To ensure that community members undertaking the role as volunteers in Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) Probation and Parole offices are utilised appropriately.
1. Role of volunteers
Volunteers may be utilised for purposes, which include, but are not limited to-
- meeting the specific needs of offenders in definitive areas in a group or individual context;
- improving the quality of service delivery to offenders by providing increased opportunities for localised support and participation;
- extending the scope of programs offered by QCS;
- providing alternative opportunities and an extension of officers’ roles by, example mentoring/collaboration with a volunteer; and/or
- extending the public knowledge of corrective services.
There must be a clear distinction between the duties of volunteers and those of employees, and the distinction between the conditions of service should be highlighted.
At all times, the safety of volunteers and staff and the security of worksites and information must be maintained. It is the responsibility of QCS managers to ensure that the presence of volunteers does not impact negatively on the effective functioning of the unit.
While QCS managers encourage the use of volunteers where suitably qualified and/or experienced persons are available, the potential benefits must be considered in conjunction with acknowledgement of possible risks.
2. Selection of volunteers
Managers and/or their nominees are responsible for the recruitment and selection of volunteers and must use assessment and checking processes similar to those used for recruitment (refer Directive 15/13 – Recruitment and Selection). The manager must maintain a register of volunteers.
The authority for the engagement of volunteers is delegated in accordance with the Human Resource Delegations Manual (in-confidence) for appointment of staff.
Prior to engagement, administrative form – Criminal History Disclosure and Consent must be completed so that a security clearance can be arranged.
Once the Security Clearance is accepted as clear-
- the delegate must complete Form 48 – Authorisation of Volunteer;
- the volunteer must read and sign administrative forms – Confidential Information, Volunteer/Work Experience Agreement and the QCS Code of Conduct ; and
- these documents must be kept on file.
3. Induction of volunteers
An induction program should be undertaken by every volunteer. Such induction must include reference to facilities, conditions of service, local security, workplace health and safety, insurance coverage related issues and QCS protocols.
In addition to this induction, volunteers engaged on an on-going basis must undertake relevant on-the-job training with an experienced officer to ensure they are fully conversant with the duties they are required to perform.
This training should include, but not be limited to-
- the criminal justice system and the role of corrective services within it;
- Acts, Regulations, policies and procedures relevant to the workplace;
- correctional policies, procedures and the role of volunteers;
- skills and strategies for supervision of offenders; and
- awareness and understanding of cross-cultural differences, the special needs of Aboriginal offenders and Torres Strait Islander offenders and the role played by Aboriginal Elders and support organisations.
Volunteers may also be directed to undertake additional training as required by the manager in accordance with proposed duties, relevant experience/previous training and the period of voluntary work.
The manager may determine that a volunteer should be granted access to the QCS network. Refer procedure – User Access Management (in-confidence).
Volunteers must be given a written list of authorised tasks on completion of induction.
Volunteers are at all times to undertake their duties under the supervision of an employed officer. Volunteers must not undertake unsupervised duties. The agency recognises that there are various forms of supervision and managers must consider the volunteers’ skills, maturity and QCS risk prior to determining an appropriate supervision style.
In instances where volunteers are required to work directly with offenders, consideration must be given to the potential risks associated with such work and these risks should be managed appropriately.
Regular feedback sessions with the manager or nominee should be arranged for volunteers to ensure that any areas of concern are addressed in a timely manner.
5. QCS vehicles
On commencement, volunteers who may be required to drive a vehicle must supply a certified copy of their driver’s licence. A traffic history should be sought for the volunteer as part of the security checking process to ensure the volunteer has an appropriate driving history. Volunteers who have a provisional licence or whose licence has been suspended or cancelled are not permitted to drive QCS vehicles. Where the suspension or cancellation has occurred more than five years ago, the matter should be referred to the Assistant Director-General, Probation and Parole for a decision.
On receipt of the appropriate documentation, the manager of the worksite should provide written advice to the volunteer that, in necessary circumstances, the volunteer may drive a QCS vehicle. The manager should also initial next to the entry on the vehicle logbook to confirm the usage of the vehicle by the volunteer was approved.
6. Reimbursement of costs
Approved expenses incurred by a volunteer performing official business can be claimed by the person concerned and submitted for payment through the manager of the worksite.
7. Duty of care
Queensland Corrective Services and all employees retain a duty of care in relation to persons performing voluntary service with the agency. Accordingly, every individual in the workplace has an obligation to observe safe work practices and to take precautionary measures to minimise potential risks.
Refer procedures – Ill/Injured Employees (in-confidence); Workplace Health and Safety (in-confidence)
Volunteers who sustain an injury in the workplace must complete administrative form and submit this form to their supervisor immediately after an incident occurs.
Volunteers are not covered by the agency’s Work Cover policy, however can claim against the Queensland Corrective Services Personal Accident cover for Volunteers and Board Members. Therefore any volunteer who sustains an injury, while performing or as a result of performing, work that he/she is authorised to perform, may make a written application to the agency for compensation advising of the injuries sustained and enclosing copies of medical expenses incurred.
A person is deemed to be performing work if he/she is-
- attending an office / facility;
- travelling to an office / facility for the purpose of performing work;
- travelling from an office / facility where work was undertaken; or
- performing duties required of them by the agency.
The agency will arrange for a medical examination upon receipt of an application. Applications for compensation should be submitted to the directorate and forwarded to the Human Resource Services Branch. Recommendations will be made to the Minister in respect of compensation and the Governor in Council may award compensation of such amount as he/she thinks fit.
The volunteer engagement may be terminated at any time by either of the parties. Volunteers may complete their duties by directing their notice of completion to the person in charge of the designated workplace.
The manager may, for any of the following reasons, notify voluntary staff of the end of their engagement, including but not limited to-
- lack of suitable duties;
- non compliance with rules, policies or procedures;
- unsuitable conduct/behaviour; or
- unsuitable work practices.
10. Aboriginal communities / other isolated communities
Modifications, approved by the relevant manager, can be made to the guidelines for qualifications, selection, training and use of volunteers where it is determined that such modifications are more appropriate to the needs of isolated offenders and remote areas. If modifications are required, approval should be obtained from the agency’s Legal Services Unit prior to finalisation of the volunteer agreement.