TeamKinetic

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Tag: volunteer (Page 1 of 2)

Introducing TeamKinetic: James Carr – Could I be d’Artagnan?

Continuing our celebrations of #IVMD17 and the latest update to VolunteerKinetic 7.3, we’d like to introduce our newest addition to the team, James Carr.

Much like d’Artagnan, my journey began by setting out in search of a new beginning.

I was ready for a challenge, using my skills and knowledge to prove myself as capable.

My studies in Sport Management had equipped me with the theoretical knowledge needed and a handful of short-term internships had given me the practical opportunity to apply it. I enjoyed the dynamic nature of marketing, from understanding the needs of the target audience to creating strategise and analysing results. I also realised how important it was for me to believe in the company, its purpose and values.

When I was invited to an interview at a small business office in Manchester for the role of Marketing Coordinator, I knew such an opportunity had arrived.

Despite all my preparation, on the morning of the interview, my apprehension began to build. With clammy hands, a dry mouth and my collar feeling like it had shrunk an inch since setting off that morning; I eventually arrived at the entrance.

The moment I met the three men who greeted me I relaxed. Perhaps it was their warm welcomes, the light-hearted small talk or just the overall friendliness of these guys that made me so at ease. As we spoke I realised that their work was more than just a job. Collectively they were driven by the goal of delivering a product focused on: building better communities through volunteering.

Of course, those “three men” were TeamKinetic – Chris, Rolf and Steve!

Thankfully, our introductions skipped any duels! In a short space of time, I gained a real understanding of their camaraderie, the crucial role each played and the extensive knowledge that each possessed in understanding their client’s needs.

In the interview, I shared my vision for a  Boxing Club at the University and the story of how I turnt it into a reality.

I coached my club each week, drilling them on technique, fitness and skill. My success measured by the numbering regulars and increasing new members who turned up. I learnt the importance of organisation, communication and leadership.  My experience volunteering equipped me with skills I had never considered before, which I now hold to be invaluable.

Like me, TeamKinetic had their own vision. They wanted to enhance the ability of volunteers managers with a system that engaged volunteers, made their management simpler and more intelligent. Although they had already been working hard to make this possible, they needed someone to help market their brilliant product.

This was certainly something I could do. Thankfully, they thought so too!

Since settling into the team I have learnt so much more about those who make TeamKinetic possible. I have also had the opportunity to speak to some of their clients, who expressed how much they like working with TeamKinetic and their application.

Now my role is to support the company through marketing the great
service they deliver for the likes of Manchester City Council Council, Glasglow Volunteer Centre and Cardiff Metropolitan University.

With a real love of sport, volunteering and marketing, I am excited to begin this opportunity alongside everyone at TeamKinetic.

“All for one; one for all.”

James Carr

Marketing Coordinator

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to contact me at:

james@teamkinetic.co.uk

Volunteer clinic provides care, supplies to Special Olympics athletes – LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-adv-healthy-special-olympics-20150731-story.html

The Special Olympics is truly a bona-fide international event but it’s athletes often require a little more care and attention.  This article gives a great example of how professional services for events of this nature can be safely provided by the voluntary sector.

If you have a story about Volunteers providing a service in exceptional circumstances we would love to hear.  Get in touch at info@smarterindesign.com.

Is it time to look at the third sector afresh?

http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/06/it-time-look-third-sector-afresh#comment-544311

The role of the 3rd Sector in the delivery of Health and Social care may be the only long term way to ensure some services survive.  This fantastic article from Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive, Lancashire Women’s Centres outlines some of the major problems but also shed some light on the potential benefits.

 

 

How do we best define and articulate the role of the voluntary sector in health and social care? I’ve been asking myself that question increasingly regularly.

I run Lancashire Women’s Centres – a medium-sized regional charity working across a number of areas, including health, social care and criminal justice. As well as being a charity, we are also a company, a provider delivering NHS contracts and part of a private-sector-led criminal justice supply chain. The boundaries between the sectors are so blurred they’re becoming hard to see. However, we retain at our heart a set of core values to offer the best services to the most vulnerable in our communities and to have the basic aim of putting ourselves out of business by not being needed any more.

In 2013, Lancashire Women’s Centres was the overall winner of the GSK IMPACT Awards, funded by GSK and run in partnership with The King’s Fund and awarded annually to recognise and reward charities doing excellent work to improve people’s health. One of the key benefits of winning this award is the opportunity to join a growing and formidable network of past winners. As a group, we regularly get together to build our leadership skills, to share challenges and solutions and to shape our relationship with The King’s Fund, the NHS and the wider health and social care system. The knowledge and expertise we bring from running a range of successful health charities is there for commissioners and policy-makers to use and draw from. But how far is this expertise recognised?

