Good Practice

As well as complying with any relevant legal requirements, you are also advised to ensure that your activity or event is well organised, and where appropriate, incorporates good practice guidelines. The following list identifies some key issues for you to consider.

Child Protection & Working with ‘Vulnerable Adults’ (often referred to as Safeguarding)
In addition to ensuring compliance with Disclosure and Barring Service legislation, it is best practice to take the following precautions before a volunteer starts their duties:

  1. Take up a character reference.
  2. Require volunteers attend safeguarding training and sign a written agreement that they understand expectations and rules.
  3. Undertake a risk assessment of the activity and check this with your insurers and guardians/stakeholders.
  4. Ensure a good ratio of volunteers to children or vulnerable adults.
  5. Discuss and agree restrictions or limitations with guardians/stakeholders in advance.
  6. Nominate person(s) with overall responsible for the implementation of risk assessment and on site supervision of the activity.
  7. Ensure robust procedures are in place to deal with accidents/illness/incidents.
  8. Keep an accurate record of those involved in the activity and any accidents/illness/incidents (in case of query or complaint).
  9. You should always inform the University’s Outreach Department if you are planning to work with children or under-18s.

Medical / Emergency Contacts
If you will be taking students away from Sheffield you are advised to have records of emergency contacts/next of kin and knowledge of any relevant medical conditions. Depending on the nature of your activity, you may also need to ensure that first aid cover is provided.

Guidelines & Advice
Depending on your project, you may find useful hints and tips on the web but check that it is a reliable source; if you know that students at another university have done something similar – get in touch and ask them what worked, what failed, and most importantly what they would do differently.

The University produces information for its staff who are organising educational visits - The Management of Health and Safety on Field Trips & Off-Campus Activities Policy & Guidance - although written for staff undertaking their contractual duties, it does contain a lot of useful advice and suggestions which you may find helpful to consider.

You can also find a good advice – relating to overseas volunteering here.

Finance/Budgeting
When preparing a budget you must include all of the possible costs that will be incurred e.g. do you have to pay VAT, will there be a commission on ticket sales, and will the venue require you to pay security or technical costs? Always over-estimate your costs and under-estimate your income!

If you will be raising money from sales, don't assume it will sell-out and don't rely on facebook 'likes' to indicate probable sales. If you have paid a deposit and then cancel you may not be able to get all of your money back.

Please note that the hire of campus venues and meeting rooms, plus advertising through the University or Students' Union, may be charged at commercial rates.

Alcohol
If your event/activity will involve the consumption of alcohol you are advised to prevent anyone under the age of 18 consuming alcohol and you should ensure that a sufficient number of marshals (or similar) refrain from consuming any alcohol and are able to manage the activity/event.

Sponsorship
If you will be seeking sponsorship for your event, make sure you don't promise more than you can realistically deliver – you will be held to any promises you make and may not receive payment if things aren't done.

Occasionally sponsors do not fulfil their side of the agreement so it is advisable to have a written and signed agreement beforehand.

Don't over-estimate how much sponsorship income you will raise, nor sell your project too cheaply.

Leadership & Planning
You can never do enough planning! It is vital that you have a leader(s) who can drive the project forward, prepare timelines, be a key contact for volunteers and external agencies and keep communication channels open and flowing. Delegating effectively and building a reliable team are also essential requirements.

Community Relations
If you are organising a late night and/or noisy event please be considerate to your neighbours and other members of the public. It is a good idea to make residents in the vicinity aware of the activity/event – either through speaking to neighbours or distributing information (including a contact telephone number).

HEAR 6.1, Sheffield Graduate Award & Enterprise Award
If your activity/event is being organised independently, then it will not be eligible for HEAR 6.1 recognition. However, you can use this experience as supporting evidence if you are aiming to get the Sheffield Graduate Award or an Enterprise Award.