1. You are a volunteer
The position of Tuesday and Thursday Night Advice Service (‘TNAS1’ & ‘TNAS2”) Volunteer Solicitor at the Women’s Legal Centre ACT (‘the Centre’) is a volunteer position. This means that, if you accept the role, you perform all duties on a voluntary basis and you will not receive remuneration or payment for your work.
Neither the Centre or yourself intend any employment or contractual relationship to be created (i.e. you are not an employee, independent contractor or consultant at the Centre). If this changes at any time, and there is a possibility that you might undertake paid work for the organisation or be involved in vocational training, we will discuss this and document the arrangement in a formal employment contract, contract for services or other arrangement.
2. What you can expect when volunteering at the Centre
Volunteer Position: Tuesday and Thursday Night Advice Service – Solicitor
Purpose: TNAS Volunteer will provide accurate family law advice and referrals to clients of the Centre.
Supervision: TNAS is supervised by the Principal Solicitor, and all advices are signed off by the Principal Solicitor.
Duties and Responsibilities:
• Completing conflict of interest checks at least 2 business days prior to the allocated appointment;
• Providing accurate family law advice to provide the client with their next step in their legal matter, including advising the client of relevant limitation periods;
• Identifying client’s legal and non-legal needs (if applicable) and making targeted and appropriate referrals when the clients need assistance outside the scope of the Centre’s expertise or capacity;
• Providing referrals to three private family lawyers if appropriate if the client needs ongoing assistance with their family law matter;
• In certain circumstances, liaising with the Centre about providing ongoing assistance to a client if it is not appropriate to refer the client to a private solicitor;
• Accurately recording client data as required, including taking detailed file notes in accordance with the Legal Practice Manual and NACLC Risk Management Guide;
• Attending ongoing training provided by the Centre;
• Other tasks as allocated by the supervisor from time to time.
• You agree to attend the Centre from 5:30pm until 7:30pm on a rostered Tuesday or Thursday. You will be provided a roster once every 6 months. If the allocated dates do not suit, we would be pleased if you could speak with your family law colleagues to find a suitable replacement (an existing volunteer solicitor) and advise the Centre accordingly. If you are unable to find a replacement, please let the Centre know as soon as possible.
• We would be pleased if the volunteer remains in the role for a minimum of 12 months.
• The volunteer and the Centre will then reconsider this volunteer role based on the capacity of the volunteer to assist on an ongoing basis and the needs of the Centre.
Volunteer Role Location:
• The volunteer will work at the Centre’s office address at 21 Barry Drive Canberra, ACT. The volunteer is responsible for arranging transport to and from this address.
The Centre values its volunteers and we will endeavour to provide you with:
• induction, orientation and any training necessary for the volunteer role;
• a safe environment in which to perform your role;
• respect for your privacy, including keeping your private information confidential;
• a supervisor, so that you can ask questions and get feedback;
• insurance to cover you for the volunteer duties you are authorised to perform.
3. What the Centre asks of its volunteers
We ask you to:
• support the Centre’s aims and objectives;
• participate in all relevant induction and training programs;
• let us know if you are unable to attend your volunteer shift with appropriate notice;
• only undertake duties you are authorised to perform and always operate under the direction and supervision of nominated staff and comply with reasonable directions and instructions;
• understand and comply with the organisation’s policies and procedures including privacy and confidentiality policies, and any duties and responsibilities under the Legal Profession Act 2006 (ACT) and ACT Legal Profession (Solicitor) Conduct Rules if applicable;
• notify your supervisor or another member of staff of any health and safety issues or potentially hazardous situations that may pose a risk to you or others and report any accidents or incidents relating to staff, volunteers, or the workplace;
• behave appropriately and courteously to all staff, clients and the public during your role;
• use any property or equipment given to you in your role safely and only for purpose of the role and return it to the organisation when you finish your volunteer role;
• let us know if you wish to change the nature of your contribution (e.g. hours, role) to the Centre at any time;
• always comply with the law, and
• be open and honest in your dealings with us and let us know if we can improve our volunteer program and the support that you receive.
4. Contact person
Your contact person at the Centre will be the Client Services Manager Ania Zalewska and your supervisor will be the Principal Solicitor Claudia Maclean. If you have any questions or concerns about your role, your health and safety, or if there is any assistance you need to help you undertake your role, please contact the Client Services Manager as soon as possible.