The external environment since we won has changed fairly dramatically, with integration of health and social care becoming one of the key challenges to be addressed by the NHS five year forward view. However, despite the recognition in the Forward View that ‘voluntary organisations often have an impact well beyond what statutory services alone can achieve’, from the discussions we’ve had locally and nationally, it appears that the third sector is still poorly represented in successful integrated partnerships. Why is that? How do we better articulate our ‘offer’ and how it fits into an integrated model?

There are some considerable barriers to integration. Looking from the sidelines I see the practical issues – pay scales, organisational culture, information-sharing and measurement to name a few – which mean local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have difficult conversations ahead. Bringing volunteers into the picture as recognised assets who will support outcomes in health and social care and add to workforce capacity is only just starting to happen.

When thinking about writing this blog, I hosted a roundtable for local health leaders from CCGs and public health – to gauge their view of the sector and understand how they saw us fitting into the developing plans. It was apparent that there is a definite appetite and willingness to engage with the third sector, although lots of energy has been spent trying to find a single point of contact, which seems to be causing some paralysis. Working through consortia and partnerships goes some way to addressing this, but I wonder if the same would be asked of the private sector?

Much of the third sector is well able to operate with maturity in a competitive market place. The skills and delivery models within the sector go far beyond delivering volunteer-led services to older people, vital though this work is. Third sector organisations provide flexible and diverse services within health and social care, reaching and benefiting communities often most distanced from statutory services.

I would like third sector organisations to be treated as providers that are already modelling integrated commissioning. Lancashire Women’s Centres work holistically across silos to reduce individuals’ vulnerability and help them to reach their potential. If you help someone to free themselves from debt, improve their literacy, live safely without fear of abuse, then as a consequence their health improves, their management of their long-term conditions improves, their attendance at A&E reduces, and their risk of suicide decreases. Commissioners are starting to understand that.

There is a view that what the third sector offers can be replicated and driven from inside the NHS, that community programmes can be bolted onto clinical services. I would argue this is the wrong way round and is the most expensive option; I advocate getting clinicians out and into communities. My vision for Lancashire Women’s Centres over the next couple of years is for us to have access to GPs that ‘belong’ to the service users – who will be able to prescribe medication or send for X-ray in a responsive way that fits those with complex needs who might not turn up for an appointment because they are scared to go out in case the bailiffs come, or are so wracked with anxiety they can’t get out of the door.

So let the third sector be round the table when plans for communities are being shaped – we understand this is no guarantee of future funding, but we have links to communities and patients that can help shape services in new ways.

 

 

RECRUITING AND RETAINING STUDENT VOLUNTEERS: FIVE TOP TIPS

Kathryn Edwards is NCVO’s volunteering development team assistant. She assists with projects supporting NCVO’s work on volunteer management and good practice and plays a key role in helping to organise Volunteers Week. Kathryn also supports the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard, working with organisations attaining the standard.

NCVO Original Article Here

This week we celebrate Student Volunteering Week. This is a great time to recognise their significant contribution to the wider community, and to pay special attention to them as an invaluable source of time, talent, skills and creativity.

Having proudly volunteered and worked within a student volunteering charity, I’ve seen the extent of the role that student volunteers play throughout a city’s volunteering infrastructure. There were many essential roles fulfilled by diverse and energetic student volunteers, mostly benefiting people outside of their university. Research by IVR shows that 95% of student volunteers are motivated by a desire to improve things or help people, ranking higher than developing skills (88%) and gaining work experience (83%).

My top tips for involving student volunteers in your organisation.

1. Getting the opportunities right

Student volunteers have differing requirements, whether that is time commitments, varying skills or interests. Providing a broad range of opportunities will help you to recruit and retain them.

Be aware of their academic timetable and provide opportunities outside of the normal working day.

An NUS report states that the main barrier for students who do not currently volunteer was not having enough time; students said they would like to see more one-off opportunities to encourage them to volunteer. Student Volunteering Week is a perfect time to run one-off ormicro volunteering to give potential volunteers a quick snap shot of volunteering with your organisation and could potentially lead to students volunteering on a regular basis.

2. Create opportunities that develop skills

Think about what skills and experience the volunteer will need and gain from particular opportunities and include this within the volunteer role descriptions.

