Volunteers are not covered by employment or equal opportunities legislation, so the Campaign has a problem-solving procedure which helps to ensure that volunteers are treated fairly and are not discriminated against.
This problem-solving procedure sets out how problems will be dealt with by the Campaign when they arise, and help to find the most appropriate solution to a problem.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign will:
- Treat all complaints confidentially
- Allow enough time for meetings to take place and set realistic timeframes
- Keep complainants informed at each step of the procedure
- Reassure any clients involved that a complaint will not affect their right to use the service
- Ensure that volunteers have the right to be accompanied by a colleague, friend or representative in any of the meetings following on from the initial oral complaint.
If a volunteer makes a complaint
This part of the problem-solving procedure gives the volunteer the opportunity to complain if they have been unfairly treated or if they have an issue or a cause for concern within the organisation.
- Stage 1: Oral Complaint
The volunteer should discuss their concerns with the Volunteer Co-ordinator, or if this is not appropriate the matter should be referred to that person’s manager. Every effort will be made to resolve the matter at this stage. If the matter cannot be resolved at this stage then the volunteer should proceed to Stage 2.
- Stage 2: In Writing
The volunteer should make a formal complaint in writing to the Volunteer Co-ordinator, or if this is not appropriate to that person’s manager. The volunteer should make the formal complaint within a month of the oral complaint, to which the Volunteer Co-ordinator (or manager) will reply in writing within a month, to allow for investigations or absences.
- Stage 3: Opportunity to Appeal
If the volunteer is not satisfied with the outcome, then they can appeal to the Chief Executive or their nominee. The appeal to the Chief Executive should be made within one month of the written response. The Chief Executive will arrange to see the volunteer within one month. The volunteer can have a person present with them at this meeting. The Chief Executive will respond in writing within one month and their decision will be final.
If someone complains about a volunteer
This part of the problem solving procedure gives the volunteer the opportunity to be told why a complaint has arisen, the opportunity to state their case and the chance to appeal.
- Stage 1: Oral discussion
The first step is for the Volunteer Co-ordinator to discuss the complaint with the volunteer and establish their view of the issue. The Volunteer Co-ordinator should establish whether any external factors are affecting the volunteer’s ability to carry out tasks, their behaviour or their attitude. The Volunteer Co-ordinator should identify goals that will help the volunteer to fulfil their role, and offer extra support, supervision and training where necessary. The Volunteer Co-ordinator should then agree a deadline for reviewing the situation with the volunteer.
If the complaint was raised by someone else, the Volunteer Co-ordinator should keep them informed of the measures being taken to rectify the situation.
- Stage 2: Written Documentation of complaint and discussion
If the matter hasn’t been resolved by Stage 1, the Volunteer Co-ordinator will issue the volunteer with a written document outlining the reason for the complaint. The volunteer will be invited to state their case to the Volunteer Co-ordinator. The volunteer can choose to be accompanied by a person of their choice. Depending on the nature of the complaint, this may be used as an opportunity to set further objectives for the volunteer, or to offer training or other support. However, if at this stage the Volunteer Co-ordinator decides that the volunteer should be asked to leave, the volunteer will be given the chance to appeal.
- Stage 3: Opportunity to appeal
When a volunteer has been asked to leave, they may appeal in writing to the Chief Executive within a month. The Chief Executive will arrange to see the volunteer within a month. The volunteer can have a person present with them at this meeting. The Chief Executive will respond in writing within a month and their decision will be final.
Temporary or Permanent Cessation of Volunteering
There are some occasions when volunteers will immediately have to cease volunteering, either permanently or on a temporary basis while an investigation is carried out. These include, but are not limited to gross misconduct, e.g. theft, assault, acts of violence, malicious damage, deliberate falsification of documents, harassment or being under the influence of drink or drugs. The decision to temporarily suspend a volunteer will be confirmed to the volunteer in writing and, in some cases, legal proceedings may need to be concluded before the next step in the problem solving procedure may take place.