Centre to encourage and support young people (i.e. people aged under 18 years) to learn about volunteering and get involved in voluntary activities. In order to achieve this we will:
- Promote the benefits that volunteering offers young people, including: its capacity for personal development, social skills, educational opportunities and enhanced self-esteem.
- Provide information on local volunteering opportunities to young people and their parents/guardians.
- Assist them in making initial contact with voluntary groups through our placement and referral service
While we provide this service, we recognise that the safety and welfare of young people is paramount. To ensure this, we will:
- Not instigate direct communication with individual young people.
- Avoid circumstances where staff and volunteers may be alone with a young person.
Volunteer Corps Policy
The South Dublin County Volunteer Corps exists as a volunteer led movement of citizens of the county who make themselves available to volunteer at various community events and / or emergencies in the county. It is a joint project of South Dublin County Council (SDCC), the County Development Board and South Dublin County Volunteer Centre (SDCVC).
Within the Corps we regard volunteers as a valuable resource and an integral part of the team. We aim to induct, support and supervise our volunteers to the best of our abilities, and to act quickly and fairly if difficulties arise.
The purpose of this Volunteer Policy is to provide volunteers with clear guidelines, to explain Volunteer management systems, operating standards and to advise you about our code of conduct. It is intended as a support to training that will be provided and as a helpful reminder of training also.
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre is committed to dealing effectively and efficiently with any complaints about our service. We recognise that we may make mistakes from time to time, and that people may feel that the service they have received from us, or tried to receive from us, was unsatisfactory. To meet this commitment we will:
- Provide information about the process in an easily accessible format.
- Accept a complaints through a third party on behalf of a complainant provided they have consent to do so.
- Encourage feedback on all aspects of our operations so that we can maintain and continuously improve standards.
- Ensure the complainant is listened to and respected.
- Seek an early resolution – where possible complaints will be dealt with at first point of contact.
- Assign an independent person to deal with the complaint, if required, who will be the main point of contact.
- Respond to complaints within an agreed reasonable timeframe.
- Provide information about timeframes and possible outcomes.
- Deal with the complaint in an objective and unbiased manner.
- Handle a complaint in a confidential manner in line with data protection guidelines.
- Record and document all aspects of the complaint.
- Provide reasons for decisions and options for redress or review.
Conflict of Interest and Loyalty Policy
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre will engage in open, transparent and ethical decision making processes. Board and staff members will be obliged to declare potential, perceived and/or real conflicts of interests and loyalty. A conflict of interest or loyalty may occur if an interest or activity influences or appears to influence the ability of a Board committee or staff member to exercise objectivity in their activities. To ensure we achieve this:
- Individual Board Committee members have a duty to act to prevent conflicts of interest and loyalty from interfering with their ability to make a decision in the best interests of the organisation.
- All staff and volunteers will strive to avoid any conflict of interest and loyalty between the interests of the organisation and personal, professional, and business interests.
- This includes avoiding actual conflicts of interest and loyalty as well as the perception of conflicts of interest and loyalty.
- Each individual is expected to declare a conflict of interest or loyalty immediately they become aware of any possibility that personal or wider interests could influence their decision-making.
- We will ensure transparency and manage any conflicts of interest and loyalty particularly where decisions are taken.
- Conflicts of interest and loyalty procedures are followed in all decision-making.
- We will record conflicts of interest and loyalty in line with the charities SORP.
South Dublin County Volunteer Centre is committed to ensuring effective and efficient two way communication with and between staff, volunteers, volunteer involving organisations and associated stakeholders. To achieve this we will:
- Have a clear vision and mission that enables all to understand and engage with our aims and objectives.
- Ensure the communications systems will only be used to achieve the organisations objectives.
- Provide and be provided with appropriate information to enable us to deliver a quality service to all stakeholders.
- Make sure policies and procedures are clearly communicated internally and externally, where appropriate.
- Disseminate information to inform decision making, practice and encourage a commitment to continuous quality improvement.
- Share information with key stakeholders.
It is the policy of South Dublin County Volunteer Centre to have an appropriate financial reserve in case of an unforeseen and significant reduction in funding. This will ensure that the organisation has sufficient time to secure an alternative source of funding or to wind-down the organisation in an orderly fashion. To achieve this the organisation will:
- Establish a minimum amount of funds to be designated as an operating reserve i.e. set the reserves level as working towards having sufficient funds to maintain operations for 6 months.
- Ensure the operating reserve is reviewed and adjusted in response to internal and external changes.
- Identify the appropriate use of reserves.
- Designate the authority to use operating reserves.
- Ensure the funds are recorded in the financial records as a board designated operating reserve.
- Ensure the reserve is maintained from surplus unrestricted operating funds.