5. The health and safety of you and others
At the Centre, volunteer safety, and the safety of everyone who is involved in our organisation, is a priority. The Centre has a duty of care to minimise risks to everyone affected by its conduct.
It also means that as a volunteer, you may have OHS duties too. These include:
• to take reasonable care for your own health and safety;
• to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others;
• to comply with any reasonable instruction by the Centre;
• to let the Centre know of any concerns you may have about safety and/or fitness in undertaking our role, and
• to cooperate with any reasonable policies and procedures of the Centre.
We will provide you an induction, safety equipment and role training when you commence as a volunteer with our organisation. However, please do not hesitate to talk to your contact officer at any time if you have any health and safety concerns.
6. Induction and training required before you start in the volunteer role
The Centre is committed to providing suitable training in support of our health and safety, discrimination and privacy policies. For this reason, it is our policy that all volunteers undertake induction and/or training at the Centre prior to commencing their volunteer position.
7. Information we require before you can start in the volunteer role
Before you can commence the volunteer role, we need the following information:
• Your current CV, including two referees’ names and their contact details;
• If you are a solicitor, a current volunteer practising certificate issued by the ACT Law Society or if you are employed by a law firm, a copy of your current practising certificate;
• A certified copy of your current driver’s licence or passport;
• A completed contact information form.
8. Volunteer Benefits
We may sometimes provide you with other benefits as part of your volunteering role (examples include training, free food, accommodation, event entry, clothing or equipment). Where this occurs, it is on a gratuitous basis at the discretion of the Centre and is not payment in lieu of salary.
We are committed to providing adequate insurance cover for volunteers whilst carrying out their volunteering roles that have been approved and authorised by us.
The Centre has the following insurances: Personal Indemnity Insurance, Public Liability Insurance and Volunteers Insurance.
To ensure this insurance covers you for incidents that occur while you are volunteering with us, you need to comply with the Centre’s Work Health and Safety policy and report an incident as soon as it has occurred.
We want to let you know that the following events are unlikely to be covered by our insurance:
• actions that are beyond the scope of your volunteer role, or that occur without appropriate authority or permission from us;
• criminal activity (including criminal charges arising out of driving incidents);
• dishonest or reckless activities.
10. Intellectual Property
All volunteers at the Centre agree to transfer all intellectual property rights and interests (including copyright) in any ideas or materials they create relating to their provision of voluntary services at the Centre to the Centre.
Volunteers are taken to consent to the Centre’s use of such creations in a manner reasonably contemplated by the voluntary services provided under this document. As a volunteer you also agree not to bring any claim for infringement of your moral rights in respect of that use.
Please sign to acknowledge that you have read this Volunteer Agreement and have had an opportunity to ask questions.
Volunteer Code of Conduct & Confidentiality Agreement
The Centre works with the ACT’s most vulnerable women. The Centre adopts a trauma-informed approach to its practice, and promotes an accessible, professional and respectful approach to service delivery.
You understand you are to:
• Treat all clients with respect;
• Be courteous, professional and respectful in all your dealings with clients, staff and other volunteers;
• Avoid conflict of interests between the client and yourself, and report any potential or perceived conflicts of interest to the Principal Solicitor or Executive Director;
• Consider the client’s accessibility needs and adopt a client-centered approach in your communications with clients. For example, this includes utilising translating services when appropriate and considering the individual needs of the clients and their capacity to engage with the Centre.
You understand that confidential client information must not be shared with any agency or individual outside the Women’s Legal Centre ACT without the client’s consent.
You are required to report any possible breaches of information barriers to the Principal Solicitor or Executive Director.
You understand the Centre recognises the importance of maintaining confidentiality and is committed to preserving the privacy of its clients, volunteers and staff.
You agree to:
• Keep strictly confidential all identifying information about clients, Centre staff and volunteers. This includes, yet is not limited to:
o Distributing information outside the Centre without the client’s permission;
o Discussing client matters and identifying particulars of a client’s matter with individuals not associated with the Centre without the client’s permission.
• Ensure precautionary measures are taken to protect the identity and privacy of its volunteer staff (i.e. not divulging surnames, places of employment, etc.); and
• Take appropriate steps to protect the identity and privacy of staff (i.e. utilising generic email accounts and switchboard numbers) when liaising with clients.