On occasion, for specific projects, The Rothschild Archive London (‘the Archive’) is able to offer structured volunteer opportunities for activities to support the development of the collections. Such opportunities are offered at the discretion of the Trustees and Director of the Archive. This policy sets out the broad principles of volunteering with the Archive and forms the foundation for good practice volunteer management. It is relevant for all current and potential volunteers, as well as all Archive staff concerned with developing and managing volunteer projects.
1. The importance of volunteers to the Archive
1.1 The Archive welcomes the contribution made by volunteers; volunteers are valuable to the Archive, as they enable work to be undertaken that would not otherwise be possible, and volunteers add value by contributing specialist skills and knowledge.
2. The relationship between the Archive and volunteers
2.1 The relationship of a volunteer to the Archive is one bound by trust, mutual understanding and benefit; with time given freely and willingly, without expectation offinancial reward by the volunteer, although there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Neither the Archive nor the volunteer regard the relationship as a contract of employment; no enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, can be imposed on the volunteer to carry out the tasks provided.
3. Principles for volunteer management
3.1 The Archive will always aim for fair and equal treatment for all volunteers. The Archive undertakes to match volunteers with suitable projects so that the Archive gains from the activities of the volunteers and the volunteers gain from working with the Archive. The Archive expects that volunteers will provide their time and help to keep projects on track.
4. Selection of volunteers
4.1 All projects of the Archive involving volunteers will have a consistent process for selecting volunteers that is relevant and appropriate to each project in which volunteers are engaged. The Archive aims to select volunteers according to project needs, taking into account volunteers’ skills and experience, and availability. Acceptance of volunteer assistance for a particular project will be made on merit, the sole selection criterion
being an individual’s suitability to carry out the specified task(s), along with their availability.
5. Induction, training and development
5.1 The Archive will ensure that all volunteers have a clear understanding of their role so as to support them in carrying out volunteer duties. The Archive will usually produce specific guidance and training materials for each project. Volunteers may be asked to attend training relevant to their specific project. Such training will usually be held at the Archive at New Court; where volunteers are required to attend New Court for training purposes, reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed by the Archive.
6. Volunteer support and communication
6.1 Each volunteer will be appointed a Supervisor (usually the project leader) to guide and advise them in their tasks. The Archive respects volunteers by both listening to and learning from what they have to say. Each project will include regular communication with volunteers in the form of updates and reports, and any volunteer may contact the Archive during the course of a project to discuss progress or any matters arising.
6.2 The Archive is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its volunteers. It is expected that most projects will involve volunteer participation virtually, through the websites of the Archive. Upon request, volunteers will be provided with advice concerning the health and safety aspects of engaging in the Archive’s volunteering activities from home. When volunteers are on the premises of the Archive, engaged in the Archive’s activities, they will be subject to the health and safety policies and practices of the Archive, and they will be indemnified under the Archive’s public liability insurance.
6.3 Volunteers are free to end their involvement at any time, but should contact the Archive before ceasing participation.
7. Confidentiality, copyright and data protection
7.1 A condition of volunteering with the Archive is that volunteers will usually be required to become members of the Rothschild Research Forum, and they agree to abide by the current conditions of membership. Volunteers may also be required to complete a standard Rothschild Archive Research Agreement. Additionally, volunteers will be advised of the need for confidentiality where they have access to sensitive information which is not public knowledge. A further signed undertaking may be required for particularly sensitive projects.
7.2 Volunteers are expected to assign any original copyright works they may produce while volunteering to the Archive, and may be asked to sign a copyright agreement where necessary.
7.3 Personal information recorded about volunteers by the Archive will be stored and maintained with appropriate safeguards for confidentiality.
8. Resolving issues
8.1 The Archive aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. In the first instance, the volunteer Supervisor is responsible for handling any issues regarding volunteer conduct or complaints. If an issue arises that cannot be resolved by the Supervisor, the matter will be referred to the Director of The Rothschild Archive London to make any decisions and take action as appropriate.