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Please read and accept the terms of the British Science Association's Volunteer policy *

A British Science Association volunteer is someone who gives their time freely, to help the British Science Association achieve its aims and objectives. All volunteers must read this policy and confirm they have done so at the bottom of this page.

1. Introduction

The British Science Association is a charity dedicated to improving the connection between science and society. Our vision is of a world where science is a fundamental part of our culture, and is owned by the wider community. We want to support, grow and diversify the community of people who are interested in and involved in science, technology, engineering and maths; and who contribute to its impact on UK culture, our society and the economy.
In line with this mission the British Science Association seeks to involve volunteers because we believe that they are the best people to connect locally, and we wish to give them the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for science. Our volunteers are highly valued, and we seek to offer a rewarding volunteering experience.

Our Volunteer Policy is underpinned by the following principles. The British Science Association will:
• ensure that volunteers are appropriately integrated into the organisational structure and that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to our aims
• not introduce volunteers to replace paid staff
• expect all staff to work positively with volunteers
• recognise that volunteers require satisfying work and personal development and will seek to help volunteers meet these needs.

2. Practice Guidelines

2.1. Recruitment

The British Science Association operates an equal opportunities policy for both staff and volunteers. We recruit volunteers based on their skills and experience and will not discriminate on other grounds, including gender, marital or parental status, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age.
In most circumstances, people interested in volunteering approach the Association expressing their interest. Potential volunteers will be provided with more information about the Association, our aims and our volunteer opportunities. People who then want to volunteer will be required to sign our Volunteering Policy. Those interested in joining a local branch will then be asked to complete a questionnaire to identify their skills, time availability and expectations. The questionnaire will be passed on to a representative from the branch and will be used to devise a role for the new volunteer.

Occasionally active recruitment for specific volunteer roles is required. Roles will be advertised on relevant mailing lists, at local volunteer centres, on the British Science Association website and via other appropriate networks. Should there be multiple applicants, an interview may be required. References may also be requested for new volunteers.

As with all volunteering organisations in the UK, we can only involve foreign volunteers who have a visa which allows volunteering. If you are not a UK, EU or EEZ national, please send proof of your eligibility to volunteer.

2.2. Expenses


All volunteers will be reimbursed for travel expenses and other expenses associated with their volunteering role. Expenses should be agreed upon with the appropriate staff contact before being incurred. Details of what can be claimed and the limits of reimbursement are outlined on the Expenses Claim Form, which will be provided when applicable.

2.3. Induction and training


All volunteers will receive introductory information into the British Science Association and an induction to their own area of work. Guidance and support from the British Science Association head office will be provided as necessary to enable volunteers to fulfil their roles. Where appropriate, volunteers may receive additional training. Many of our roles involve peer support provided through a committee structure.

2.4. Support


All volunteers will be provided with an appropriate level of supervision to feed back on progress and discuss future development and any areas of concern. In addition, many of our roles involve peer support provided through a committee structure.

Should a volunteer wish to raise a formal grievance, the following procedure should be followed:
• Problem raised informally with the staff contact
• If the problem remains unresolved, the volunteer should formally write to their staff contact, stating clearly what the grievance is
• If the volunteer is still not satisfied, then they should write to the next level of management, who will look into the matter and respond to the volunteer.
 
 2.5. Insurance  


BSA volunteers and any other private individuals who are helping at an event on a voluntary basis, on the BSA’s behalf, are covered by the BSA’s public liability insurance.  

Individuals who are with, or volunteering on behalf of, a third-party organisation (charity, public or private sector) must be covered by their organisation's Public and Employer’s liability insurance.  

If you use your personal car whilst volunteering, please check you are covered for it on your insurance.  Most insurers will cover volunteering activity for free; however, if there is a claim during volunteering time which has not been cleared by your insurer you could be deemed uninsured.  

2.6. Health and safety  

Volunteers are reminded that they have a duty to take reasonable care for their health and safety and that of their fellow volunteers whilst volunteering. We ask you to cooperate in carrying out any duty or requirement relating to health and safety matters that is advised by the BSA. A copy of the BSA’s health and safety policy is available to all volunteers in the volunteering section of our website.

3. Volunteer Conduct

3.1. Attendance and timekeeping

This is applicable to volunteers working directly with a member of British Science Association staff, either at head office or at a British Science Association event, such as the British Science Festival. We hope volunteers will alert their staff contact in advance should they need to be absent from or late to their placement for any reason. The Association recognises that there may be times when this is not possible, and in these instances it would be helpful for the volunteer to contact their staff contact at the earliest opportunity.

