Policies - Arthritis Action

Policies

Below you will find all of Arthritis Action’s Policy documents:

Privacy Policy

Any information given to Arthritis Action by Members will be held and used for the purpose of helping them with their arthritis; used for the purpose of contacting them regarding their membership; and used for mailing updates, general information, and copies of our Members’ magazine. All information provided by Members shall be treated as proprietary and confidential.

Cookies: We do not use cookies for collecting user information and we will not collect any information about you except that required for system administration of our web server.

Log files: We use our records of the pages users have visited on the website to analyse trends, administer the site and track user’s movements. Our records do not contain any personal information about users.

Links: This website may from time-to-time contain links to other sites. Please be aware that Arthritis Action is not responsible for the privacy practices of other web sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of other websites.

Notification of changes: If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page so our users are aware of what information we collect and how we use it.

Disclaimer

Ideas expressed in contributors’ articles on this website are not necessarily official policy of Arthritis Action.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this information, Arthritis Action will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any inaccuracy or error in these pages.

When the Arthritis Action website has links to other addresses on the World Wide Web, the existence of these links does not imply validation of the content or any information or endorsement of the goods or services offered. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and we have no control over the availability of linked pages.

Cookie Policy

What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small file that is sent to your computer or mobile phone which contains information that allows us to recognise that you have used our website before. A cookie typically contains:

  • The name of the server the cookie was sent from
  • The lifetime of the cookie
  • A unique identifier (usually a number)

Our website server sends the cookie and uses this number to recognise you when you return to a site or browse from page to page. Only the server that sends a cookie can read it, and therefore use, that cookie. This file is stored on your computer’s (or phone’s) hard drive. All websites can send a cookie to your browser if your browser settings allow it. Many websites do this to track on-line traffic flow.

Cookies can be categorised from their life span:

  • Session or temporary cookies: these cookies expire when you close your browser or when the session times out
  • Persistent or permanent cookies: these are usually stored on your hard disk and survive across multiple sessions but have a longer expiration date
    When you visit our website, the pages that you see, together with a cookie are downloaded to your device. This is a common practice on websites, because it allows website publishers to find out (amongst other things) whether the website has been visited before

Our cookies
The main cookies we use on our website are classed as ‘Strickly Necessary Cookies’. These cookies make our website function correctly e.g. online donations. These cookies do not need consent.

The website does use Google Analytics to store information about how well the website is performing. To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit – http://tools.google.com/dipage/gaoptout.

How to control or delete Cookies
If you do not want cookies to be stored on your PC it is possible to disable this function within your browser without affecting your navigation around the site.

In Internet Explorer, click on Tools, click on Settings, click on the Privacy tab and then use the slider bar to choose the level of privacy you want.

In Firefox, click on Tools, click on Options, click on Privacy, click on the Cookies tab and choose your level of privacy.

For other browsers, visit allaboutcookies.org.

However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our site. Unless you have adjusted your browser setting so that it will refuse cookies, our system will issue cookies as soon as you visit our site.

Data Protection

Permission to Hold and Use Personal Data

Arthritis Action receives personal data from members, volunteers, other individuals, contractors and companies which may include details such as name, address, date of birth, occupation, illness and date of diagnosis. Arthritis Action does not hold personal data without the permission of the person concerned. In the case of a child (under 16 years of age), the parent/guardian has to sign on the child’s behalf.

How and Where Personal Data is Held within Arthritis Action

Personal data is held on the Arthritis Action computer network in Arthritis Action’s offices.

Arthritis Action Groups may hold a file record and/or information on an Organising Team member’s computer about Arthritis Action Group members who have agreed to their personal data being passed from the Arthritis Action Offices to a Group.

Arthritis Action has established security procedures to prevent unauthorised access to personal data in the Arthritis Action Offices or in a Volunteers’ home.

How Personal Data is used

In the Arthritis Action Offices, the personal data is used for:

Sending appropriate information; processing of membership subscriptions, donations and covenants; sending approved questionnaires; sending mailings related to the services and activities of Arthritis Action; Statistical purposes.

At Arthritis Action, the personal data is used for:

Contacting members; sending mailings relating to Group services or activities; sending approved questionnaires; statistical purposes; research opportunities; sending the Arthritis Action Magazine and e-news and general information about Arthritis Action.

Data and Other Organisations

Arthritis Action uses an external company to maintain its website and some personal data (name, address, age, etc.) may be held in a database on the computer which runs the Arthritis Action Website. Arthritis Action has a contract with the external company which governs how data is kept secure and confidential.

Occasionally the Arthritis Action database and Arthritis Action computer system require maintenance support from the supplier companies. Arthritis Action has contracts with both companies that impose confidentiality obligations on them and their staff in relation to Arthritis Action’s data.

Arthritis Action does not provide data to any other organisation and does not exchange mailing lists with other charities or companies.

Time for which Data is kept

Following cancellation of membership with Arthritis Action, the Charity will hold personal data for seven years for financial purposes. To conform to Financial Law requirements and comply with Insurance Company rules, medical records, where applicable, will be kept for 10 years.

