We discuss the impact of IiV on the organisation so far with Sarah Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer at Healthwatch Lincolnshire, who lead the IiV assessment process at her organisation.
Since achieving the IiV Award, Healthwatch Lincolnshire is continuing with building on their volunteer programme to ensure that not only is everything embedded as ‘everyday’ operational activities, but also looking deeper into areas such as volunteer induction, training and health and safety.
Sarah stresses that, in many ways, IiV is the “driver” for this: “we have all agreed this award is not about the kudos of a plaque ‘on the wall’ but about us having a volunteer programme to be truly proud of.” For this reason, they put the IiV logo on their letterheads, email signatures, and other materials.
To celebrate their achievement, Healthwatch Lincolnshire asked one of the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group Accountable Officers to present the certificate at their Board meeting in public in February.
Following their achievement, Sarah filled out the IiV post assessment questionnaire:
1. Is this a first accreditation or a renewal process?
2. Approximately, how many months has it taken you to complete the IiV process?
Less than 12 months
3. Overall, how did you find the process?
4. Would you recommend IiV to other organisations?
5. What were the main challenges, if any, for the organisation in achieving/renewing IiV?
- Staffing - allocating sufficient time to complete
- Introducing and embedding newly developed volunteering processes, procedures and policies
- Keeping everyone involved interested in the whole journey
6. Please comment on any notable impact the IiV process has had on the following stakeholders.
- Volunteers - They feel much more involved and supported - this is very apparent
- Staff - They understand the role and input of volunteers much more
- Trustees - They understand how we manage, support and use volunteers much better
- External Partners - They better respect why volunteers are involved in our work
7. What have been the overall benefits of achieving/renewing the IiV accreditation?
This whole process enabled us to assess and evaluate our entire volunteer journey. As a result we now have a volunteer programme to be really proud of. Our volunteers have been included as part of the journey to achieve IIV and this has made them feel proud of their volunteering with us particularly post receiving the award. We have noticed an increase in volunteer time and involvement as a result. Another benefit is that now we have our programme in place, any member of staff can pick up the volunteer administration to help support our volunteers if we need them to.
8. Please provide a quote that sums up the IiV experience for your organisation.
Applying for accreditation and its resulting success has enormously benefitted Healthwatch Lincolnshire. We valued our volunteers before the award, but now we as a result of the changes we have made we don't just value our volunteers, they really are at the heart of our organisation.
9. What tips would you give to other organisations working towards Investing in Volunteers?
- Include as many people as you can in the IIV, Trustees, Employees, Volunteers (even if for practical reasons this is representatives of these groups)
- Communicate regularly across the organisation any updates with regards to IIV progress
- Set aside plenty of diary time to enable work to be completed
- Ask early for any areas that need to be approved by Trustees to be diaried into agendas eg new policies
- Be flexible - what we mean by this is that be prepared to amend, alter or completly change some existing systems if it becomes clear there are better alternatives
10. Any other comments?
We would like to also thank the support we had from our local mentor and our assessor. The guidance and advice they gave was exceptional.