Volunteer Problem Solving

Volunteer Problem Solving.   We hope volunteering for Healthwatch,will be a positive experience, but sometimes things can go wrong. We hope that most problems can be resolved informally,but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Although we do not have legal duties towards volunteers,and do not wish to create,a contractual relationship with them, we feel it is important that problems,or complaints are dealt with fairly, openly and consistently. To help with this we have put the following procedures in place.   If a volunteer has a complaint,about Healthwatch, a member of staff or another volunteer.   The volunteer should first raise the matter informally,with the Healthwatch Delivery Manager, who will carry out an investigation,and try to resolve the problem.   If the complaint is against,the Healthwatch Delivery Manager, or the outcome of an investigation,is not to the volunteer’s satisfaction, the volunteer must make the complaint, in writing, to the Chief Officer of Meeting New Horizons (contracting body). A meeting between the volunteer and Chief Officer will be arranged, an investigation carried out,and appropriate action taken. The Chief Officer will then contact the volunteer, in writing, with the outcome.   If there is a problem with a volunteer’s behaviour.   Many ‘problems’ are simply due to training needs, lack of support, inappropriate roles and so on,and can be resolved by an informal chat. Where informal measures are not enough,the Healthwatch Delivery Manager will raise,and discuss the issue in a formal meeting,with the volunteer. If it is felt necessary,a verbal warning may be issued, with steps agreed to improve conduct.   If the issue is still not resolved,the Healthwatch Delivery Manager and or Chief Officer,with lead responsibility for volunteering will meet the volunteer. This may result in a formal written warning,being issued with an agreed plan to improve behaviour, with the understanding that following another warning,the volunteer will be dismissed as a Healthwatch volunteer.   If a volunteer is believed to have behaved,in a manner that has,or could seriously affect the reputation of Healthwatch,they will be immediately suspended,by the Healthwatch Delivery Manager, while an investigation is carried out. The results of the investigation,will then be referred to the Healthwatch ISAB for decision, who will then write to the volunteer,advising them of the decision reached of the investigation,and action taken.   The types of serious problems,which would warrant immediate suspension include but are not limited to:  
  • Theft.  
  • Misuse of our equipment or facilities.  
  • Acts of violence.  
  • Malicious damage or comments.  
  • Failure to respect confidentiality.  
  • Breach of health and safety agreements.  
  • Harassment.  
  • Discrimination on the grounds of disability, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality and or age.  
  • Abuse or other offensive behaviour.  
  • Volunteering under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other substance abuse.
General Points.   In all cases,volunteers have the right to be accompanied at any meetings,by a nominated person of their choice.   All complaints will be treated confidentially,and will only be discussed by those,directly involved in trying to resolve the situation.   We aim to deal with all problems,as quickly as possible and within two weeks at the most, from receiving a formal letter of complaint. If this is not possible,we will keep the volunteer informed,of when the matter will be resolved.   Volunteers can appeal decisions, in writing, to the Chief Officer of the contracting body (Meeting New Horizons) and will receive a written response,within 14 working days. The Chief Officer’s decision on the matter will be final.