Justice Connect’s new National Volunteer Guide a win for community groups

Volunteer-involving organisations are celebrating today as Justice Connect launches a National Volunteer Guide. The new guide deals with many of the legal issues these community groups deal with every day.

“Every day, Australia’s 600,000 community groups grapple with questions like ‘Can we make payments to our volunteers? What about volunteer insurance? Who owns the copyright in photos taken by our volunteers?’. We’re releasing a guide that answers them,”said Chris Povey, CEO of Justice Connect.

“Nearly nine million Australians volunteer their time every year, from the local surf lifesaving club, to soup kitchens, refugee services and everything between.

“Many, if not most, community groups — including Justice Connect — rely on the efforts of volunteers to be able to do the work they do. Many don’t have the resources they need to be fully across the legal responsibilities they owe to their volunteers.

Helping organisations support volunteers

“That’s why we’ve produced this free, online guide. It will benefit these community groups by giving them the resources they need to help them better manage their volunteers. In turn, it will help volunteers feel supported to make their contribution to their community,” said Mr Povey.

“Every day at Justice Connect, we hear from community organisations. So many of these people are volunteers themselves, with their own questions about the volunteers they support and manage.

The guide provides an overview of the key legal obligations organisations have to their volunteers. It provides practical examples and tips. There are also step-by-step checklists, template documents and sample policies. All are aimed at helping community groups better manage their relationship with their volunteers. It is also accompanied by a number of webinars. You can find them at www.nfplaw.org.au/volunteers.

Understanding volunteer best practice

The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services helped fund Justice Connect to undertake this work. We also consulted closely with Volunteering Australia on the Guide.

Volunteering Australia Acting CEO Lavanya Kala said: “It’s been fantastic to work on the Guide with Justice Connect, ensuring that the legal resources are in line with Volunteering Australia’s National Standards for Volunteer Involvement, the best practice guide for volunteer involvement. These resources fill a key gap for our sector, with many Volunteer Involving Organisations unaware of the protections they have under the law, and the legal obligations they owe their volunteers.”

 

The Guide launches on Wednesday night at the 10th birthday celebration of Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law service, featuring keynote speaker Robert Fitzgerald AM.

Enquiries and interviews – Ed Butler, communications manager, ed.butler@justiceconnect.org.au, 0408 620 385, 03 8636 4476