3.2. Personal appearance

Whilst representing the British Science Association, volunteers’ dress should be appropriate. The Association wishes to convey an impression of efficiency and organisation. Therefore, without wishing to impose unreasonable obligations, volunteers are requested to look smart in appearance. Some roles will include provision of a branded t-shirt or name badge.

3.3. Confidentiality

Volunteering is a partnership of trust between the volunteer and volunteer-involving organisation. As such, we trust our volunteers to keep confidential any information or materials relating to the affairs of the British Science Association which are by nature confidential, both during and after volunteering. This does not include anything which is published by the British Science Association or which comes into the public domain by another means. A known breach of confidentiality will initiate our dispute resolution procedure (see below).

3.4. Dispute resolution

If a member of British Science Association staff is concerned about the conduct of a volunteer, an informal discussion will be held with the volunteer, in confidence, to explain the problem and to attempt to identify practical solutions and a timescale for implementing these solutions.

A formal warning will be issued in the case of a first incident of misconduct (but not gross misconduct), or if the volunteer has already received an informal warning. Cases of misconduct include, but are not limited to:
• unsatisfactory performance of a volunteering activity
• acts of discrimination against any member of the public or of the British Science Association on the grounds of gender, marital or parental status, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or age
• breach of confidentiality
• breach of the British Science Association’s regulations or rules.

If there has been no improvement after the formal warning, or if the individual has committed gross misconduct, the British Science Association may terminate the voluntary placement with immediate effect. A period of suspension from voluntary duties may be necessary if a case needs further investigation. Cases of gross misconduct include, but are not limited to:
• theft, fraud and deliberate falsification of records
• physical violence
• bullying or harassment
• being under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst in the course of volunteering for the British Science Association
• serious negligence which causes or might cause unacceptable loss, damage or injury actions or behaviour that may damage the reputation of the British Science Association.

Please note: election to the General Committee or Council, whilst still a voluntary position, is a stand-alone position, even when election was derived as being a representative of a Branch, Section or other volunteer programme. Should a volunteer be asked to leave his or her volunteer position, any additional elected voluntary role on General Committee or Council will be independently reviewed by Council.

3.5. Safeguarding children

The Association is committed to safeguarding children from harm. The Association’s staff, Trustees and volunteers uphold the position that the welfare of the child is paramount and that all children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. Any concerns and allegations of abuse will be responded to swiftly and with sensitivity (this may require a referral to children’s services or in an emergency, the Police).

We are committed to the safe recruitment, selection and vetting of paid and volunteer staff. Each new role created will be reviewed against Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) guidance to ascertain whether the role delivers regulated activities.  Any staff member or volunteer in a role delivering regulated activities to young people will undergo an enhanced DBS check. All disclosures will be reported to the Director of Programmes.  The BSA will undertake regular DBS checks for roles which deliver regulated activities.  This will usually be every three years. All adult volunteers who work regularly or closely with children or young people are asked to register with STEMNET’s STEM Ambassador scheme. The scheme includes a DBS check where applicable and training.

Children’s and young people’s contact details, audio recordings and images will be treated with respect. They will be used only by staff and volunteers who have a legitimate need to do so.  The BSA requires that staff and volunteers actively seek agreement to use children’s photos, videos or audio recordings from parents/guardians or those acting on their behalf. The BSA will take reasonable steps to ensure that media from partner organisations has the appropriate permissions. Children or young people and their parents can ask for data which identifies them/their children to be deleted at any time.

Any concerns over child protection should be reported without delay either to the Chief Executive or the Director of Programmes. If neither is appropriate or available, the concern should be reported to the Chair.  Where appropriate an investigation will be undertaken under the Association’s Whistleblowing procedure.  Written, dated notes should be kept of any incident(s). Guidance on what may be considered as child abuse is available from the NSPCC website:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/studentambassadors/assets/documents/NSPCCDefinitionsandsignsofchildabuse.pdf
     
 
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We can only involve foreign volunteers who have a visa which allows volunteering. If you are not a UK, EU or EEZ national, you must send evidence of your eligibility to volunteer to regions@britishscienceassocition.org.

 
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Our Branch volunteers must be over 18 years old to comply with our insurance.
     
 
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