A guide to completing the Volunteer Certificate Standards

Overall goal of the Volunteer Certificate Standards

The introduction of the Volunteer Certificate Standards will provide evidence that the people who volunteer in the organisation have been assessed against a specific set of standards. This will allow the volunteer to demonstrate that they have skills, knowledge and behaviours to enable them to volunteer safely and effectively.

  • The standards cover the areas which are common to volunteers and will ensure that any volunteer has received appropriate training for them to perform their role.
  • The Volunteer Certificate Standards have been mapped to the Care Certificate and modules within the Apprenticeship Framework to allow portability and credit transfer.

The Volunteer Certificate Standards

Mandatory units

  • Standard 1: Your role and responsibility
  • Standard 2: Communication
  • Standard 3: Respect for everyone (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion)
  • Standard 4: Safeguarding
  • Standard 5: Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disability
  • Standard 6: Health and Safety

Optional units

  • Standard 7: Fluids and nutrition
  • Standard 8: Basic Life Support
  • Standard 9: Moving and assisting

The Volunteer Certificate Standards in context

Each volunteer starting in a new role will undergo an organisation specific induction. Some of this induction will meet some of the outcomes of the Volunteer Certificate Standards. However additional learning will need to take place to fully meet all of the standards. The timeframe that this is expected to be achieved will be determined in some part by the amount of time the individual spends in a volunteer role. Most people volunteer on a part time basis, but it is anticipated that the Volunteer Certificate Standards could be met within reasonable timeframe as determined by the employer. The Volunteer Certificate Standards are not intended to replace the organisation’s induction but will go some way to demonstrating that relevant learning is put into practice.

Assessment

The Assessor is the person responsible for making the decision on whether the volunteer has met the Volunteer Certificate Standards. However, the assessor may differ between standards and may not necessarily be the same person for each standard. This is particularly so for standards such as Basic Life Support which are assessed by the trainer. The person responsible for managing volunteers may not necessarily work with them in their volunteer role in which case another member of the team may be called upon to assess the volunteer. There is no requirement for assessors of the Volunteer Certificate Standards to hold an assessor qualification. However, the employer and manager of the volunteer must be confident that the person assessing the volunteer is competent and confident to assess and knows and understands the standards they are assessing against.

The assessment of the Volunteer Certificate Standards should be as rigorous as the assessment of any formal qualification. The volunteer can’t ‘have some knowledge’ and meet the standards.

Evidence must be:

  • Valid – relevant to the standards for which competence is claimed
  • Authentic – produced by the volunteer
  • Current – sufficiently recent for the assessor to be confident that the volunteer still has that same level of knowledge
  • Reliable – genuinely representative of the volunteer’s knowledge and skills
  • Sufficient – meets in full the requirements of the standards. The evidence is sufficient when the assessor is confident that the volunteer has met the standard.

Assessment of performance

The Volunteer Certificate Standards clearly state what the expectation is in regard to the performance of the volunteer. As a result of their knowledge and understanding they should be able to competently function in the volunteer role. Some assessment of performance may be necessary in order to ensure that the volunteer is using the knowledge they have gained in order to volunteer in a safe manner. The evidence must come from real volunteering activity and not be simulated (except in the case of Basic Life Support).  The assessor may want to seek the views of others when making a judgement on the performance of the volunteer. However, the final decision will lie with the assessor.

Assessment of knowledge and understanding

There is no ‘best way’ to assess. Each assessment should be appropriate to the volunteer’s setting, the volunteer and the Volunteer Certificate Standard outcomes. Similarly, there is no maximum number of attempts. However, it is for the organisation to determine what is appropriate and what action to take if a volunteer is not able to meet the Volunteer Certificate Standards. The assessor can use a range of methods to determine whether the volunteer has met the standards including observation and answering questions. Certificates of attendance on study days and e-learning without some form of knowledge assessment is not evidence. These can be used however through question and answer to determine what the volunteer has learned.

Holistic assessment

Whilst each of the Volunteer Certificate Standards is independent, they are also in many instances inter-related. Communication is a good example of this. It is a standard in its own right, but communication is also part and parcel of other volunteering activities. This means that the same evidence can be used to meet more than one standard. It is much better for the volunteer and much more efficient to use an holistic approach to assessment.

It may be possible for the volunteer to use some of the evidence generated for the Volunteer Certificate Standards to be used towards the achievement of Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and Apprenticeships.

Recording assessment decisions

Documentation of the assessment and evidence of practice is the responsibility of the volunteer and the employer. The evidence may be recorded in a portfolio, in a workbook or online for example. It will also be a place where volunteers can document their continuing training and education. It is useful to record assessment information from peers and supervisors. It could include feedback from service users as part of an ongoing development process.

Recording assessment decisions

Documentation of the assessment and evidence of practice is the responsibility of the volunteer and the employer. The evidence may be recorded in a portfolio, in a workbook or online for example. It will also be a place where volunteers can document their continuing training and education. It is useful to record assessment information from peers and supervisors. It could include feedback from service users as part of an ongoing development process.

Ways in which the standards could be assessed

All standards
AreaThe volunteer:Assessment:

All areas

Knows and understands:

  • All aspects of knowledge and understanding

 

  • The assessment can be undertaken on a 1:1 with the volunteer or as group work. Evidence to meet these criteria can be provided through:
    ●   Completion of eLearning
    ●   Organisation induction
    ●   Personal reflections
    ●   1:1 discussion
    ●   Group exercise
Is able to:

  • All aspects of performance

 

  • The assessment needs to be observed in the workplace as part of the volunteer’s normal duties.
  • You will record your assessment decision on the documentation used in your workplace e.g. in a workbook/ portfolio.