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Staff only

Our volunteer handbook can be found on linktree  which is the 'pretty version' but I have provided alternatives to this below.

If you would prefer to have versions in alternative version then please email Claire with your requirements and we can get them sent out. 


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Mission statement

Volunteer Adviser Job Description

Confidentiality/Disclosure Guidance for Volunteers

Volunteer Device Policy

Sample Volunteer Agreement

Equality & Diversity Policy

Volunteer Resolution Procedure

Contact Details

Mission Statement

Universal Credit Essentials is committed to supporting people to navigate a
complex benefit system and to maximise their income.
What we do
Our aim is to empower individuals to successfully manage their own claim and
understand their universal credit entitlement.
We do this by providing:
● information guides on different elements of Universal Credit;
● frequently asked questions (FAQs) and template responses;
● an online forum for peer support without judgement or stigma;
● one-to-one information and guidance on complex cases.
Our values and principles
● We believe that everyone should have access to information and support
irrespective of their circumstances.
● We believe that everyone should be given the tools and understanding to
explore all their options.
The difference we make
By using Universal Credit Essentials, individuals will:
● increase their confidence in dealing with their claim and resolving
● access money they are entitled to and maximise their income.

click for online version UCE mission statement

Click here fo PDF version of UCE mission statement

Volunteer Adviser Job Description


Role Outline
UCE provides information, advice and support to those claiming or looking for
more details about Universal Credit. Our advisers use our online platforms to
● accurate and up to date information about Universal Credit;
● advice on individual circumstances;
● support to deal with issues for individual claims;
● help keep our online community a welcoming, supportive and caring


Skills, Attitudes and Experience Required
● No formal experience required.
● A keen interest in benefits and providing advice.
● A non-judgemental attitude.
● Ability to provide information and support through online platforms.
UCE will provide all the information required to allow volunteers to respond to
Benefits for you as a volunteer
● Make a real difference and have a positive impact on people’s lives.
● Learn about a range of issues that affect our clients including benefits and
maximising income.
● Build on valuable skills such as communication and problem solving.
● Be part of a team with a shared interest.
● Meet new people (online) from a range of backgrounds.


All our support is provided through online platforms and can be carried out
from home.


As we provide an online platform there is flexibility in what hours/availability
we expect.

UCE has a close knit team of volunteer advisers who are always happy to help in
the role. Each volunteer will have a named contact as Volunteer Manager who
offers support.

How To Apply
Contact UCE -

Any Questions
Contact UCE -

Click for online version of UCE Volunteer Job Description

Click here for PDF version of UCE Volunteer Job Description

Confidentiality/Disclosure Guidance for Volunteers


The aim of this guidance is to ensure service user information is kept
confidential. However, the same principles apply to information about the
company, your colleagues and other professionals with whom you come in
You also need to read ‘Device Policy for Volunteers’.


Handling Of Information
Service users and your colleagues have a right to expect that personal
information about them and their families will remain confidential and be
treated with respect.


Make sure you:
● keep all personal / sensitive information confidential;
● take care when discussing a service user or a colleague that your
conversation cannot be overheard or seen by someone outwith the
● do not share (either accidentally or intentionally) confidential
information about a service user with others (for example their family,
friends, carers) against the person’s wishes.


Never gossip or discuss private affairs about a service user or colleague,
either verbally or in electronic correspondence, such as email or messaging


Remember that, as well as information written in a person’s file, anything
held electronically can be disclosed to them (subject to certain exemptions)
if they make a subject access request under GDPR.

There will always be a senior member of staff available who is able to help
you with any concerns you have regarding confidentiality. Concerns could
● other people not keeping to the confidentiality policy;
● information you have been given in confidence that worries you (see
also ‘Making a disclosure below).


Inappropriate Breaches Of Confidentiality
A breach of confidentiality occurs when information provided in confidence
by a service user or staff member is passed on to a third party without the
person's consent. Breaches of confidentiality may happen intentionally or by

You must never share confidential information about service users or staff
members to other people outside the organisation (without the person’s
consent), and only share it within the organisation on a need to know basis.


Making A Disclosure
If you are asked to disclose confidential information about a service user or
staff member, contact your Volunteer Manager for advice before saying


There may be exceptional circumstances, however, in which you need to
override your duty of confidentiality, without first getting consent from the
person concerned. Examples include:
● to protect someone from grave and imminent danger;
● to prevent abuse or harm;
● if there is likelihood of a violent response if you ask for consent to pass
on information;
● if you learn a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed;
● to safeguard national security.
In such a situation as outlined in above:

Adviser Documents/Confidentiality/Disclosure Guidance

● if possible, consult the person’s representative
● contact your Volunteer Manager for guidance and support
● contact the emergency services as necessary by phoning 999 or 112.


