A successful club requires proactive, supportive work behind the scenes. STARCLUBs create and implement policies and procedures that protect volunteers by preventing serious situations arising or managing them effectively if they do. STARCLUBs also use their volunteer induction processes to ensure volunteers are aware of the policies applicable to them and the club.
Policies and procedures specific to managing volunteers are important because they:
protect the club from liability
provide guidelines for dealing with important issues
demonstrate best practice
may fulfil legal requirements
provide clarity on acceptable/unacceptable conduct.
Type of club membership affects policies The policies a club implements will vary depending on the sport, the size of the club and, importantly, on its type of membership. If a club:
is an ‘employer’ (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking or PCBU), there are requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (WHS).
Organisations with one or more employee From 1 January 2013, the WHS Act replaced the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act in SA (in line with many other states and the Commonwealth). The Act outlines the requirements of organisations that operate as an ‘employer’ (PCBU) but also engage volunteers.
If your club is a PCBU under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, then the laws require that you ensure the physical and mental health and safety of your workers, including any volunteers you may have, so far as is reasonably practicable.
To determine if your club is a PCBU – and for more information on the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (WHS) – go to SafeWorkSA or the SafeWork Australia resource for volunteers and volunteer organisations.
Organisations with only volunteers Volunteer organisations – those that do not have any paid workers and are therefore not a PCBU – are not required to comply with the requirements of the WHS Act, but they still have a duty of care to their volunteers under the Volunteer Protection Act 2001.
The Volunteer Protection Act 2001 provides a level of protection for volunteers so that they may feel comfortable in fulfilling their volunteer obligations.
For more about protecting your volunteers, read the Volunteer Protection Act 2001 factsheet. For additional information, visit the Office for Volunteers website.
Payment to volunteers Clubs are not obligated to reimburse their volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in volunteering, although many choose to do so.
To determine whether the method your club uses to ‘reimburse’ its volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses is correct and to learn about the possible tax implications for your club, visit the Australian Tax Office ‘Volunteers and Tax’ Guide. An honorarium is a small amount of money paid to a person for a service for which no official charge is made. Whether an honorarium is assessable income in the hands of a volunteer depends on the nature of the payment and the recipient’s circumstances. ‘Honorary rewards for voluntary services are not assessable as income and related expenses are not deductible’.
Visit the Australian Taxation Office for more information on volunteers and honorariums.
Policies and measures to protect your club and its volunteers Before creating any policies or measures, contact your State or National Sporting Organisation. Many will have policies you can adapt for your club.
Volunteers as Members When clubs engage a volunteer, it is recommended that the volunteer becomes a member (see V-STAR section ‘Recruit Volunteers’).
Alternatively, the volunteer should be asked to sign off on:
the club’s codes of behaviour
an agreement to abide by relevant club policies.
Risk management plan A risk management plan will determine how your club intends to manage risks. It describes the policies, procedures, practices, responsibilities, activities, the approachand the resources that will be used to manage risk. To help your club develop a risk management plan, the Office for Recreation and Sport Risk Management Resource is available for download.
Play by the Rules and The Office for Volunteers also have valuable risk-management resources.
Member protection policy A member protection policy should apply to all people involved in a club including paid staff, committee members, administrators, coaches, officials (umpires/referees/judges, etc.), volunteers, participants, parents and spectators.
This type of policy outlines how the organisation will protect its members, volunteers and children and the rules by which persons must abide.
Your State Sporting Organisation (SSO) may have a template for you to adapt. The Office for Recreation and Sport website also has a template for clubs to adapt.
Volunteers and children If a club provides recreation or sporting services wholly or partly for children, then the volunteers (and employees) are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse under the Children’s Protection Act 1996. The club has a legal obligation to make each volunteer aware of this obligation.
There is no obligation for clubs to provide formal training for their volunteers in this area; however, it is highly recommended that volunteers in certain roles be taught to recognise and report suspected incidents of child abuse.
To help fulfil this requirement, clubs should appoint someone within the organisation to be the Child Safe Officer. The role of the Child Safe Officer is to deliver advice to club members regarding their responsibilities in the area of child protection and to be the first point of contact for members who have concerns about a child or young person. A three-hour course to advise the Child Safe Officer of his/her role is available at the Office for Recreation and Sport.
Clubs are reminded that volunteers younger than 18 years of age must be afforded the same protection in a child safe environment as participants who are younger than 18. For more information, go to the Office for Recreation and Sport website.
Play by the Rules offers online training, a Club Toolkit and other searchable resources that are valuable tools relating to this subject.
Code of behaviour A code of behaviour outlines the behaviour and conduct required of everyone involved with a club and its activities including administrators, participants, volunteers, coaches, officials and spectators.
It is highly recommended that all persons involved with a club sign a statement saying they have read and will abide by the club’s code of behaviour. This could be included with membership applications. Posters could be used to inform visiting spectators of the expected behaviours.
An example of a code of behaviour can be found on the Play by the Rules website.
Volunteers and insurance Insurance can include cover for accidents and injuries, participation liability, member-to-member liability and professional indemnity for volunteers. It can also be tailored to suit the risks specific to your sport or club.
The most cost-effective way to obtain insurance cover is through a group insurance scheme; some SSOs already have policies that extend cover to their affiliated clubs.
Check with your SSO about this option or to ensure that your club’s regulations are drafted in accordance with state/national policies.
Other recommended policies:
(Contact your SSO for templates and examples.)
Senior selection policy
Junior selection policy
Conflict of interest
Download the Australian Sports Commission’s ‘Sporting clubs guide to a safe workplace’for information, advice and factsheets.
Add to Action Plan
Determine the policies needed
Develop Policy Review Plan and record review details
Contact your state body regarding assistance/templates
Develop/write the needed policies
Check insurance cover
Appoint a Child Safe Officer
Develop a form for volunteers to sign regarding codes of behaviour and abiding by club policies