Louth Volunteer Centre has achieved the Volunteer Centre Quality Award for their excellent work supporting volunteers and volunteer involving organisations throughout County Louth.
John Cotterell, Louth Volunteer Centre manager, said "Louth Volunteer Centre is delighted to have achieved the Quality Standard Award. The award recognises the dedication of our staff, interns, board and our own volunteers to provide a consistent and positive experience for people wishing to volunteer and community groups that involve volunteers in Louth. Receiving the Award is a great boost to our team in our Ardee, Drogheda and Dundalk offices to make volunteering part of the way of life in Louth"
Background to the Volunteer Centre Quality Award
The Quality Award aims to provide a clear and quantifiable framework for assessing the delivery of service by volunteer centres, each centre is required to provide the following minimum service standards:
- a volunteer-centred placement and support service;
- supports for not-for-profit organisations;
- to market and promote volunteering; and
- ensure internal good practice.
Minimum expected standards will be based on the Volunteer Ireland document, "A Quality Standards Document for Volunteer Centres in Ireland". Adherence to this framework will ensure a minimum level of service standards is achieved. Evaluation is also seen as a capacity building tool to bring about high quality delivery of core functions.
Volunteer Ireland will facilitate a performance improvement framework. While it is acknowledged that the services volunteer centres provide are not always captured in raw statistics, evidence of a transition to best practice and a more standardised approach to developing work-plans and setting targets adopted across the network of centres will be required.
Additionally, volunteer centres will be required to occupy a physical space as well as a virtual one, and be open to all non-profits and all kinds of volunteers (i.e. not just sports; not just employees) within a county-wide geographic remit (in some cases local authority wide). There will be a base-level expectation regarding opening hours and other operational details. Volunteer centres will be required to facilitate Garda vetting of local volunteers and other necessary supports not available to volunteer-involving organisations. They will also be required to have a Board of Management and to be in compliance with relevant regulatory legislation.
Robust evaluation procedures
The Volunteer Ireland Quality Standards document incorporates a workbook listing examples of indicators and volunteer centres will be assessed in relation to it. The assessment process will be based on this workbook. Volunteer centres are required to develop an ‘evidence portfolio’ for submission. Wishing to draw on the collective knowledge and experience of Volunteer Ireland and the volunteer centres currently in existence, assessments will be by way of peer review, involving representatives from Volunteer Ireland, Department of Community, Environment and Local Government and volunteer centre managers on a rotating basis. It is envisaged that a minimum of 20% of volunteer centres will be reviewed each year and the review process will be managed by Volunteer Ireland. Emerging centres will be required to receive approval from the peer review group prior to being awarded funding by the Department.
Click for more information about the Quality Standards framework.