Briefing And Induction
Your Volunteer Manager is responsible for assessing the roles undertaken by
volunteers within the organisation and the level of briefing/induction you
need in relation to this guidance.


You are required to indicate that you have received, read and understood
the content of this guidance as directed by your Volunteer Manager and on
completion of your briefing and induction, it is your personal responsibility
to follow it.

Click here for online version of UCE Confidentiality/Disclosure Guidance for Volunteers

Click here for PDF version of UCE Confidentiality/Disclosure Guidance for Volunteers

Device Policy for Volunteers


● Keep your passwords secure.
● Use biometric features to secure the device if possible.
● Keep your operating system updated.
● Be careful who can see your screen when accessing work systems.
● Report lost or stolen devices.
● Be aware of your responsibility for all costs.


● Don’t share your device or passwords.
● Don’t make copies of data or take screenshots.
● Don’t access systems without authorisation.
● Don’t save work in unapproved locations or applications.


This policy applies to all volunteers of the organisation who use a device in
their role.


To ensure UCE systems and data are used appropriately, legally and securely.
To ensure devices are used in a manner which protects confidentiality in
accordance with GDPR.

To ensure volunteers clearly understand their responsibilities when using
their device.

Security of Devices
Devices must be encrypted and have passcode or biometric security if
available with a timeout to lock automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity.
Jailbroken or rooted devices are strictly prohibited.

Connectivity via WiFi or mobile data contracts will be the responsibility of
the device owner.

Use of a device that has access to an adviser role should be limited to its
owner and must not be shared.

Account logon, passwords and pins must be kept confidential and never
shared with others.

Volunteers should be conscious of the setting in which devices are being
operated and should ensure data and systems displayed are not visible to

Data accessed must not be saved to the device or copied off it.

Screenshots relating to users of our service or other staff must not be taken.
Information relating to users of our service or other staff must not be
downloaded or saved on your device.
Staff and advisers must inform their volunteer manager if they leave their
role with the organisation.
Staff and advisers must comply with all relevant legislation including not
using your device whilst driving.
Devices must be maintained as stated in this document.

Volunteers must immediately inform the organisation
immediately if:
● Their password has been breached
● They believe any associated accounts may have been compromised
● Their device gets lost or stolen
● Organisational systems are not working normally

Loss or Damage
The organisation will not accept any liability for loss or damage of personal
Volunteers should inform their Volunteer Manager immediately if they lose
their device or have it stolen. We will attempt to restrict access to staff
access to our system and any relevant materials.

Volunteers are responsible for all mobile data or WiFi hotspot costs related
to your device usage and should monitor these to ensure they have
sufficient allowance.

Click here for online version of Device Policy for Volunteers

Click here for PDF version of Device Policy for Volunteers

UCE Sample Volunteer Agreement

Volunteers are an important and valued part of Universal Credit Essentials. We
appreciate that you’ve chosen to volunteer with us and will do our best to make
your experience enjoyable and rewarding. We aim to be flexible and supportive
and believe that the volunteer relationship is built on trust and mutual

This agreement sets out what support you can expect from us when you
volunteer and the expectations we have from you, as a volunteer.

We, Universal Credit Essentials, will do our best to:
● Provide an induction to the organisation, other volunteers, your
volunteering role and to provide the training and resources you need to
meet the responsibilities of this role.
● Explain the standards we expect for our services and to encourage and
support you to achieve and maintain them.
● Explain the policies relating to Equal Opportunities, Confidentiality and
the Resolution Procedure.
● Provide a named person who will meet with you regularly to discuss your
volunteering and any successes or problems.
● Resolve fairly any problems, grievances and difficulties you may have
while you volunteer with us.
● Help you develop your volunteering role with us.
● Reimburse any reasonable ‘out of pocket’ expenses incurred by you
during the course of your work, with prior agreement.

We ask that you agree to:
● Help the organisation fulfil its aims and objectives.
● Perform your volunteering role to the best of your ability.
● Follow the organisation’s procedures and standards including Equal
Opportunities, Confidentiality and the Resolution Procedure in relation to
its staff, volunteers and service users.
● Maintain the confidential information of the organisation and the service

● Agree that any work you produce as a volunteer will be owned by the
organisation, unless agreed otherwise.

This agreement is in honour only and is not intended to be legally binding.
There is no intention of an employment relationship.

