An Oxford City Council team has become one of just four organisations in Oxford to have received a prestigious accreditation for the way it looks after volunteers.
The City Council’s Community Services team received the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard earlier this month (August).
The standard recognises the team as having best practice in terms of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers.
The 200-strong Community Services team works across a range of areas, including managing community centres, sports and leisure facilities, green spaces and wildlife reserves, the Museum of Oxford, culture and events, youth work, and sports activities.
The team has about 200 volunteers, whose work ranges from acting as guides at the Museum of Oxford and providing support at community centres, to contributing to the upkeep of nature reserves and parks and helping out at events such as the Oxford Christmas Light Festival and Dancin’ Oxford.
The accreditation involved standardising volunteering best practice across the Community Services team.
The accreditation is based on four areas: planning for volunteer involvement, recruiting volunteers, selecting and matching volunteers to roles, and supporting and retaining volunteers.
The Community Services team had to excel in all four areas to achieve the award.
Investing in Volunteers is managed by the UK Volunteering Forum and delivered by the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).
The other Oxford organisations to have received the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard are Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity, Oxfordshire Mind, and Restore.
Janet Lewis-Jones, Investing in Volunteers England Lead Assessor, said: “Oxford City Council is now one of only a small number of local authorities to have received Investing in Volunteers accreditation. This is a real achievement and shows that the City Council is ahead of the game.
“The accreditation recognises that Oxford City Council’s approach matches best practice as defined by this UK-wide quality mark – that volunteering for the City Council is well planned, that volunteering policies and procedures are robust and that, ultimately, volunteering with the City Council will lead to a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Gaining accreditation is a year-long process, and I was particularly impressed with the speed at which the City Council implemented recommended improvements.”
Councillor Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Culture and Communities said: “Investing in Volunteers accreditation demonstrates a real achievement, measured as it is against a rigorous national standard. Crucially, it demonstrates to both our existing and potential new volunteers our commitment to providing an outstanding volunteering experience. There is a lot of fantastic work happening in our communities and we couldn’t do it without the valued time and commitment of local volunteers.”
For more information about volunteering with the City Council’s Communities Team, visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/volunteering.
For more information about the Investing in Volunteers standard, visit: www.investinginvolunteers.org.uk.