|Summary of policy aims
||The purpose of the Volunteer Framework is to:
• set out a commitment to involving and supporting volunteers across Council departments
• acknowledge the vital contribution which volunteers make to the Council and the wider community, as well as the benefits to the volunteers themselves
• enhance the quality of the experience for existing volunteers
• develop a range of volunteering opportunities across Council services
• define the role of volunteering within the Council with regards to responsibilities, expectations and support
• act as a point of reference for all individuals concerned with the coordination of volunteer activity within the Council to help ensure consistency of processes and procedures
• ensure that volunteering opportunities within the Council embrace diversity and promote equality and inclusiveness
• ensure that anyone who wants to volunteer can do so readily and is provided with support and guidance where barriers to volunteering exist
• clarify the boundaries between paid employees and volunteers
• ensure that everyone within the Council, including Elected Members and leaders at all levels, know how and why individuals are involved, what kind of roles they play and what they can expect from the Council
• inspire departments and services within the Council who do not currently involve volunteers to consider doing so
• enable increased monitoring and governance to help demonstrate best practice
||It is widely recognised that volunteering opportunities have a positive impact on individuals, organisations and the wider community. Volunteering can be a powerful driver of social, economic, cultural and environmental change. It can empower people to fulfil their potential and acquire new skills and knowledge, but also build their capacity and creativity to contribute to the vibrancy of their own communities.
East Ayrshire Council is committed to volunteering and acknowledges the vital contribution which volunteers make to the organisation and the wider community, as well as the benefits to the volunteers themselves. Although there is already an active volunteering culture within East Ayrshire Council, to date it has been managed by a range of different policies and guidelines and there is a need to develop an effective, efficient and consistent approach to volunteering across the organisation.
In order to widen participation in volunteering, the framework is underpinned by a commitment to equality of opportunity, social justice and social inclusion. As such, volunteering opportunities are open to all regardless of disability, gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, religion, background or economic circumstances. It is recognised that everyone has something to offer but that some individuals may require additional support to realise their full potential. In addition there is a commitment to simplifying the recruitment process and addressing barriers which may prevent some individuals from applying such as low levels of literacy, concern about how a volunteering role could affect benefits claims, a criminal record, issues with providing appropriate referees or forms of identification for a PVG check, a drug or alcohol addiction or a mental health illness.
East Ayrshire Council is committed to supporting, promoting and encouraging the involvement of employees in volunteering activities. Employees will be made aware of the volunteering opportunities which are available to them through a variety of methods including ewords, social media, pre-retirement courses and as part of the re-deployment process to enable employees to gain new skills and experience. In addition, East Ayrshire Council employees will be allocated one day special leave per year where they may be released from their normal duties to volunteer within a voluntary organisation based within East Ayrshire or a national voluntary organisation delivering services within East Ayrshire. Facilitated via the existing EAGER process, in partnership with Organisational Development employees can either utilise the knowledge and experience they have gained through their job to assist voluntary organisations to achieve their outcomes, or request to undertake voluntary work in relation to their own personal development. Similar volunteering opportunities will also be offered to Elected Members as part of their continuous professional development.