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Code of conduct drawn up for volunteers at Edinburgh festivals

Tickets sold at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 marked a 7.7% increase on 2015 A 10-point code of conduct has been drawn up for Edinburgh’s 11 festivals
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A 10-point code of conduct outlining how Edinburgh’s 11 festivals should work with volunteers is to go before the city’s council.

The code will be debated and is expected to be passed at the coming Culture and Communities Committee on Tuesday 19 June 2018.

It was first proposed in January this year by councillor Alex Staniforth following concern at the extensive use of volunteers during the city’s Hogmanay celebrations, organised by Underbelly.

The code brings together existing volunteering policies from across the festivals and aligns them with good practice guidelines from Volunteer Edinburgh and Volunteer Scotland.

It says that unpaid volunteers should be able to get reasonable expenses and should not replace paid positions, including paid staff involved in industrial disputes. It will cover volunteers working for festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Commenting on the use of volunteers and the proposed code, convenor of the culture committee, councillor Donald Wilson said: “We recognise we have a responsibility as the festival city to promote best practice. We also want to ensure our festivals provide positive experiences for all who take part.

“That is why we have worked with relevant partners and festival bodies to develop this draft set of guidelines, which set out a standard we would hope and expect organisers and others to adopt.”

The code of conduct has been drawn up with the help of Festivals Edinburgh, trade unions and Edinburgh’s major festivals.

Code of Conduct on the use of Volunteers at Festivals and Events (in full):

  1. Volunteers should give of their time freely, and not through compulsion.
  2. Volunteers are unpaid roles but volunteers should receive reasonable out of pocket expenses.
  3. Volunteer roles should be genuinely additional roles, and not replace paid positions.
  4. Volunteering roles should benefit the individual volunteer as well as the organisation involved.
  5. Volunteers should be clear about their roles and responsibilities, and be provided with a role description outlining key elements of the role.
  6. Volunteers should have access to appropriate training and development, and an appropriately trained named contact to provide the necessary support for their role.
  7. Volunteers should have opportunities to contribute to volunteering policies and procedures through feedback.
  8. Volunteers should have access to a mechanism to deal with any grievances that they may have.
  9. Organisations should take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure volunteers’ health, safety and welfare while volunteering.
  10. Organisations should endeavour to involve volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities and ensure volunteering opportunities are as accessible as possible.
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