• Tag: For Organisations

    Scottish Government proposes charges for volunteers’ PVGs. 

    What’s Happening? 

    Disclosure Scotland has opened a proposal to introduce fees for volunteering. They plan to remove the current fee waiver and apply a  fee of £28 for volunteers to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme membership (this is a 60% reduction on the proposed standard fee of £70). If implemented, this will have a huge impact on volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. 

    Disclosure Scotland are also making changes to the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020. As part of this, the PVG membership scheme will become a legal requirement for those in ‘Regulated Roles’, this could mean that even more people will need to be signed up to the PVG scheme, thus more people will be affected by the fee proposal. 

    Our Stance 

    • We believe volunteering should be free for everyone. Volunteers give their time and effort to help others and asking them to pay to do so is insulting.  
    • At a time when we are in a volunteer crisis and volunteer numbers are steadily falling, this only puts up more barriers to volunteering. Many organisations rely on volunteers to do important work, and adding fees will make it harder for them to recruit volunteers. 
    • The implementation of this fee goes against core values and meaning of volunteering. The Volunteer Charter from Volunteer Scotland mentions, “No one should be prevented from volunteering due to their income.”. 

    What You Can Do 

    Now is your chance to speak up. We are conducting our own survey to examine the impact  implementing fees for PVGs could have on volunteers and volunteer involving organisations: 

    ALSO, we strongly encourage you to submit your views to the VSDS online consultation. They will use this feedback to decide whether to go forward with these fee structures. Your responses are crucial. 

    Submit your views now before the consultation closes on Tuesday 28 May. 

    You do not need to answer every question, however we urge you to answer the ‘discount for volunteers’ section. The two questions are as follows: 

    Question 6 – Do you agree with the proposal to move to a fee discount structure for volunteers in QVOs? 

    [Yes / no / don’t know] 

    Question 7 – What information do you think we need to consider when proposing moving to a fee discount for volunteers in QVOs? 

    [Free text] 

    We think Question 6 is ambiguous and could be interpreted in different ways. We recommend you do not to answer this question, and instead write your full response under Question 7

    Spread the Word 

    Share this information with your colleagues, friends, and anyone else who might be interested. Together, we can make sure volunteering stays accessible for everyone. 

    To learn more about changes to the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020, visit www.disclosure.gov.scot/changes

    Boogie & Arlene Want You… To Nominate For The Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2024!

    NOMINATIONS CLOSE NEXT WEEK for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 🎉

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of Volunteers’ Week, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    A big thank you to Boogie & Arlene from Forth One for helping us get the message out!


    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    Good Governance in the Third Sector

    Moving your Board Meetings Online

    This month we’re publishing a series of blog posts to help organisations update their governing documents if needed, so online meetings can continue. Here’s the first blog written by our Deputy Chief Officer, Rebecca McKinney:

    Wiki Education board meeting June 2020 via Zoom by LiAnna (Wiki Ed) is licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The process for how your organisation holds board meetings and members’ meetings such as AGMs and EGMs will be set out in your governing document. In normal times, you must follow this process.

    In response to the Covid 19 Pandemic, some rules have been loosened to allow meetings to be held virtually even when this is not stated in your governing document. However, the rules are currently scheduled to revert back at the end of March, 2021. This means that if you want to continue having virtual board or members’ meetings, you may have to change your governing document. Here’s what to do next:

    1. Find your constitution or your articles of association and read the sections pertaining to the conduct of Directors’/Trustees’ meetings and Members’ meetings.
    2. Does the document specify that meetings may take place electronically or virtually?
    3. Or, does it have clauses stating that the meeting will be treated as taking place regardless of where participants actually are?
    4. Remember to check sections pertaining to both DIRECTORS and MEMBERS.
    5. If YES, you don’t have to make any changes to your governing document.
    6. If NO, read on:
    If your organisation is a SCIO or unincorporated charity, see these NEXT STEPS:

    1. Hold an AGM or EGM and pass a resolution to make the change to your constitution. Remember that this meeting must be quorate. At least two thirds of members who participate in the vote must agree to the change.

    2. Inform OSCR within three months that you have made the change, by sending their notification form and a copy of your amended constitution. You can find out more about how to do this here. Suggested text is available via SCVO. You will need to adjust the wording and clause numbering to match your particular constitution.

    Add immediately after clause 40: “40A. The board may make arrangements, in advance of any members’ meeting, to allow members to participate in the members’ meeting by means of a conference telephone, video conferencing facility or similar communications equipment – so long as all those participating in the meeting can hear each other; a member participating in a members’ meeting in this manner shall be deemed to be present in person at the meeting.”

    Amend clause 44: “44 Every member has one vote, which must be given personally; for the avoidance of doubt, a vote given by a member participating in the meeting through any of the methods referred to in clause 40A will be taken to be given personally for the purposes of this clause.”