Even though a large majority of student volunteers are motivated by the desire to make a difference, developing their skills and getting work experience in meaningful roles is key to attracting student volunteers.

Opportunities that have skills which link with their academic course may seem more appealing to potential volunteers. The NUS report states that 40% of students said that education institutions linking volunteering opportunities to their course or academic qualification would encourage them to do more volunteering.

3. Provide clear and accurate role descriptions

Volunteer role descriptions must provide an accurate idea of the work the volunteer will be doing to avoid any misunderstanding. It should identify why the role is needed and the benefits to both the volunteer and the organisation as identified in the Investing in Volunteers standard.

Think about how you might adapt a role to meet the volunteer’s skills and requirements. Being able to provide materials in alternative formats, for example, audio and easy to read versions, can be extremely useful when trying to engage a diverse range of volunteers – which leads me on to…

4. Engage a diverse range of student volunteers

Think carefully about where you promote your volunteering opportunities. Is there a volunteering hub within the university/union to promote your opportunity? If not, try and build relationships with the Student Union and departments within the university to engage a diverse audience. Look at promoting in shops, cafes, libraries, magazines and newspapers that students regularly use and read. Think about the different groups and activities they might be involved in.

You could also work with existing student volunteers to spread the word. Ambassadors can provide real examples of their volunteering experiences and can help to produce creative recruitment messages that appeals to that audience. Using social media can help to share these messages through stories, photos and videos, and are a powerful way to inspire, engage and sustain student’s social action.

NUS research shows almost half of all students found out about volunteering opportunities through friends and family, with their place of study the second most common source of finding out about volunteering opportunities.

5. Support your student volunteers

Support and consistent communication is key to retaining volunteers. Volunteers should be provided with:

  • a point of contact
  • the opportunity to attend regular supervisions
  • group meetings.

This also provides an opportunity to regularly recognise the contribution they have made.

In order to retain volunteers, they must feel valued and supported. The quality of support and communication they receive can determine how effective they will be as a volunteer.

Work with volunteers to clarify their interests and what they would like to gain from volunteering – this will help you to offer them the right kind of role and opportunities to develop.

 

 

David Cameron’s Big Society volunteering plan and what it might mean for you.

imgID15611225.jpg-pwrt2Half of the UK workforce would be given three days’ paid leave each year to volunteer, under Conservative plans unveiled on Friday.  Every public sector worker and anyone working in a company with at least 250 employees – more than 15 million people in total – would be entitled to the volunteering leave, David Cameron announced.  The Prime Minister said the pledge is “clearest demonstration of the Big Society in action”.

A series of high profile business figures welcomed the new plans for paid volunteering leave.

Mike Rake, chairman of BT, went one further than the Prime Minister, describing corporate volunteering as a “triple win”. He said it was “a win for the community, a win for individuals doing the volunteering, and a win for companies”.

“We welcome the Prime Minister reminding us of the importance of business to society,” he added.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, the professional body for the HR industry, said: “Our research shows that corporate volunteering benefits society, as well as businesses through building stronger roots with the communities they work in and serve, and engaging and developing new skills in their employees. It’s great to see this agenda being championed.”

John Cridland, Director General of the CBI: “Businesses encourage their employees to volunteer in the community and should do even more to increase this. It is a win win for everyone concerned”

Bear Grylls, the adventurer and TV presenter, also backed the plans, saying: “Firm Government support that enables millions to volunteer is a huge step forward towards building solid communities all around the UK.”

However, not everyone supported the idea. Lisa Nandy, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Civil Society, said: “Giving every public servant three extra days off could cost millions of pounds but there’s no sense of how it will be paid for. If just half of public sector workers took this up it would be the time equivalent of around 2,000 nurses, 800 police and almost 3,000 teachers.”

Some business groups are in little doubt that the policy will hit companies’ bottom lines. As Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, put it:

“Businesses should support their staff if they want to volunteer, but the architects of this idea cannot pretend that forcing firms to give an additional three days of paid leave will do anything other than add costs.  This announcement not only undermines the Tory record on reducing business regulation, it also puts additional pressure on public sector employers, and ultimately the taxpayer. Frankly, the essence of volunteering is that it is voluntary. The IoD would welcome proposals to incentivise and make it easier for companies to facilitate volunteering, but it has to be a choice.”

Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, was even more trenchant in his critique the Conservative’ latest plan to increase volunteering:

“This is another example of politicians imposing burdens on business and taxpayers for the sake of sounding caring. At a time when everyone is telling us that the NHS and other services are overstretched, the idea that it should be a priority to allow public sector employees to take three days off for volunteering elsewhere, funded by the taxpayer, is ludicrous.”

