Dapto Uniting Church Volunteer Policy

Congregation Volunteer Policy

Dapto Uniting Church affirms that every member of the Church is a welcome part of confessing faith in Christ crucified, and in being his faithful servant. We acknowledge that the members of the church have a diversity of gifts. Some may be equipped to contribute practically to the logistics of a gathering or activity, or to use their abilities for leadership, organisation, encouragement, hospitality, teaching or other ways of serving. All gifts play a part in the work of the church, and all ministry activities have a part in the ministry of Christ.

Dapto Uniting Church places trust in our volunteers as they work: recognising our responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of volunteers; and acknowledging our responsibility to support volunteers to fulfil their roles as we work together for the protection of everyone and for the Gospel.

1.    Purpose

The primary purpose of the Volunteer Policy is to give the Church Council tools to assist them to protect the health and safety of volunteers and anyone who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

By following the policy, procedures and supporting documents, volunteers will be selected prudently, provided support to do their roles well and safely, and supervised to ensure they are able to thrive in their service to the church. The formality and rigor of these processes should be in proportion to the responsibility and risks of each role.

2.    Congregation Responsibilities

  • The Church Council should follow the Volunteer Procedures (provided below) to assist them in the appropriate selection, instruction, training, and monitoring of the work and conduct of volunteers. Volunteers should be supported and supervised to ensure they are carrying out their role appropriately in terms of their conduct, capability, and safety.
  • Volunteers should be made aware of how to raise concerns, and what to do if they have a concern about anything which arises as part of their role.
  • We will appoint a member of Church Council (a ‘Volunteer Contact Person’) to oversee and take responsibility for volunteers including creating and maintaining the Volunteer Register. Other tasks associated with managing volunteers can be delegated to other members of the Congregation, as appropriate.
  • All volunteers should be included on the Volunteer Register. The register is to be kept securely and confidentially on the Dapto Uniting Church SharePoint page. The register will include details which assist with the management of volunteers, as per the template at Appendix 1.
  • The Volunteer Register should be reviewed by the Church Council and updated at least every 12 months.

3.    Volunteer Responsibilities

All volunteers are to:

  • Do their best to serve well, and to keep themselves and others safe
  • Read, sign, and abide by the Volunteer or Child Safe Code of Conduct
  • Attend any required training
  • Fulfil their Work Health Safety (WHS) responsibilities including by reporting hazards and incidents and informing the appropriate person of any concerns.

Some volunteers will also be required to read the Volunteer Manual (see Section 5 High-trust volunteer roles).

          

4.    Who is a Volunteer?

When Congregations and other groups gather, each person contributes in their own way and according to their gifts. While each person plays a part, not all contributions are made by people in the capacity of volunteer roles.

A volunteer is a person who is recognised and appointed by the Church Council to a role contributing to the work of the church, ministry or service activity without being paid. A person is a volunteer when they perform a specific identified role, needed by the church, and they are selected to perform that role. There are two types of volunteer roles: ‘high-trust’ and ‘other’ volunteer roles.

High-trust volunteer roles are those with responsibility for others, including ministry and activity leaders, Elders, Church Council members, Pastoral Carers, members of formal Committees and all those who work with children or vulnerable people.

Other volunteers are all the volunteers who are not High-trust volunteers

Participant helpers, who are not considered volunteers under this policy, are those who are willing and able to perform tasks or meet operational needs when they attend a service, event or activity. This may be through seeing a need and providing help. It may also be at the request of a leader or another participant. Such participation is an important contribution but is not recognised as a volunteer role for the purpose of this Volunteer Policy.

The following is a guide to help distinguish between a volunteer role and that of a participant helper. A volunteer role satisfies any one of the following criteria.

  • The role serves regularly, intentionally and in addition to normal participation by:
  • Serving at an event or service the person wouldn’t usually attend as a participant, or performing tasks outside the usual service or attendance times to help
  • Regular and routine service, usually not ad hoc
  • There are specific and articulated expectations for the role. The role may have a title and has specific tasks and expectations.
  • The role should be identified as a volunteer role when it has a duty of care for others, related to the person’s leadership or authority
  • The role supervises or coordinates the work of other people
  • The role works with children or vulnerable adults.
  • The role has or could have significant responsibility such as to oversee or coordinate an activity, ministry, or ministry area, deliver core functions, or additional responsibility for resources. This would include all members of Church Council and will include Elders and other leaders of our various groups and activities.

For more detailed information and examples to help Congregations in determining if someone is a volunteer, and what type, refer to Volunteer Types – Congregational Examples on page 10. Participant helper roles do not need to be included in the volunteer management processes and will not need to be added to the Volunteer Register.

5.    High-trust volunteer roles

All volunteers have responsibilities to fulfil the requirements of their role to their best ability. This includes abiding by a Volunteer Code of Conduct, being reliable, caring for others and letting someone know when they need help themselves.

High Trust Volunteers in Congregations are those with additional responsibilities. These may be:

  • Responsibility for, or leadership of others and so having an additional duty of care
  • Work with vulnerable people, including children
  • Responsibility for a critical service or an area of worship
  • Responsibility for significant resources, or in a position where there are significant safety or other implications from the performance of the role.

Volunteers in high-trust roles must confirm they have read the Volunteer Manual, in addition to signing the Child Safe Code of Conduct. The purpose of the Volunteer Manual is to:

  • Give recognition to the significance of volunteer service in leadership and/or service to vulnerable people
  • Support volunteers to care for others and be cared for in their roles, in particular through facilitating access to Safe Church policies and other Synod resources
  • Assist leaders to train and orient volunteers. The Volunteer Manual can be used as the basis for orientation for any new volunteers or for regular training for current volunteers. The Volunteer Manual should be tailored to reflect local contact details or procedures.

Confirmation that High-trust volunteers have read the Volunteer Manual must be recorded in the Volunteer Register.

6.    Relevant Legislation

Children’s Guardian Act 2019 (NSW)

WHS Act 2011 (NSW)

7.    Related documents

Synod Volunteer Policy

Child Safe Screening: pre-appointment screening for staff and volunteers National Policy Framework 2020

Child Safe Code of Conduct

Volunteer Code of Conduct

Volunteer Manual

Congregation WHS and Safe Church Statements

8.    Policy Review

This guideline is to be reviewed every 3 years by the Church Council Executive and amendments approved by the Church Council.