SWiB Volunteer Policy


Background Information

SWiB was established in 2007 by the Plymouth Barbican Association (PBA). The core work of the PBA is to acquire, preserve and manage a growing portfolio of historic properties in the City. The PBA is a charity made up of a voluntary board of directors who oversee the management of the archive under the care and supervision of a qualified Archivist as their appointed Archive Manager (AM).

SWiB is a community photographic archive working to acquire, preserve and make accessible records pertaining to the visual heritage of the South West region. The core objective of the archive is to advance the education of the public by encouraging and promoting the study and knowledge of the records they have been entrusted to care for with special reference to the South West.

The growing SWiB collections contain original records from the 1880s to the present day as well as complementary records to further enhance understanding of the main collections. The collections are in a variety of forms, including lantern slides, glass plates, negative transparencies, albums and prints as well as modern digital records.

The Role of the Volunteer

Volunteers are a vitally important part of the SWiB service. Without the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers, much less would be achieved in order to meet our objectives. At SWiB, volunteers undertake activity in a variety of areas including administration, collection-based work, preservation and public enquiry assistance. The overall responsibility for all volunteers rests with the Archive Manager however a special SWiB Project Team Committee (SPTC) has been established made up of seven volunteers nominated by the collective team. The SPTC will help develop the archive, evaluate and measure ongoing service outcomes and will support the proposed Project Outreach Assistant (POA) in their work to further advance the accessibility of the archive to the wider public. The POA will liaise directly with the SPTC and with the AM.

Application Process

Vacancies for volunteering positions will be posted on the SWiB website. The vacancies will include details of what the role involves, the time commitment it requires, the skills applicants may need and any Health and Safety issues they need to be aware of. The vacancy will also include details of the main contact at the archive for this role.

Applicants for a role will be asked to arrange a suitable day in which to visit the archive to meet with the AM to discuss their needs and expectations. This will enable the applicant an opportunity to benefit from pre-volunteering experience into the standard working practices of the archive. This will also help the AM determine whether the applicant is suitable in consideration of the existing team and whether their needs and expectations can be met. A pre-induction form will be completed outlining those needs and expectations and will form the basis of their individual learning plan. A confidential individual volunteer folder will be created to store all forms relating to the applicant including necessary contact details.

Once the applicant has confirmed their interest, the AM will arrange a start-up induction session with the new volunteer.

At the induction session, the new volunteer will undertake a health and safety check and a tour will be given of the archive to ensure full understanding of the potential risks and hazards identified during the health and safety risk assessment. Both the volunteer and AM will sign the Health and Safety induction form which will be added to the volunteer folder along with all other documentation.

The volunteer will then be given a copy of their volunteer pack containing the Volunteer Agreement, Volunteer Policy outlining our expectations of our volunteers and commitment to them. The volunteer will be encouraged to read through this pack and feedback to the AM if there are any concerns.

Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers

SWiB Diversity Statement:
Our organisation is firmly committed to diversity in all areas of its work. We believe that we have much to learn and profit from diverse cultures and perspectives, and that diversity will make our organisation more effective in meeting the needs of all our audiences. We are committed to developing and maintaining an organisation in which differing ideas, abilities, backgrounds and needs are fostered and valued, and where those with diverse backgrounds and experiences are able to participate and contribute. We will regularly evaluate and monitor our progress towards diversity.

Equal opportunities will be adhered to when recruiting and selecting volunteers. Every effort will be made to match the volunteer’s skills, talents and interests to the task. Some tasks can be undertaken without any previous experience as training and supervision are provided. There are, however, certain tasks which require certain levels of physical ability, previous experience and knowledge. If an applicant accepts a volunteering role this will be subject to a one month trial period during which time the volunteer and the AM can assess progress and make appropriate adjustments or end the placement. Volunteer recruitment procedures will be subject to regular review.

Reference Checks

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks may be required for volunteers if their work will bring them into contact with children or vulnerable adults. All new applicants will be advised that CRB checking might be required.


Volunteers are expected to give as much or as little time as they consider appropriate to them. Each vacancy will list the time, commitment, the role and the needs required to fulfil it.

Refer to the internal Volunteer Profiles for specific task based details.

Rights of Volunteers
• To know what is expected and to be given clear information
• To have clearly specified lines of supervision
• To receive a level of support appropriate to the role
• To receive appropriate induction and training
• Experience personal development through participation
• To be shown appreciation
• To be able to say ‘no’
• To know what their rights are if things go wrong
• To take part in the organisation
• To have safe working conditions
• To be insured
• To be free of discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexuality, disability, age
• To withdraw from voluntary work.

Responsibilities of Volunteers
• To give a reasonable and sustainable level of commitment
• To do the job reliably and safely
• To carry out tasks in a way which corresponds to the aims and values of the SWiB
• To be honest if there are problems
• To attend training and support sessions
• To comply with existing policies and procedures
• To take responsibility for their own personal health and safety
• To supply current contact details and notify SWiB of any changes
• To maintain confidentiality at all times.


Volunteers are expected to use the facilities of the SWiB. If they have occasion to use their own or a public telephone or purchase materials on behalf of SWiB these costs will be reimbursed. Expenses resulting from excursions, activities or other events organised by the archive involving volunteers which fall outside their agreed commitment will be fully reimbursed. Receipts must be provided. SWiB reserves the right to review and alter expenses entitlement at any time.

Use of keys and security codes

Volunteers are not permitted to claim keys unless a particular need has been proven and they have been authorised to do so by the AM. It should not be necessary for volunteers to need keys as they will be supervised by a member of staff. Volunteers will only be given necessary security codes to gain access to areas of unsupervised activity.


Volunteers, whilst undertaking work on behalf of SWiB, are covered by its insurance policies. This includes employer’s liability and public liability. If a volunteer uses their own car for official SWiB business (outside the normal travelling to and from the workplace on duty days) they should inform their insurance company that they are doing so. Private cars are not covered by SWiB’s insurance.


SWiB ensures that all volunteers are adequately supervised. When they begin at SWiB, new volunteers meet the main contact to get to know each other and both are encouraged to develop a good relationship. There are occasions and tasks where minimal supervision is required, depending upon the skill and experience of the volunteer. If a volunteer feels they are not being adequately supervised, they are encouraged to discuss this with the AM.

Support / Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

SWiB firmly believes that it has a duty to provide ongoing support for its volunteers. This is done through regular meetings between the volunteer and the supervising member of staff to discuss their progress, training needs (if appropriate) and any other issues. If any volunteer has a particular problem or concern a member of staff/volunteer the AM will be available to talk to them.

Relationships with other staff

Steps will be taken to ensure that staff at all levels are clear about the role of volunteers, and that good working relationships are fostered between paid staff, directors, support partners and volunteers. Appropriate training, support and resources will be provided for all those who work alongside volunteers and for those who have a managerial role in relation to volunteers. The roles of volunteers and paid staff will be complementary and mutually supportive.
Monitoring and Evaluation

This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure that it is still appropriate to the needs of SWiB and its volunteers. Volunteers and the SWiB Project Team Committee will be asked to contribute to this review. Between the annual reviews everyone who is involved, staff and volunteers, is expected to monitor its use – comments should be passed in the first instance to Stacey Dyer (Archive Manager)

SD / 27/09/2010


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