Draft policy – to be approved by Trustee board September 2022
Purpose and scope of policy
This policy outlines the broad principles for volunteering at the 2022 Conference of Research Software Engineering, RSECon2022. It has been written to ensure that all our volunteers are treated fairly and consistently and that volunteers know what to expect from us.
Definition of a volunteer
We define a volunteer as someone who donates their time and efforts to the organisation and delivery of RSECon2022. Central to this is that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual. There is no enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, on volunteers to attend.
Our commitment to our volunteers
- Seek to match the needs of the conference with the skills, knowledge, experience and motivation of each volunteer.
- Ensure roles are meaningful and appropriate, allowing volunteers to contribute effectively.
- Agree responsibilities and schedule with volunteers before the start of the conference and ensure these details are clear.
- Provide appropriate support; each volunteer will be given a contact who can provide additional support, advice, and guidance.
- Foster a friendly, warm and supportive environment to make volunteering a positive experience.
Our expectations of our volunteers
We ask volunteers to:
- Attend an hour-long induction session given online by members of the RSECon2022 organisation committee.
- Professionally represent and uphold the reputation of RSECon2022. This includes wearing the provided t-shirt when representing RSECon2022.
- Treat other volunteers, conference delegates and guests fairly, equitably and with respect.
- Undertake their role enthusiastically and to the best of their ability, aiming for high standards in all contributions.
- Be reliable and engage in their role and communications during the organisation and delivery of the conference.
- Provide as much notice as possible if unable to fulfil the volunteering arrangement or no longer wish to volunteer.
- Adhere to the RSECon22 Code of Conduct.
Recruitment and selection
Our volunteer recruitment process:
- The call for RSECon2022 volunteers will be published on the RSECon2022 website and advertised by members of the committee. This call will be open for 3 weeks.
- Prospective volunteers will submit an application form, registering their interest in volunteering at RSECon2022 and any other relevant skills to be considered in the selection process.
- The Volunteer Chair and members of the RSECon2022 committee will review the application forms submitted by prospective volunteers.
- Applicants will be contacted by the Volunteer Chair and, if successful, invited to accept the position.
Volunteers will be invited to attend an induction session given online by members of the RSECon2022 organisation committee. We will discuss the venue, programme and introduce the wide range of tasks that volunteers will be helping with. During the induction, we will work together to compile a list of questions which might be asked during the different tasks and by the different people (sponsor staff, delegates, venue staff) attending the conference. This list will be used to create a resource which is available to volunteers during the conference to aid in the various roles and answering questions.
There will also be an on-site induction on the first morning of the conference, during which volunteers will be given a tour of the venue, fire exits and responsibilities. We will review the assigned tasks and upcoming schedule and the Volunteer Chair will be available to answer any questions.
Volunteers should report to the Volunteer Chair when they arrive at the venue to be signed in each day. Volunteers will be reminded of their schedule and there will be opportunity to raise any questions or concerns.
Support during the conference
The Volunteer Chair is the first point of contact for all volunteers before and during the conference. If the Volunteer Chair is unavailable, the Logistics Chair is the secondary contact. Both will be contactable at all times via mobile number or via a private Volunteer Slack Channel, details to be given during the induction, and a contact will be present at the registration desk during the coffee and lunch breaks.
Volunteers should report to the Volunteer Chair to be signed-out once their scheduled roles have ended. As all volunteers will receive complimentary entrance to both the conference and the conference dinner(s), volunteers are encouraged to join the conference programme as a delegate once their schedule has ended.
If a volunteer needs to leave early, they will notify the Volunteer Chair so that they can be signed out and the absence recorded in the event of an emergency.
Expenses and benefits
Volunteers will receive complimentary entrance to both the conference and the conference dinner(s). We will attempt to accommodate any requests to attend certain sessions during the conference. Volunteers will also receive an RSECon2022 t-shirt to help identify themselves to attendees throughout the conference.
Volunteers are expected to arrange their own transport and accommodation for the duration of the conference. There will be the opportunity to apply for a travel bursary which can cover travel, accommodation and subsistence.
Health and safety
RSECon2022 is designed, organised and run by our volunteers – from those who participate in set-up and assistance on the day to the weeks put in by our organising committee and everyone in between. As a voluntary organisation, we do not have duties under health and safety law but do have a duty of care to each other and others who may be affected by our activities. We are committed to meeting all health and safety requirements specified in common law by adopting codes of best practice to ensure a safe environment for all.
Volunteers must be aware that they have an obligation to not place themselves, or others, at risk. We will not ask volunteers to undertake any tasks which they are not trained for or are uncomfortable performing. We ask that volunteers report any perceived shortcomings in the health and safety arrangements and report all health, safety and welfare incidents during the conference to the Volunteer Chair or another member of the RSECon2022 committee.
Our commitment to our volunteer’s health and safety is recognised by this policy document.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We are committed to abide by the Society of Research Software Engineering Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
Support and contacts
Please contact us via email at [email protected] for any additional information or questions.