The route to achievement of the Award involves six steps (see below), which are straightforward, effective and applied consistently.
If you go ahead with full registration an individual quote for your business will be calculated. This is based on the number of employees you support to volunteer, the number of sites across which you operate and the turnover of your business.
You will then be given a password to access the detailed guidance and will be assigned an assessor. Assessors are chosen for their experience of assessment and their knowledge of employer supported volunteering and the community involvement agenda. They are trained for this specific role and their work as Investing in Volunteers assessors is quality assured.
Step 1: Getting started
The first step is an introductory workshop or briefing session with your assessor. During the first telephone contact with you, your assessor will discuss the workshop. S/he will explain its purposes, explore with you who might participate and where possible agree a provisional date.
The introductory workshop will equip you and your business to start working towards Investing in Volunteers for Employers.
Step 2: Self assessment
You will complete a self assessment checklist to benchmark where your company currently is in relation to the standard, and to identify where further work required. You will be able to download a self assessment kit and other useful information to help you to do this.
Once you have completed your self assessment, you will send it to your assessor along with three pieces of material evidence. Your assessor will give you verbal and written feedback and recommendations on how to go forward.
Step 3: Development
As part of the feedback on your self assessment, the assessor will help you to clarify and confirm gaps in your practice. You can then establish a development plan, to enable your company to meet all the indicators in the Investing in Volunteers for Employers standard. Your assessor will need to agree with your development plan.
You will then be required to work through your development plan, undertaking specific activities to meet the gaps, eg develop new policies, diversify the volunteering opportunities, improve internal promotion of volunteering. If you require additional support, information and training, this is available via the relevant national and/or local volunteer development agency in your country.
Step 4: Assessment visit(s) and final report
The assessment visit will consist of a series of individual and group interviews with key people including employee volunteers, staff with responsibility for Employer Supported Volunteering and management. Most of the interviews will be face-to-face, but some may be conducted by telephone. The assessor will also ask to see specific items of material evidence as the assessment progresses. Prior to the assessment visit, you will need to submit a list of people who you will have available for interview. You will be able to download guidance about how to do this.
After your assessment visit, you will receive verbal feedback from the assessor either at the end of the visit, or within two working days of the end of the assessment. There are three possible assessment recommendations:
- Met the standard
- Met the standard with conditions
- Not met the standard
The assessor will let you know the recommendation s/he is making and why. S/he will write a report within 10 working days, and send it to you to check for factual accuracy. The report may include development suggestions to support you in continuing to improve your practice. Any development suggestions are separate from the assessment recommendation.
Organisations are not encouraged to progress to the assessment visit until they are ready. In the unlikely event that the assessor judges your company does not yet meet the Investing in Volunteers for Employers standard, you will work with your assessor to see where the gaps lie and when you can re-apply for assessment. This may have an additional cost.
Step 5: Local and national quality assurance
If your assessor has recommended that your company meets the Investing in Volunteers for Employers standard, the report will be submitted to your country’s quality assurance process for verification. In the event that an organisation feels that they have received an unfair decision, they may appeal. In the first instance this is to the lead assessor/country co-ordinator. If it is not resolved, then a further appeal may be made to the UK Quality Assurance Panel, which is made up of representatives of the four national development agencies.
The report will then go to the next UK Quality Assurance Panel, which ensures the award is consistent across the UK. It will be asked to endorse the assessment decision and make a recommendation to the UK Volunteering Forum Awarding Panel for your company to receive the Investing in Volunteers for Employers award.
Step 6: Achievement of the award
Your organisation is awarded the Investing in Volunteers Award by the UK Volunteering Forum (UKVF). The UKVF comprises representatives of the four national volunteer development agencies. You will receive verbal feedback within a few days of the decision.
Within four weeks, you will receive a copy of the final report, two copies of the Investing in Volunteers for Employers certificate and a plaque which you can display. You will be able to use the Investing in Volunteers logo, demonstrating your status as an IiVE achiever.