University of Dundee volunteering policy

Updated on 1 February 2022

How the University acknowledges and supports the role of volunteers and ensures good working practices.

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Purpose of the Volunteering Policy

This policy:

  • Formally acknowledges and supports the role of volunteers
  • Sets out a policy to ensure good working practices
  • Defines the rights and responsibilities of University of Dundee in relation to volunteering and its volunteers
  • Encourages and enables, rather than limits, the involvement of volunteers.

1.0 Volunteers and University Policies

All University of Dundee volunteers, by virtue of their relationship to the University, must comply with the University’s policies and procedures.

Related policies to the Volunteering Policy:       

2.0 University Commitment to Volunteering

Volunteers are recognised as a major resource by University of Dundee and make a vital contribution to the university. The time, energy and skills offered by our volunteers benefits the university and helps us to achieve our aims especially in relation to Student Employability, Wider Impact both locally and globally.

University of Dundee recognises that voluntary work brings benefits to the volunteers, to the local and wider communities, to service users and to paid staff. It will ensure that volunteers are properly integrated into the organisational structure and that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to the University’s work and aims.

The University does not intend for volunteers to perform or displace work that is presently being performed by University employees.

Volunteering is an activity which is undertaken freely by an individual without financial gain. It is the commitment of time and energy for the benefit of the community and makes a vital contribution both socially and economically. The University is committed to volunteering and will allocate the necessary time, resources and support to ensure volunteers have a successful and rewarding volunteer experience.

3.0 Relationship between University of Dundee and its Volunteer Workers

University of Dundee will encourage, develop and support volunteer involvement as important stakeholders within the university community. We hope that our volunteers will enjoy their involvement and gain from it in terms of their own personal goals.

The relationship between University of Dundee and its volunteer workers is entirely voluntary and does not imply any contract. This agreement is binding in honour only, is not intended to be a legally binding contract between us and may be cancelled at any time at the discretion of either party. Neither of us intends any employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.

4.0 Volunteer Recruitment and Selection

Each project will have its own policy for selection and training of volunteers, which will be agreed with the Project Leader and any external organisation involved.

All selection procedures must pay proper regard to equal opportunities.

Volunteers shall be recruited pro-actively through the medium of University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport websites, student fairs, posters, leaflets, internal press and other targeted means. Volunteers shall be recruited without regard to gender, disability, race, age, employment status or other irrelevant distinction that may be viewed as discriminatory.  The sole qualification for volunteer recruitment shall be the suitability to perform a specified task or role on behalf of University of

Dundee and satisfactory references/background check.

Information about volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and events, and other relevant volunteer information provided by University of Dundee should be as up to date as possible. Help with finding a suitable volunteering role within the university or out with the university as well as guidance and support from Student Services and academic staff will be available to prospective University of Dundee student volunteers.

4.1 Volunteering Recruitment for Students from outside the UK

University of Dundee strives to offer volunteering opportunities suitable for all students however there are certain exceptions where your choices may be restricted because of the limitations within the UK Immigration visa you hold.

Students holding visas are advised to check their eligibility to volunteer with UKBA to ensure that they fulfil the requirements of that visa.

For example, if your visa states that you may work up to 20 hours per week  this means you could take part in a combination of; 5 hours volunteering (unpaid work) and 15 hours paid work = 20 hours.

  • If you hold a Student Visitor visa you are not allowed to take part in on-going volunteering activities however you can get involved in one-off activities and University of Dundee or DUNDEE UNIVERSITY SPORT staff and volunteers can advise you on the opportunities that are available to you.

If you need further advice about the conditions of your visa please contact the International Support Team internationalsupport@dundee.ac.uk 

4.2 Volunteering Recruitment for Ex-Offenders

If you are likely to have regular contact with children or Vulnerable Adults as a volunteer then you may be required to have a PVG Check. This is a background check to ascertain whether you have any unspent criminal convictions.

Disclosure of offences may be via application forms or PVG checks. The use of ex-offenders for volunteer roles will be looked at on a case by case basis in relation to the previous offence(s), and PVG check which will be used as relevant.

