Follow the trail
- Employment Regulations have their own page.
- Managing People (whether staff or volunteers) covers areas like team building, job design, learning styles.
- Equal Opportunity issues, although they don't just apply to staffing matters, are under People Management Topic Review. Includes support for those with a disability.
- Volunteering management page for contacts in that field.
- Health and Safety page. There are also some notes on producing a staff handbook or similar, and a Policies checklist.
- Pay Rates (including pensions), Expenses and Taxes are on their own page. This includes PAYE/NIC, Tax Credits etc.
Offering or seeking employmentUse our Work Opportunities pages to place or find job ads. We also give details of other voluntary sector job sites, and a listings page of specialist recruitment agencies.
For many organisations recruiting their first paid worker after relying on volunteer effort, the positive buzz is undermined by not just having to come to terms with new management issues but also all the regulations and issues around employing staff. Some voluntary organisations think these only apply to commercial bodies and ignore, others try to apply the approach of large corporations (where trustees might work) resulting in overkill.
There are get outs on some regulations for smaller concerns, but you should always check (and also consider whether in best practice terms or because of the number of volunteers you should respect them anyway).
Some parts of the sector are heavily unionised, while elsewhere they don't seem to have heard of them. Employers can't use them as information sources directly, but staff who are members can often get some useful general briefings for free. Unions with dedicated voluntary sector branches include:
Unison Probably the largest presence in the sector (around 50,000 members quoted early 2006). Contact National Officer for Voluntary Sector (Mike Short), 1 Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9AJ, phone 0845 355 0845, email: email@example.com. There is also a Voluntary Organisations Branch based at Suite 103/4, 134-146 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AR, phone 020 7729 4001/5001. In Northern Ireland, try the Greater Belfast sector branch training pages.
Association of Community Workers Info about various aspects of community work. Stephenson Buildings, Elswick Rd, Newcastle, NE4 6SQ, phone 0191 272 4341 (these contact details may be out of date).
Community union includes branches covering specific voluntary sector areas/activities, and incorporates British Union of Social Work and National League of the Blind & Disabled (recognised in sheltered workshops). The Community Union Combined Branches in the North of England (Yorkshire & Humberside, Manchester and Lancashire) specifically organises and recruits in the Voluntary, Community Care and Housing Associations Sector.
The TUC Partnership Institute has been created to help organisations improve industrial relations and develop partnerships between unions and employers.
Employment Contracts and Policies
The Policies Checklist we have compiled will flag up some issues you need to consider, such as Disciplinary and Grievance, Time Off in Lieu, Redundancy, Retirement. There are certain legal requirements to any employment contract. These include issuing a written 'statement of employment particulars' within 2 months of starting (sooner if working abroad), for any employee working longer than a month, with no minimum working hours. It must include names, start date, salary, hours and place of work, holidays. This or other documents must cover sick pay, pensions, length of contract if not permanent, any collective agreements.
NCVO will send you model standard and fixed term employment contracts if you send an sae to the Helpdesk, NCVO, Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL (helpdesk phone 0800 2798 798).
Valuing the Voluntary Sector - Quality Conditions for Quality Services was a campaign from TGWU, September 2005, which included a charter of rights for people working in voluntary organisations. No longer running, but check Unite campaigns pages.
A Guide to Good Employment, produced by Northern Ireland sector support body NICVA, can be downloaded for free in pdf format. While much of the human resources guidance will be common across the UK, do note that some legal requirements differ.
Please take legal advice or consult a support body for more guidance - we can't give definitive information here due to the breadth of the subject and range of organisations who might be reading this.
Sources of Advice
Personnel consultants specialising in the sector will be listed on the management consultants list. This specialism may or may not be highlighted for an entry, but its worth asking.
ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) As well as their well-known role of mediating in disputes, they run a variety of employment related workshops at reasonable prices. They also have short advice publications, specimen forms etc. which can be downloaded from the web site or picked up for free from their offices, on such topics as contracts of employment, discipline at work, fleixble employment requirements. Contact your regional office. London office: Clifton House, 83-117 Euston Road, NW1 2RB, phone 020 7396 5121.
Institute for Employment Studies A charity connected to Sussex Uni - all aspects of employment policy and practice, do research and consultancy.
HRZone has a variety of online resources, some free.
Your rights at work: A TUC guide comes as a result of the demand from the TUC's Know Your Rights phone line. Order from Kogan Page, phone 01903 828800 (£8-99).
Also see those listed on the Employment Regulations page.
How far work should be allowed to dominate an individual's life is increasing in importance as an issue in the sector. Why should relationships and social life suffer because of your work being so crucial? Isn't it better for all (including performance at work) to strike a fair balance? These are some of the questions you can investigate further via the following links:
Working Families believes that implementing work-life balance practices helps the voluntary sector build capacity through flexible working and improve recruitment and retention. 1-3 Berry Street, London, EC1V 0AA, phone 020 7253 7243, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Work Foundation did have relevant publications such as Time to go home - embracing the homeworking revolution (May 03), which includes management and legal advice, and The Work-Life Manual, 'a practical tool ... to help identify what work-life initiatives you can introduce', but not sure that these are still available.
Getting It Right: Improving work-life balance in your business, jointly produced by NSPCC with Federation of Small Businesses and British Chambers of Commerce, is a free practical guide looking at how 11 different businesses (including a voluntary organisation and a housing association) have successfully introduced flexible employment patterns. However, it doesn't appear to be available anymore, Jan 06.
Daycare Trust Charity with childcare hotline providing free information and advice for parents - 020 7739 2866, Monday - Friday 10am to 5pm. They advise childcare providers, employers, trade unions and policymakers on childcare.
Note that certain, basic, legal requirements on flexible working were introduced from April '03. See most of the above for details, or our Employment Regulations section.