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We are a registered charity that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering in the UK.


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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 exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering.

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, engineering, technology, and maths, topics we know inspire passion in many people.  Our volunteers are highly valued by us and we seek to offer a rewarding volunteering experience that meets our aims.

2. Principles

This 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 the British Science Association’s work.

The British Science Association will not introduce volunteers to replace paid staff.

The British Science Association expects that staff at all levels will work positively with volunteers and where appropriate, will actively seek to involve them in their work.

The British Science Association recognises that volunteers require satisfying work and personal development and will seek to help volunteers meet these needs, as well as providing the training for them to engage effectively as a volunteer.

3. Practice Guidelines

The following guidelines deal with practical aspects of the involvement of volunteers. More detailed information, including the various documents referred to, is provided on the British Science Association website.

3.1. Recruitment

Recruitment procedures vary depending on the nature of the volunteering role.   Please read the Recruitment Policy for full details of procedure as well as any information provided with the role being advertised.  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.

3.2. Expenses

All volunteers will be reimbursed for travel expenses and other expenses associated with their volunteering role. The travel and expenses policy sets out what can be claimed and what the limits of reimbursement are.

3.3. Induction and Training

All volunteers will receive an induction into the British Science Association and their own area of work. Guidance from your staff contact 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.

3.4. Support

All volunteers will have a named person as their main point of staff contact. They will be provided with an appropriate level of supervision to feed back on progress, discuss future development and any areas of concern.

3.5. The Volunteer’s voice

Volunteers are encouraged to express their views about matters concerning the British Science Association and its work.  Feedback can be directed to staff contacts or to the Volunteering Development Officer.  We welcome feedback about the experience of volunteers and our volunteering policies and procedures.

3.6. Insurance

All volunteers are covered by the British Science Association’s public liability insurance whilst they are on the premises or engage in any work on the British Science Association’s behalf.

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.

3.7. 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 co-operate in carrying out any duty or requirement relating to health and safety matters that is advised by the British Science Association. A copy of the full health and safety policy statement is available to all volunteers through the Volunteering Portal on the website.

3.8. Equal Opportunities

The British Science Association operates an equal opportunities policy for both staff and volunteers. Volunteers need to have an understanding of and commitment to our equal opportunities policy.

3.9. Problem Solving

We aim to identify and solve problems at the earliest possible stage. A procedure is in place for dealing with complaints either by or about volunteers. A copy of the procedure is available on the British Science Association website via the Volunteering Portal.

3.10. Reward and Recognition

The British Science Association values the contribution its volunteers make to the aims of the organisation.  All volunteers are eligible for the measures detailed in the Reward and Recognition Policy, which is available on our website.

4. Volunteer Conduct

4.1. Attendance and timekeeping

This is applicable to volunteers working directly with a member of British Science Association staff, either at head office, a regional 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 them to contact their staff contact at the earliest opportunity.

4.2. Personal appearance

Whilst at public facing British Science Association events, dress should be appropriate. The Association wishes to convey an impression of efficiency and organisation. Therefore, without wishing to impose unreasonable obligations, volunteers are nonetheless requested to look smart in appearance.  Some roles will include provision of a branded t-shirt or name badge.

4.3. Personal use of the British Science Association’s resources

This is applicable to volunteers working at a British Science Association office. The resources of the Association (which include, but are not limited to, supplies and equipment such as telephones, photocopiers and Internet facilities) are for official use only. However, the Association does recognise that volunteers may exceptionally need to use these resources for personal reasons.  In such cases, volunteers should demonstrate a sense of responsibility and not abuse this privilege.

4.4. Confidentiality

Volunteers have a duty of confidentiality towards the British Science Association. Volunteers by law own the copyright to materials produced on our behalf.  In some cases there will need to be an agreement reached between volunteers and the British Science Association to share copyright. Volunteering is a partnership of trust between the volunteer and volunteer-involving organisation.  As such we trust our volunteers to keep confidential, information and 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 Problem-Solving Procedure and may result in us being unable to involve a volunteer in future.

4.5. Asking a volunteer to cease volunteering

Other cases of broken trust between the British Science Association and a volunteer may result in us not being able to involve that volunteer anymore.  Further details can be found in our Problem-Solving and Disputes Resolution Procedure.

Examples include:

  • 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 Association
  • serious negligence which causes or might cause unacceptable loss, damage or injury actions or behaviour that may damage the reputation of the Association

4.6. Safeguarding Children

The purpose of the Safeguarding Children Policy is to ensure that all British Science Association employees, activity providers, partners and volunteers, wherever they may be based, act in a positive way to ensure the safety and protection of children and / or vulnerable adults, understand the importance of child protection in their activities and are aware of the steps they must take to secure this.

This includes:

  • making sure they are wearing British Science Association or other appropriate badges
  • ensuring they are registered upon entering a public space and
  • making sure they are not left in a position where they have unsupervised access to, or responsibility for, children and / or vulnerable adults.

The British Science Association regards as absolutely unacceptable any behaviour in relationships of trust involving children and adults (vulnerable or otherwise) during or after British Science Association activities, that could be construed as:

  • bullying
  • racism
  • uncontrolled anger
  • aggression
  • inappropriate touching
  • sexual behaviour
  • use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs
  • inappropriate offers of transport
  • inappropriate internet, email and other forms of communication including use of social networking sites

Ultimately, any employee, activity provider, partner or volunteer who has strong suspicion or evidence suggesting inappropriate behaviour, must take steps to protect children by:

  • assessing the situation;
  • intervening appropriately to stop it;
  • ensuring the child and / or vulnerable adult is safe and secure until further help is at hand, and
  • reporting the situation to the staff contact or line manager who will then take appropriate action.

The British Science Association takes seriously and will investigate all cases of alleged breaches of the British Science Association Volunteer Policy and Safeguarding Children Policy. Failure to act responsibly in the manner described above may make volunteers subject to the British Science Association’s Volunteer Problem-Solving and Disputes Resolution Procedure, and may lead to the termination of the volunteering placement.

In all cases, no such action will be taken until a full and impartial investigation has been conducted. However, suspension from involvement in British Science Association activities involving children and /or vulnerable adults may be deemed appropriate in certain circumstances whilst an investigation is in process.

Further information

Further information on child protection and police disclosures are available from the NSPCC website, www.nspcc.org.uk, and from the DBS (formerly CRB) website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

Please tick the box below to confirm that you have read and understood the Volunteer Policy.

Volunteer role (if your role is with a branch, please give the branch name)
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