Access to Records

Individuals can apply for a printed copy of their records held at Arthritis Action by writing to the Chief Executive. Arthritis Action may make a charge for supplying a copy of such information.

Data Protection Compliance Officer

The Data Protection Compliance Officer for Arthritis Action is the Chief Executive, who can be contacted by writing or telephoning:

The Chief Executive, 56 Buckingham Gate, 2nd Floor, SW1E 6AE

Tel: 0203 781 7120

This policy will be reviewed annually, and amendments will be agreed by the Board of Trustees.

Volunteering Policy

This volunteering policy sets out the principles and practice by which Arthritis Action involves volunteers and is relevant to staff, volunteers and trustees within the organisation. It aims to create a common understanding and to clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure the highest standards are maintained in relation to the management of volunteers. The volunteer handbook gives further details about the support and procedures in place for volunteers.

Arthritis Action’s Commitments 

We recognise volunteers as an integral part of the organisation. Their contribution supports our mission and strategic aims, and complements the role of paid staff. We aim to encourage and support volunteer involvement to ensure that volunteering benefits the organisation, the members, the public and the volunteers themselves. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that paid staff are clear about the role of volunteers, and to foster good working relationships between paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers will not be used to replace staff. We are committed to offering a flexible range of opportunities and to encouraging a diversity of people to volunteer with us, including those from under-represented groups such as youth, people with a disability, older people and people from black and minority ethnic communities.

We recognise that there are costs associated with volunteer involvement and will seek to ensure adequate financial and staffing resources are available for the development and support of volunteering. We recognise that people have a right to participate in the life of their communities through volunteering and can contribute in many ways. We recognise our responsibility to organise volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of the volunteer’s time is best used to the mutual advantage of all concerned.

Who is a Volunteer?  

  • Volunteers are individuals who undertake activity on behalf of Arthritis Action, unpaid and of their own free choice. Volunteering as activity which is:
  • undertaken freely, by choice
  • undertaken to be of public/community benefit
  • not undertaken for financial gain (work experience placements and internships are not the same as volunteering)
  • Trustees are volunteers with responsibility for governance of the organisation

Volunteers may be involved on a one – off, short term or on a longer term, regular basis. They may be involved:

  • in the direct delivery of services
  • on our board of trustees
  • in community engagement to raise awareness of our work
  • in one-off events and promotional activities
  • in our offices or in community venues

Volunteers are valued for:

  • bringing additional skills and new perspectives to the organisation
  • enabling us to be more responsive and flexible in our approach
  • championing our cause within the wider community
  • enhancing the quality of our work and member experience
  • promoting the well-being of service users, staff, local communities and themselves

Standards of Good Practice  

Our management practice is informed by the Code of Practice for organisations involving volunteers and the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard for volunteer management.

Roles and Responsibilities  

A designated staff member (The Director of Member Services and Operations) has responsibility for the development and co-ordination of voluntary activity within the organisation, including volunteering policies and procedures, and the welfare of volunteers.

All volunteers have a designated staff member/volunteer for guidance, support and supervision. Staff responsibilities for volunteers will be explicitly referred to in their job/role description.

The volunteer role is based on trust and mutual understanding. There is no enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, for the volunteer to attend or to undertake particular tasks or for the organisation to provide continuing opportunities for voluntary involvement, provision of training or benefits. However, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what the organisation expects of volunteers and what volunteers expect of the organisation.

The organisation expects volunteers to:

  • be reliable and honest
  • uphold the organisation’s values and comply with organisational policies
  • make the most of opportunities given, e.g. for training
  • contribute positively to the aims of the organisation and avoid bringing the organisation into disrepute
  • carry out tasks within agreed guidelines

Volunteers can expect to:

  • have clear information about what is and is not expected of them
  • receive adequate support and training
  • be insured and to volunteer in a safe environment
  • be treated with respect and in a non-discriminatory manner
  • receive out of pocket expenses
  • have opportunities for personal development
  • be recognised and appreciated
  • be able to say ‘no’ to anything which they consider to be unrealistic or unreasonable
  • know what to do if something goes wrong

Recruitment and selection

  • Equal opportunities principles will be adhered to in recruiting volunteers.
  • Opportunities will be widely promoted so as to attract interest from different sectors of the community.
  • Positive action to target recruitment may be used where appropriate.
  • Online application is encouraged but non-digital methods of application are also available. Information will be made available to those enquiring about volunteering, including written role descriptions which set out the nature and purpose of the volunteering role, key tasks, skills required and benefits.
  • A risk assessment will be undertaken on all volunteer roles.
  • Recruitment will usually involve an informal interview, application form and the taking of references; the process will be defined and consistent for any given role – for example the recruitment process for trustees, regular volunteers and for volunteers for one off events will be tailored in each case and may differ from one another.
  • Where applicants are not able to be placed in their preferred role, they will be provided with feedback and given the opportunity to discuss alternative volunteering roles, or signposted to the local volunteer centre.
  • For roles which may involve sustained and direct contact with young people or adults at risk, where necessary, volunteers will be required to have a full DBS disclosure check which will be arranged by the organisation. DBS disclosures are dealt with in the strictest confidence. A criminal record is not necessarily a bar to volunteering.
  • Volunteers will be given induction and training appropriate to the specific tasks to be undertaken.

