Managing volunteers

Portsmouth Together require all organisations that recruit volunteers via the Portsmouth Volunteering Centre website to agree to the Portsmouth Volunteering Centre code of conduct, which outlines best practice for volunteer management in line with Portsmouth City Council Volunteering and NCVO guidelines.

Our code of conduct sets out what is expected of organisations that will be using Portsmouth Volunteering Centre volunteers to support their projects, events and initiatives, and is designed to ensure that volunteers are supported, well managed, clear about their roles and responsibilities, and treated fairly.

The Portsmouth Volunteering Centre code of conduct ensures that:

  • Volunteers should be involved because they add value and are not used to replace paid staff or to reduce costs
  • All roles should either help to create functions that would not exist in the absence of volunteers, or enhance an existing function in a way that would not happen without volunteers
  • All roles should provide volunteers with high levels of satisfaction and the chance to gain new, or enhance existing, skills and experiences.
  • Organisation will be responsible for providing volunteer insurance cover  Volunteer and insurance information sheet
  • Volunteers will receive an induction or introduction to the organisation and any training needed that is relevant to their role. This should ensure that volunteers understand their responsibilities and that they can carry out their role safely.  You should include Health & Safety, outline of roles and responsibilities, practicalities of the role, identify a contact in the organisation and support and supervision arrangements.
  • Organisations provide access to an identified support person who will be the main point of contact for the volunteers.
  • Organisations should have a problem solving procedure in place for when things go wrong.


To ensure volunteers are given appropriate information to make an informed decision about whether they would feel comfortable volunteering for you,  organisations are asked to state clearly in their organisation’s description, any religious, political or campaigning commitments or affiliations.

Are you sure this is a volunteer role?

Having taken guidance from NCVO, Portsmouth Volunteering Centre ask that you consider the following questions when composing your volunteer role description:

  • Does this look like a job that someone should be paid to do?
  • Look at the expectations and level of responsibility involved. Is this a reasonable expectation of a volunteer?
  • Are you being clear that this is a voluntary role and that it is managed as such? The relationship between an organisation and a volunteer is completely different to the relationship with a member of staff e.g. that the volunteer can leave at any time and is under no obligation at all to achieve a certain number of hours or to achieve given targets like an employee might be. By managing a volunteer role like a staff role you run the risk of inadvertently creating an employment contract.  NCVO has more information on how to  avoid this in their information sheet entitled ‘Avoiding creating employment contracts here
  • Are you being clear about expectations? In the role description or as part of the induction you should identify what volunteers can expect from the organisation e.g. training and support for their role and outline what you would expect from them.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any aspect of your volunteer roles, please contact us.

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