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Managing volunteers in the criminal justice system

Clinks managing volunteers
New guide from Clinks and NCVO on managing volunteers in organisations working in the criminal justice system.

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Volunteers often provide a more personal response

Last week (3 June 2020) Clinks and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations published a new guide to managing volunteers in the criminal justice system.


Volunteers are often in a position to provide a more personal response, which is particularly true of people with experience of the criminal justice system who choose to volunteer. They can provide an invaluable link to the local community which can be very important when challenging public perceptions.

The purpose of the guide is to help ensure that organisations working with people with experience of the criminal justice system engage volunteers well. There is a lot of good practice within the criminal justice system of involving volunteers, however, there is also inconsistency in the way that volunteers are recruited, managed and reimbursed.

The guide is designed as a reference document and each section has links to further information, particularly the Knowhow website, which is a valuable source of information. NCVO Knowhow offers advice and support for voluntary organisations.

The guide is organised into four sections:

  1. Developing a volunteer programme
  2. Recruiting volunteers
  3. Rewarding, recognising and retaining volunteers
  4. Further information and resources

The guide is an extremely detailed, practical guide and, consequently, quite hard to summarise in a blog post. It will be invaluable for anyone charged with developing best practice around volunteering for an organisation.


The guide covers the entire gamut of issues relating to volunteering in the justice sector. It works through the entire process in a logical way including some of the following key issues:

  • Identifying the need for volunteers
  • Creating volunteer roles
  • Writing volunteer policies and agreements
  • Induction & training
  • Support & supervision
  • Practical issues such as insurance and expenses
  • Duty of care
  • Recruitment
  • Equal opportunities and diversity
  • Accreditation
  • Reward and recognition
  • Supporting volunteers with convictions to move on


The guide will be invaluable to many organisations who wish not only to work with volunteers, but also to cherish and support them, recognising that there must be benefits for volunteers themselves as well as the organisation itself.


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