Volunteer manager: <insert volunteer manager name>
Volunteering start date: <insert start date>
Volunteer name: <insert volunteer name>
Volunteer signature and date: <insert volunteer name>

Click here for an online version of UCE Sample Volunteer Agreement

Click here for an PDF version of UCE Sample Volunteer Agreement

Equality & Diversity Policy

We are committed to ensure equality of opportunity and to ensure that all
our systems are fair, open and objective and visible to those inside and
outside the organisation.

We recognise that everyone has a contribution to make to our society and a
right to equal treatment. We aim to ensure that no job applicant, staff
member, volunteer organisation or individual to whom we provide services
will be discriminated against by us on the grounds of:
● sex, sexual orientation or gender reassignment status;
● race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin;
● age;
● parental or marital status and caring responsibilities;
● physical or mental disability or ill health;
● political belief, religion, colour, race, ethnic or national origin or
socio/economic background;
● trade union membership (or non-membership);
● unrelated criminal conviction or conditions or requirements which
cannot be shown to be justifiable;
● working pattern (i.e. permanent, fixed term, part or full-time).


We endeavour to promote this approach in those with whom we come into
contact. Also we believe that we are all, both paid staff and volunteers,
responsible for ensuring that the highest principles of equal opportunities
policy are put into effect.


We aim to ensure that both paid staff and volunteers commit themselves to
taking positive action against discrimination. All staff, volunteers and users of
Universal Credit Essentials service are able to challenge discriminatory
attitudes and practices and have a responsibility to enforce this Policy.

Exceptions will be made only where such discrimination can objectively be
justified. Any volunteer is free to challenge a decision made via the
Resolution Process.

Click here for online version of UCE Equality & Diversity Policy

Click here for PDF version of UCE Equality & Diversity Policy

UCE Volunteer Resolution Procedure


Universal Credit Essentials aims to create an environment where volunteers feel
valued at work. We also recognise that there may be occasions when
volunteers have concerns and this resolution procedure enables individual
volunteers to raise their concerns more formally. This procedure provides an
open and fair way for volunteers to make known their concerns and aims to
enable issues to be resolved quickly.

Informal Discussions
In the first instance, if any volunteer has a concern about their volunteering or a
colleague, they should discuss it informally, as soon as possible, with the
Volunteer Manager they report to. The Volunteer Manager will take concerns
seriously and ensure that everything is done to try and resolve the issue
informally. It is hoped the majority of concerns will be resolved at this stage.

Formal Procedure
Stage 1
If a volunteer feels the matter has not been resolved through informal
discussions, they should put the complaint in writing to the Volunteer Manager
they report to. If the complaint involves the Volunteer Manager they report to,
the complaint should be raised with another Volunteer Manager.
A meeting (Virtual) will be held between the volunteer and a Volunteer
Manager to respond to the complaint raised. The meeting will give an
opportunity for the volunteer to explain their concerns and how they would like
them to be addressed. The volunteer can ask for someone else to be part of
the meeting to support them.

Following the meeting, the Volunteer Manager will respond in writing within
five working days of the meeting. This will outline how the complaint will be

If the complaint is against another member of staff or volunteer or needs
further investigation, the Volunteer Manager will need to carry out further
meetings or investigations. If this is the case the five working days response
time may be extended. The response will follow this meeting and include a
reference to the right of appeal.

Stage 2
If the volunteer feels the issue has still not been resolved satisfactorily, the
volunteer must raise the matter, in writing, with another Volunteer Manager.
They will invite the volunteer to a meeting where they can discuss the matter
and establish how best to resolve the situation. The volunteer can ask for
someone else to be part of the meeting to support them.

Following the meeting, the Volunteer Manager will give a written response
within five working days of the meeting outlining how the complaint will be
responded to. If the complaint is against another member of staff or volunteer,
or requires further investigation, the Volunteer Manager will need to carry out
further meetings or investigations. In this case, the five working days response
time may be extended. The response will follow this meeting and include a
reference to the right of appeal.

Right of Appeal
If the volunteer wishes to appeal against any decision, they must appeal, in
writing within five working days of the decision being communicated to them
from the Volunteer Manager, who will convene a meeting to hear the appeal
from the volunteer. The volunteer will have the right to be accompanied to the
appeal meeting. The Chair’s decision will be final.

Click here for online version of UCE Volunteer Resolution Procedure

Click here for PDF version of UCE Volunteer Resolution Procedure

UCE Contact Details

Universal Credit Essentials SCIO
53 Drummohr Gardens
East Lothian

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