After achieving IiV no less than four times, Sally Dyson at Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Trust reflects on the value of IiV for her organisation and the healthcare sector.
Since you achieved IiV for the first time, what have been the most important changes in your organisation as a result of IiV?
- Seen a marked increase in number of volunteers
- Established strong discipline around volunteering standards
- Raised profile both internally and externally
- Provided culture change
- Volunteers feel they belong to a professional service
- We are professionally recognised and approached by employers and educational institutions
- Regularly approached by similar organisations to share best practice
- Allowed boundaries to be pushed and we have developed new volunteer roles that better reflect our aims and objectives
- Stronger volunteer supervision
- Volunteers feel proud that their contribution is recognised
- Better resources – Budget, staff, materials
- Increased diversity of volunteers from local community
Why did you decide to consistently renew IiV?
In these days of governance and standards setting, the IIV award offers a strong discipline around volunteering. Our Board was delighted that we had achieved the accreditation and were keen to maintain the standard. Also, I feel we owe a huge debt to our volunteers as they provide such a valuable service for both patients and staff alike. I feel that maintaining the standard demonstrates that we appreciate them, invest in them and take them seriously!
How would you describe the long-term effects of IiV on your organisation?
As well as those already mentioned above IIV is an invaluable recruitment tool. Potential volunteers feel that they are applying to a professional organisation that clearly demonstrates that we invest in their volunteer programme. Other hospitals have approached us as an example of best practice and we have worked with them to set up identical services. Many of our volunteers (who were fully engaged in the process) were equally delighted to be part of the award and feel the accreditation demonstrates that they belong to a “professional” service! The IiV has provided us with the opportunity to push boundaries and develop volunteer roles that are now an integral part of our hospital and community care.
Do you have any advice for other organisations on how to get the most out of their IiV Award?
The accreditation is expensive for cash strapped healthcare providers, but I would advise organisations to consider the return on investment and the positive outcomes that may be achieved. See my list for question one.
In your opinion, what is the relevance of IiV for the healthcare sector?
It is inevitable that volunteering will continue to grow across health and social care, so in order to do this safely and in a way that will have the biggest impact on services we need to adopt methods that encourage good practice in volunteer management. Achieving the IiV standard ensures that volunteer programmes are professional and innovative and stay aligned to the healthcare sector's objectives and strategies.
Any other comments?
Following the Lampard report volunteering in healthcare has received much scrutiny. Healthcare providers have had to report to “Monitor” on the governance of their volunteer programmes and the CQC are now including volunteering as an integral part of their inspections. I feel that assessing a volunteer programme against the IiV indicators is a perfect way to demonstrate good practice and prove that you have measures in place to reduce the risk of a similar occurrence in the future.