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Volunteer Briefing

Democracy Matters is an informal alliance to promote learning for democracy and practical politics, particularly by people with least power. For democracy to be real, people need to know how the system works, how to influence decisions and be able to exercise power. This means developing confidence, contacts, skills and knowledge to take part in politics at any level.

We do not take a position on any issue, except to promote inclusive debate, learning and action that enables people with least power and resources to have an effective say in decisions.

Everyone involved in Democracy Matters is a volunteer, so we really value your contribution.

Volunteers may work from home or in one of our member organisations, in which case you must also follow their policies and procedures.

What volunteers can expect of us:

A voluntary role aims to give you opportunities to make a difference in society as well as develop your own experience, skills, knowledge, contacts and opportunities. We will do our best to ensure that your volunteer role also meets your interests and personal development aims.

Unlike staff, volunteers are not required to keep set days or hours, although we ask you to say how many hours you would like to do and for how long.

A member of the Democracy Matters steering group will support your volunteering, referred to as the volunteer supervisor. You can expect to have regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss your workload, progress and goals. If you have any concerns about your experience or tasks with Democracy Matters, please raise this with your supervisor as soon as possible. If this does not resolve the issue, you should speak to another member of the steering group.

At present we are not able to meet volunteers’ expenses, but we are fund-raising to cover travel and subsistence costs and would welcome your help with this.

We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that your needs as a volunteer are accommodated and will discuss with them how best this can be done.

Volunteers are not covered by insurance, unless based in an organisation that is insured for volunteers.

What Democracy Matters asks of volunteers:

Volunteers agree to be polite and courteous when communicating with our members or the public and to be respectful to both staff and fellow volunteers.

Volunteers may not express partisan political opinions or speak on for or against any political party when representing Democracy Matters, and must respect that people hold different political positions. However, you are encouraged to freely express your views in debates when not representing DM and to encourage others to do the same.

Volunteers are encouraged to take part in internal discussions about our work and with members, but it is important to recognise that some discussions need to be kept confidential. Therefore we ask that you treat discussions about Democracy Matter’s strategy and work as confidential and not to discuss them with people outside the organisation unless you are given permission to do so.

Volunteers agree to use common sense and comply with Health and Safety Policies so as not to put themselves or others at risk.

Volunteers agree to comply with the Data Protection Act and any relevant policies on data protection of Democracy Matters’ members. Your supervisor is responsible for informing a volunteer who works with personal data about the relevant policies. Under the guidance of your supervisor volunteers will be advised where sensitive information or data needs to be kept confidential.

Democracy Matters does not tolerate discrimination of any form and such behaviour may lead to ending a volunteer position.

Volunteers agree to keep us updated with your contact details and emergency contact details (in the form that would be provided).

Induction process:

We would like you to do an induction to familiarise yourself with Democracy Members and focus on a project or area of work that suits them and support Democracy Members best.

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