What does it mean for the voluntary sector? Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, and Asheem Singh, director of public policy at Acevo, think this is a exciting proposal for the voluntary sector and businesses.

Etherington said: “Many charities urgently need more volunteers to support their work, while volunteering is an excellent way for employees to develop skills and confidence that will benefit their employers. Anything that helps encourage our culture of volunteering is very welcome. We look forward to seeing the detail of the proposal.”

Singh said: “It recognises the crucial role of charities in building a better society. The workplace is a new frontier for social action, and this new legal right will help support a new generation of socially responsible citizens.”

However, some people on Twitter question the Conservatives’ agenda with this policy, arguing that it is just another way to fill gaps in public services.

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive of CSV, said: “As an organisation with an established employee volunteering programme, we know the benefits to employees, the workplace and communities.”

She does, however, argue that: “If this policy is to be implemented, it highlights the need to invest in volunteering organisations so that the best use is made of employees’ skills and interests when they do volunteer.”

The key question is how to make all this work for the charities – traditional team building initiatives (such as fence painting) can be a drain rather than a boost so the challenge is to design something more meaningful that can be completed in three days. Most successful schemes take a lot of resource to set up well and often a broker is required to develop something that is mutually beneficial for both businesses and charities.  Volunteering in a more collaborative and flexible way, for example allowing employees to choose causes they care most about, or being able to ‘pool’ their volunteering days. That way the volunteering has greater impact on the charity, is more engaging for the volunteer – and yields greater benefits for the business will be key to this policy leading to Volunteers rather than the Volun-told.  It seems certain that the Big Society is still very much a controversial subject.

A summary of all the others, Liberal Democrats and UKIP

Our final article on the Manifestos, and I must say I’m glad we only have an election every 5 years!  This is a very brief summary of the main policy points we think you in the Voluntary will want to know about.  Lets start with the the Lib Dems.

The Liberals have strong theme of support for social action and community rights throughout the the manifesto.  Ruth Driscoll, Head of policy and public Services at the NCVO welcomes “their focus on early intervention” “which would better support vulnerable people and would lead to long-term cost saving”

Improved incentives for work programme providers, many of which are voluntary organisations.  To update the Lobbying act to draw on Lord Hodgson’s work is also seen are very positive.

The manifesto recognises the value of the public having a voice in decision-making.  The voluntary sectors role in providing and enabling this must be protected through it is not clear how this will be done.

UKIP have said they would like to energise the voluntary sector in the build up to this manifesto, but what does that mean.  They are committed to scrap National Citizen service, repeal international Aid, reduce the cabinet office spend on ‘big society projects’ and scrap the Defra Waste resource action project.  They believe this will save £250 million in the first year.

They would replace these projects with the funding of 800 Food bank and local advice centres, a veterans administration that would coordinate the work of existing charities and most interesting is the funding of “community agents and the voluntary sector” although detail is very thin on the ground.

They also claim that by leaving the EU they would be able to offer more VAT relief to charitable organisations on some services and products.

What is clear, all parties recognise the importance of the voluntary sector, especially in a time of economic difficulty and for the poorest in society.  There does seem to be some real difference’s in how they think the sector should be funded and governed, and the role of government in that process.  Who ever wins, I think the sector is going to see even greater change over the next parliament and will need to ready to adapt.

 

 

 

 

The Labour Manifesto – what does it mean for volunteering

With the dEd+Miliband+Speech+Scottish+Labour+Party+Conference+XyWH-NPlU5ilust starting to settle and people having time to digest all the promises we look at some of the key areas of the Labour manifesto and what it might mean for Volunteers.

A Labour plan to bring back guaranteed childcare from 8am to 6pm in all primary schools has made it into the party’s manifesto.  First mooted in September 2013 the policy had since been sidelined as the party focused on criticising unqualified teachers and opposing the government’s free schools programme.  But “wraparound childcare” is back on the agenda. A single sentence in Labour’s education manifesto, released last week, has become an entire paragraph in the party’s main manifesto, launched today in Manchester.

“We will help families by expanding free childcare from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents of three and four-year-olds, paid for with an increase in the bank levy. We will also introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school. As well as helping parents, this will provide children with before and after-school clubs and activities, helping to raise their aspirations and attainment. This will be underpinned by a new National Primary Childcare Service, a not for profit organisation to promote the voluntary and charitable delivery of quality extracurricular activities.”