4.3 Registering an interest

Prospective volunteers are expected to register with the university via the on-line system or via paper based form and submit any references as required.

They will then be given a Volunteer Registration Form by the project and Role Description. Following this, some volunteers may also receive a further Application Form. 

Some specific roles e.g. School Tutoring may also require submission of a Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) background check, and advanced warning of this will be given. Failure to complete this stage may result in the offer of a Volunteer position being revoked. A negative outcome from a check may again result in a position being refused however each case will be looked at individually.

5.0 Volunteer Role/ Task Description

Recognises that the management of volunteers requires designated responsibilities within specific posts. Volunteers require a clear, complete and current description of the duties and responsibilities of their task or role. This Role/Task Description should include a named supervisor (Key Contact), contact details and work base.

6.0 Volunteer Supervision and Evaluation

Each accepted Volunteer will be allocated to a Key Contact who will be responsible for their direct management, this is the person who should support the Volunteer, providing encouragement and guidance, regularly meeting to debrief and provide support and supervision. Key Contacts must be informed by volunteers of any changes to registration details as appropriate.

7.0 Induction and Training

Each University of Dundee volunteer project/role will be responsible for providing volunteers with an induction. Depending on the volunteering role induction may also include appropriate training or volunteer briefing.

Volunteers will be given an induction and generic or specific training appropriate to the specific tasks to be undertaken and their role. They will receive training and/ or information regarding policies and guidelines. Volunteers will receive accreditation for your volunteer work either in terms of academic merit (where available within your degree programme) and certificates for training completed.

8.0 Confidentiality & Data Protection

It is of the upmost importance that all Volunteers have full understanding of the role/project’s Confidentiality and Data Protection policies/procedures and carry out their duties in line with these guidelines. All those involved as Volunteers within University of Dundee are bound by the University’s Data Protection policy. This means that a volunteer cannot share any sensitive information they receive while performing their duties as a volunteer with anyone outside of University of Dundee. If confidentiality must be broken this must be done following the appropriate procedures which will be outlined during volunteer training. Additionally the University of Dundee will not share information about volunteers without their knowledge, unless they are assessed to be at risk.

9.0 Health and Safety

The University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport has a duty to provide a healthy and safe environment for volunteers at all times and ensure that volunteers are trained to carry-out the tasks that are asked of them.  It is the responsibility of the volunteer to request further training in this area from their Key Contact, should they require it. All volunteers will be able to access a copy of the University’s Health and Safety Policy, they must agree to work within the remit of this policy, ensuring they do not cause undue harm to themselves or others in the course of their volunteering.

10.0 Insurance

Volunteers taking part in authorised University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport activities are covered by the University’s Public Liability Insurance.

11.0 Equal Opportunities and Diversity

The University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport are committed to having a fair, transparent and equality conscious attitude in all its practice. This includes recruitment and selection, induction, policies and procedures, monitoring and evaluating, training and day to day business. Neither the University of Dundee nor Dundee University Sport discriminate on the grounds of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, maternity/paternity, ethnicity, faith or religious belief, disability either directly or indirectly. As a Volunteer with the University of Dundee you are bound by our Equality and Diversity Policy and any breach of this will be investigated.

University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport is committed to making volunteering accessible to all volunteers. We recognise that adjustments may need to be made to project structures and processes to provide appropriate access and/or support for volunteers who have a disability, and are committed to making these adjustments wherever possible. University of Dundee and Dundee University Sport will take the following steps to support access to volunteering.

Encourage potential volunteers to positively disclose support requirements during the recruitment process.

Offer confidential consultations to volunteers who have a disability to discuss accessibility and support requirements, and to identify reasonable adjustments to projects and/or processes to enable access.

Provide accurate information on the accessibility of project activities.

Seek advice on improving access, for example from the University’s Disability Services

12.0 Payment of Expenses

University of Dundee will ensure that there is a clear and accessible system to enable volunteers to claim out of pocket expenses where this is applicable to the specific volunteering role. This will be made clear in any information supplied by the project.