    Add immediately after clause 86: “86A. A charity trustee may participate in a meeting of the board by means of a conference telephone, video conferencing facility or similar communications equipment – so long as all the charity trustees participating in the meeting can hear each other; a charity trustee participating in a meeting in this manner shall be deemed to be present in person at the meeting.”

    Amend clause 90: “90. Every charity trustee has one vote, which must be given personally; for the avoidance of doubt, a vote given by a charity trustee participating in the meeting through any of the methods referred to in clause 86A will be taken to be given personally for the purposes of this clause.”

    If your organisation is a Company Ltd by Guarantee WITH charitable status, follow these NEXT STEPS:

    1. Hold an AGM or EGM and pass a resolution to make the change to your Articles of Association. Remember that this meeting must be quorate. At least two thirds of members who participate in the vote must agree to the change.

    2. Inform Companies House of the change to your Articles within 15 days. You can find out how to do this here.

    3. Inform OSCR within three months that you have made the change, by sending their notification form and a copy of your amended constitution. You can find out more about how to do this here.

    Some sample statements you may insert into your Articles are:

    In determining whether directors are participating in a directors’ meeting, it is irrelevant where any director is or how they communicate with each other.

    or

    If all the directors participating in a meeting are not in the same place, they may decide that the meeting is to be treated as taking place wherever any of them is.

    And

    In determining attendance at a general meeting, it is immaterial whether any two or more members attending it are in the same place as each other.

    If your organisation is a CIC or Company Ltd by Guarantee without charitable status, follow these NEXT STEPS:

    Check your CIC Articles. It is likely that these already contain a clause enabling you to hold meetings in which all participants are not in the same place. In this case, you do not need to make any changes.

    If you do need to amend your articles, follow the same procedure as ‘If your organisation is a Company Ltd by Guarantee WITH charitable status’ above, but because you are not a charity, you will not have to inform OSCR.

    On 24 February we’re holding a free workshop for Midlothian third sector organisations that may need to change their governing document to allow virtual meetings.

    Virtual meeting best practice

    "Zoom meeting" by chericbaker is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

    A poor internet connection, a frozen screen and Zoom fatigue are all problems that those of us taking part in video meetings have experienced during the pandemic.

    For all the downsides, video meetings have allowed some organisations to keep working under lockdown, and they can also be easier to attend for those with mobility issues or busy schedules. The technology reduces the costs of holding meetings, and businesses are now less dependent on office space.

    If your organisation wants to keep holding official meetings online or by phone (such as AGMs) after 30 March 2021, you may need to update your governing documents.

    Over the next three weeks we’re going to publish a series of blog posts that outline how to work out if you need to update your governing documents to allow for continued online meetings. We’ll provide some sample lines to use, and share case studies on what other businesses have learnt from holding meetings online. Topics we’ll cover will include how to manage online voting, preparing for those potential technical hitches and avoiding disruptive ‘Zoombombing’.

    Keep an eye on the news page over the coming weeks- follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll let you know when the next post is live.

    On 24 February we’re holding a free workshop for Midlothian third sector organisations that may need to change their governing document to allow virtual meetings.

    Brexit’s not long away. Is your organisation prepared?

    With all the discussions about Covid-19 in recent months, it is easy to forget that we will still be leaving the EU on 31 December 2020. There will be guaranteed changes from January 1st for businesses as we start our new relationship with the EU. There are many actions you can take today to prepare. Third sector organisations are being urged to: 

    It is worth doing one or more of these things now, as Brexit (the real thing) will be upon us very soon!

    Winter driving skills for staff and volunteers

    Cars and lorries on a snowy motorway.

    Lothian 4×4 Drivers are offering winter driving skills training for staff and volunteers, aimed at helping them to be safer and more confident driving in winter conditions. In the past, participants in the sessions have given them a unanimous thumbs up, being educational and entertaining too – and certainly contributing to the safety and confidence of local drivers during the winter months.

    This opportunity is a great one to include in your winter planning and preparation. It will be an online session, for obvious reasons. If you are interested in this for your staff and/or volunteers but wouldn’t have 10 people available to participate, get in touch and we’ll try to group more than one organisation together. 

    Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme opens

    The Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is a £25m Scottish Government funded programme aiming to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. As well as providing ongoing crisis support, the fund will enable changes that will help organisations to adapt and thrive in a very different social and economic climate. The programme has two main strands: 

    This stream aims to support organisational change. It offers tailored support and funding to develop a plan so that third sector organisations can operate sustainably post-pandemic. 

    This stream supports the delivery of services in communities that were suspended or reduced because of COVID-19, or the creation of services that tackle new challenges presented by the pandemic. 

    You can apply now

    Both strands are now open. The two funds are based around an integrated system so, if required, a request can be made to both programmes using a single application form.