Most interesting is the final point which refers to this provision being provided by the voluntary and charitable sector, although detail is thin on the ground right now it would appear that Labour are keen to see the existing 3rd sector providers meet this demand but it does not explain how this will be funded.  With many schools already offering extensive activities and providing some type of service it is unclear how the National Primary Childcare Service will actually operate.

Asheem Singh, Director of Public Policy at the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the UK’s largest trade body for charity and social enterprise leaders said:

“Charities and social enterprises will be most excited by the Labour promise to repeal the lobbying act. When politicians voted to restrict the amount grass roots campaign groups could spend on campaigns in this election year while voting at the same time to raise the amount that politicians could spend on their own campaigns, a basic principle of decency and democracy was violated. At ACEVO we are pleased that our sector’s persistence and the argument of our manifesto ‘Free Society’ has been accepted. We look forward to this injustice being rectified, ideally in the first hundred days of the new parliament, whoever wins the election.”

The Lobbying Act reduces the amount grass roots campaigners can spend in an election year by 60%. Earlier this year politicians voted themselves a 23% rise in the amount they could spend during the campaign.

Labour’s commitment to early intervention and preventative, community care is welcome and it is only through proper partnership with state and community providers that we can make a difference on a community basis. Labour have committed to pooled budgets that bring health and care together; but more detail is needed to see how this might be delivered on a community by community basis and what this might mean for the voluntary sector providers.

Labour’s proposals to localise public services and get funding to organisations that deliver social value through regional banks are welcome news to the sector but will require more detail. Localism has three dimensions – economic, constitutional and public service based evidence suggests that detailed policy is needed on all three if  excellent services with a plurality of providers can be delivered.

What is really becoming clear is that both parties see a growing role for the voluntary sector in the next parliament which is sure to see a continuation of budget cuts and austerity which ever party wins.  Both main parties have recognised the importance of an active voluntary sector to protect some of those public services.  Volunteers and volunteer organisations must wake up to the new politics of the 21st century where they play and ever more important role.

 

 

What type of Volunteer are you?

On our hunt for stuff to make Volunteering more fun and accessible we found this interesting site from Volunteer Canada. Check it out and see what type of Volunteer you are.

By: Noor Elh, Volunteer

published at

http://volunteer.ca/blog/what-kind-volunteer-are-you-anyway-tout-compte-fait-quel-type-de-b-n-vole-tes-vous

Have you ever wanted to volunteer, but weren’t sure how to start? Do you wonder where you would thrive and the kind of work you would enjoy? Finding the volunteer position that fits you, your passions and personality type can be tricky.

Discover your inner volunteer with the Volunteer Quiz (VQ), developed by Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial.

Having volunteered for over 4 years, I came across the VQ – the only test for assessing volunteer types online. Unfamiliar with different VQ personalities, I was curious to learn what kind of volunteer I might be!

The VQ identifies six types of volunteers: Cameo, Groupie, Juggler, Rookie, Roving Consultant and Type A. It also helps you find volunteer opportunities based on your type and location.

There are questions about your dream job, your personal wish list for the world and hypothetical scenarios that require a deeper introspection. The VQ asks you to consider your personal and social qualities, how you deal with others and how you handle conflict, among other questions.

My result: Type A volunteer. I’m “a multi-tasking leader who says yes often and means it.” I’m productive, an influencer and a mentor. Interestingly, it’s a description I have heard from previous colleagues and supervisors.

My favourite part was the advice on things to consider (in light of knowing your type) before volunteering with an organization. As a Type A volunteer, the VQ suggested that I avoid volunteer opportunities that “assist,” and focus on openings with the words “lead” and “develop.” The quiz also identified my passion: International Development. Having volunteered in over five countries, it was spot on!

Finally, it was time to receive my “Volunteer Matches,” customized to my volunteer type and location. I got a list of over 40 different opportunities nearby PLUS 70 other virtual opportunities available from anywhere.

And hey, don’t worry – if you feel that you’ve been incorrectly assessed, you can always hit the Start Over button!

– See more at: http://volunteer.ca/blog/what-kind-volunteer-are-you-anyway-tout-compte-fait-quel-type-de-b-n-vole-tes-vous#sthash.tukVjWoJ.dpuf

Safer Internet Day and Volunteer Kinetic

http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-620/h–/q-95/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/2/9/1423486471808/31296a3f-9b2a-4ff2-a893-4581c5969d94-620×372.jpeg

VolunteerKinetic are proud to be part of Safer Internet day.  With just under a 1/3 of 11-16 years olds saying they have experience cruel behaviour on-line we wanted to take this opportunity to offer this advice when using VolunteerKinetic.

