PRO BONO COMMUNITY – VOLUNTEER POLICY

Volunteering and Pro Bono Community

Volunteers are a crucial part of the way in which we help Law Centres and advice agencies to deliver their services, and we are very grateful for the contribution that our volunteers make.

This document sets out the Pro Bono Community (PBC) volunteering policy and is intended to provide you with rough guidelines which are likely to apply to most volunteering placements. However, your placement will be governed by the volunteer policy of the particular Law Centre or advice agency at which you volunteer.

The purpose of this document is to set out our mutual hopes and expectations in relation to the services that you are going to provide on a voluntary basis to the Law Centre or advice agency with which we place you. The Law Centre or advice agency you join as a volunteer may present you with a a similar document or volunteer agreement.

Most of the volunteers PBC places at Law Centres and advice agencies enjoy stimulating and fulfilling experiences during their placements. We have found that the few who do not often misunderstand the role of a volunteer – it is important that you appreciate the agency is not there to help you develop your career in the law, achieve a good grade in your exams or work around your other commitments (although volunteering placements may do all these things). The agency’s first priority is to provide advice and support to its clients and your role as a volunteer is to assist them in doing so. If you understand this and show flexibility in your arrangements with the advice agency the likelihood is that you will get a lot out of your placement.

Please note that as an organisation we do not perform any legal services, and when you are volunteering you will be under the supervision of the Law Centre or advice agency, and they will be responsible for any liability arising from actions you take as part of your volunteering.

Attendance

The Law Centre/advice agency at which you are placed will agree a volunteering schedule with you based on their volunteer policy. You are expected to complete this commitment in full.

Procedure for absences

While we hope that you will be able to attend every scheduled volunteering day, we understand that there may be instances when you will be unable to attend. However, we expect students to view their volunteering as a regular commitment.

Where you are unable to attend, we ask you to inform the Law Centre/advice agency as soon as you know that you will be unable to attend.

If you have any major commitments such as exams or holidays which will interfere with your volunteering schedule please provide the Law centre/advice agency with as much notice as possible so they can reorganise your timetable.

Should you decide to discontinue volunteering for any reason, we ask you to give both PBC and the Law Centre/advice agency as much notice as possible.

Confidentiality

It is of crucial importance that you appreciate that information concerning clients must remain confidential as between the Law Centre/advice agency and the client. If you believe that there is a breach of confidentiality, you are asked to let a Law Centre/advice agency manager know as soon as possible.

Support and supervision

The Law Centre/advice agency will hope to provide you with sufficient support and supervision to enable you to maximise your voluntary contribution.

If your contribution is not of a standard that is acceptable to the Law Centre/advice agency then they may require you to discontinue your placement.

Relationships with colleagues

If at any time you are concerned or upset by anything that is happening in the Law Centre/advice agency – including a lack of support and supervision of you as a volunteer – you should first contact a manager at the Law Centre/advice agency. If you are unsatisfied with the response you receive from the Law Centre/advice agency, you are asked to inform a manager of Pro Bono Community.

Volunteer Activity Logs

Before you begin your placements, you are requested to register on the volunteer portal of our website: https://probonocommunity.org.uk/volunteer-login/

Thereafter you should complete a brief log of your activities after each session of your volunteering placement. This will only take a couple of minutes and is critical in enabling PBC to ensure you are getting the most out of your placement.

Data Protection

Pro Bono Community will collect and store your contact details and other personal data for the purposes of recruiting, managing and monitoring any training you receive and the subsequent volunteering placements. PBC may use these details to contact you during your placements and with any relevant information following the placements. You can opt out of receiving further emails at any time by emailing info@probonocommunity.org.uk. For more information about data protection please see: https://probonocommunity.org.uk/privacy/

Queries and Information

We hope that you will find volunteering a rewarding and enriching experience. If you have any questions or require any further information, please contact us at info@probonocommunity.org.uk.