13.0 Leaving a Project

Every volunteer has the right to leave a project, but also has the responsibility to inform their Key Contact of this decision. Some projects may require hand over of case work subject to suitable notice, if this is the case volunteers will be informed within the project guidelines issued. Volunteers can request an Exit meeting with their Key Contact if this is not offered routinely by the project.

Some volunteers will be asked to provide feedback on their volunteering experience by way of an exit questionnaire. They will also be given the opportunity to discuss their responses to the questionnaire more fully with their Key Contact or other member of staff as appropriate.

14.0 Complaints Procedure

Complaints should be raised in the first instance with the Key Contact or if this is not possible. All complaints within the University are covered by the University’s Complaints policy and procedures

Volunteer Code of Conduct for University of Dundee Volunteers

  • To be a reliable and committed volunteer who represents University of Dundee by acting in an appropriate manner at all times
  • To support the aims and objectives of University of Dundee within their specific volunteer role.
  • To keep their designated Key Contact informed of their volunteer activities and to contact them for advice and guidance if any problems/issues arise.
  • To participate in induction, generic and specific training and provide feedback as requested,  as well as regular contact with the Key Contact in relation to their volunteer role/work.
  • To do what is reasonably required of them to the best of their ability
  • To keep a record of volunteering activities as reasonably required.
  • To honour any commitment made and to give as much notice as possible if a commitment cannot be made
  • To act in accordance with University of Dundee Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • To treat with respect everyone regardless of gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion or cultural background.
  • To respect the opinions, attitudes and life style choices of other students or staff even if you do not agree with them.
  • To treat confidential information obtained while volunteering in a confidential manner (except where there is a statutory duty to pass on such information).
  • To ensure that any guidance outlined during training with regard health and safety is adhered to and to take every reasonable care whilst volunteering.
  • To consider safety when volunteering and protection against risks, within what is reasonable and practicable.


Peer Connections Volunteer Policy

Peer Connections is one of several ways that Student Services aims to enable new students to University of Dundee to get the information they need to enable them to find their way around and settle in.  It is also designed to help newcomers meet, mix with, learn from and share information and experience with other students with whom they have something in common through the befriending, buddying and mentoring elements of Peer Connections.

Peer Connections volunteers are recognised as a major resource by University of Dundee Student Services and make a vital contribution to the aims outlined above. The time, energy and skills offered by our volunteers benefit Student Services and help us to achieve our aims. Peer Connections aims to recruit volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds that reflects the makeup of the university community

You can expect

  • Information in relation to Peer Connections about volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and events, and other relevant volunteer information that should be as up to date as possible.
  • To have regular meetings with, and access to the Peer Connections Co-ordinator.
  • Help with finding a suitable volunteering role within Peer Connections, as well as guidance and support from Student Services staff, especially the Peer Connections Co-ordinator (Student Support Advisor).
  • To participate in induction, generic and specific training, feedback sessions, as well as regular drop-in service.
  • To receive safety guidance and training in relation to volunteering with Peer Connections and for Safety.
  • To receive training and information regarding Peer Connections policies and guidelines.

Volunteer responsibilities

  • To register with Peer Connections via the on-line registration form and submit references as required.
  • To keep the Peer Connections Co-ordinator/Student Support Advisor informed of any changes to your registration details.
  • To keep the Peer Connections Co-ordinator/Student Support Advisor informed of your volunteer activities and to contact for advice and guidance if any problems/issues that arise.
  • To attend the mandatory initial Peer Helper training for Peer Connections volunteers and to seek specific training as required, and to provide feedback when requested to do so.
  • To regularly check email and respond to correspondence in relation to Peer Connections.
  • To support the aims and objectives of Peer Connections and Student Services
  • To maintain the confidential information of Peer Connections, Student Services and of its clients.
  • To be a reliable and committed volunteer and represent Peer Connections and Student Services in a professional manner.
  • To ensure that if you are unavailable for any reason that you inform the Peer Connections Co-ordinator/ Student Support Advisor as soon as practicably possible.
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