1.  Never meet anyone you speak to on the internet on your own, with out being very sure they are who they say they are.  If you are unsure contact the administrator and they can check for you.

2.  Don’t share extra personal information.  All the information the Opportunity provider needs is provided by the system.

3.  If you feel threatened or unsafe at any time using the Volunteer site, attending an opportunity or about any feedback left about your time Volunteering, contact the administrator immediately, it is confidential and they will listen to your concerns.

4.  Always make sure some one knows where you have gone to Volunteer.

If you follow these simple rules we think you should be safe and have a great Volunteer experience, but if you don’t, please tell and we can see what we can do.

Share your support with #Up2Us or #SID2015.

 

 

Police budget cuts: unpaid volunteers now used in key roles

Forces are taking on helpers for forensics and at crime scenes as cuts bite, says union

Police using Volunteers for key jobs (Guardian 19/10/14)

Daniel Boffey
The Observer, Saturday 18 October 2014 21.20 BST

police image for blog

Beat officers: Police on crowd control at a property fair at Olympia, London, last week.

Their numbers have been cut by 20% in recent years. Photograph: STEFAN WERMUTH/REUTERS

Police forces are quietly taking on unpaid volunteers as scene of crime investigators, forensic experts and emergency planning officers as 20%budget cuts bite, it can be revealed.
Forces across the country have been taking on volunteers to fill some of the most sensitive police staff roles and some are seeking to escalate their recruitment drives. There are now 9,000 police support volunteers replacing 15,000 staff jobs lost since 2010. Some forces report plans to double or triple their voluntary staff in the next year.

A report by the public sector union, Unison, due to be published on Monday, complains that there has been no public debate about the trend for volunteers to move from peripheral roles, such as chaplain or custody visitors, to key positions. Home Office guidance on police support officers stipulates that volunteers should not under any circumstance replace the roles of directly employed police staff. Yet responses to Unison’s freedom of information requests provide a long list of job roles carried out by volunteers, many of which have been or are paid roles. These include involvement in forensics, crime scenes, the drug testing of people in custody, emergency planning, property detention, deployment management and the provision of scientific support.

The authors of the union’s report, Home Guard of Police Support Volunteers to Fill in for Police Cuts, write: “The idea of police volunteers has a long history in the shape of neighbourhood watch and the special constabulary. However, the recent rapid rise in the number, and the exponential growth in the roles of police support volunteers, breaks any consensus that may have existed around volunteering for, or with, the police. The impact of the cuts on the police staff workforce has been particularly savage, with 15,000 jobs being cut across forces between 2010 and 2014.

“In this new era of scarce resources, holding to the historic Home Office principles for volunteering schemes has become that much harder. In this report, Unison suggests that these ground rules are now being regularly breached and are in need of urgent review.”

The forces reporting the highest number of volunteers are Thames Valley with 70,459, Surrey with 32,000 and West Yorkshire with 19,432, although Unison say that they do not have an issue with many of the roles filled.

The report also reveals that there have been moves by some within the College of Policing to introduce unpaid police community support officers (PCSOs). Lincolnshire and Northampton police forces were said to be willing to pilot the proposal. PCSOs are civilian members of police staff employed as a uniformed non-warranted officer. Pay for PCSOs varies from force to force from between around £16,000 to around £27,000 a year, but there have been widespread redundancies in recent years.

Unison say that with the support of others within the college, the idea of supplementing their ranks with unpaid volunteers had been blocked for now, but they warn of “a worrying trend”.

The revelation comes as police staff in England and Wales, including community support officers and fingerprint officers, are to be balloted for industrial action in protest at a 1% pay offer.

Last week unions representing civilian staff said they were angry that after a two-year pay freeze they were being subjected to the same restrictions as other public sector workers. NHS staff, including midwives and nurses, went on strike on Monday.

Deputy chief constable Martin Jelley at Northamptonshire Police, which is doubling its voluntary staff to 1,000, and where some volunteers are employed in forensics or intelligence, said: “We have many volunteers who assist us in a wide variety of ways, as do many other organisations; they provide important support to our officers and staff, helping keep our communities safe.” Policing minister Mike Penning said the deployment of volunteers was the responsibility of each force. He said: “This flexible approach allows forces to respond to the individual needs and priorities of their local communities.”

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