Support and Supervision  

Volunteers will be offered support and supervision as appropriate, and this is discussed during induction. Arrangements vary according to the volunteer and the role undertaken, and may include telephone support, group meetings or one to one reviews.

Recognition  

Volunteers will be given the opportunity, where relevant, to share their views and opinions with the organisation’s wider staff, at staff meetings etc. Formal recognition of the contribution of volunteers is expressed through annual reports, website articles, social media, and during Volunteers’ Week celebrations.

Dealing with Problems  

  • The organisation aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently.
  • It seeks to ensure that volunteers’ views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly.
  • We will attempt to deal with any problems informally and at the earliest opportunity.
  • All volunteers will have a named person to whom they can turn in the case of any difficulty.
  • Volunteers will be made aware of the organisation’s complaints policy and how to use it. They will also be made aware of how inappropriate behaviour by volunteers will be addressed by the organisation. 

Expenses  

Volunteers will be given clear information about what expenses can be claimed and how to make a claim.

Moving On  

  • When volunteers move on from volunteering with us, they will be asked to provide feedback on the volunteering experience by way of an exit questionnaire. They will also be given the opportunity to discuss their responses to the questionnaire more fully.
  • Volunteers who have remained with the organisation for at least 3 months will have the right to request a reference.
  • Volunteers will be supported to move on to other options.

Other Relevant Documents  

The Volunteer Handbook includes detailed, useful information for volunteers, including template forms. Organisational policies relevant to volunteers include Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, Confidentiality, Social Media, Safeguarding, and Complaints.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this sheet is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.

Safeguarding Policy

Arthritis Action is committed to preventing the abuse and neglect of all people (adults, young people and children) who come into contact with the Charity’s services. We aim to adopt the highest possible standards and take all reasonable steps in relation to the safety and welfare of staff, volunteers, Members, Associated Practitioners, contractors and people who work directly with the Charity.

Arthritis Action usually works with adults, but we have included the safeguarding of children and young people in case we come into contact with them for any reason.

What is Abuse?

Abuse is a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action which causes harm or distress to a person.

A person may need protection from:

  • Physical abuse: including hitting, slapping and punching.
  • Sexual abuse: including rape and other acts to which consent has not been given.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse: including threats and humiliation.
  • Neglect: including being left without food, heating or personal care.
  • Discrimination: including unfair treatment because of gender, race, culture, background, age, disability, sexuality or illness.
  • Domestic abuse or violence
  • Financial or material abuse
  • Modern Slavery
  • Organisational or institutional abuse
  • Self-neglect

Abuse can happen anywhere.  For example: in a clinic, a hospital, in a residential/nursing home, workplace, day centre, supported housing, or in the street. The person abusing could be a family member, friend, neighbour, volunteer or carer.

How Arthritis Action Safeguards

We aim to safeguard by encouraging the following:

Empowerment

People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and give informed consent.

Prevention

It is better to take action before harm occurs.

Proportionality

The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.

Protection

Support and representation for those in greatest need.

Partnership

Working with local communities, who have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.

Accountability

Accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice.

Arthritis Action does this by:

  • Valuing people, listening to them and respecting them as individuals.
  • Implementing thorough procedures and a code of practice for staff and volunteers, which adopts safeguarding best practices.
  • Providing effective management for all staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
  • Recruiting staff and volunteers using safer recruitment best practice, ensuring all necessary checks are completed.
  • Sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with staff, volunteers, Associated Practitioners and Members.
  • Sharing concerns with relevant agencies and involving carers appropriately.
  • Informing all staff, volunteers, Members and people who work in any capacity with Arthritis Action, of its policies and safeguarding expectations.

Enhanced Safeguarding

People who may require special safeguarding are adults, young people and children at risk.

Who is an Adult at Risk?

A vulnerable adult is a person over the age of 18 who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm. This may be due to a physical disability, learning disability, ageing, sensory impairment or a mental health problem.

Who is a Child or Young Person at Risk?

A child or young person could be anyone under the age of 18 years.

How do I report a suspected case of abuse?

Contact a member of the Executive Management Team (EMT) and they will take the necessary and proportional action. The information you give us will be handled sensitively, but it is EMT’s responsibility to report any incidents of abuse, so the information you share may not be treated confidentially.

At the first instance you should write down anything anyone has told you, or why you think abuse may be taking place, and forward this to the EMT member you reported the incident to.

Advertisement Policy

Arthritis Action:

  1. Does not enter into any commercial agreement that would allow its independence or credibility to be compromised.
  2. Should not recommend any specific product or service to members and should not encourage members to use a service or buy a product out of loyalty to the charity.
  3. Does not carry advertisements or accept payments or donations for goods or services referred to in its national newsletter, on its website or in its leaflets.
  4. May receive an income from companies who provide goods or services for people affected by arthritis, who request a link from the national Arthritis Action website. Approval for such links rests with the Chief Executive whose decision will be based on the potential benefit of the goods or services to people affected by arthritis rather than financial reward for the charity. The inclusion of a link from the national website does not imply an endorsement or recommendation, and a disclaimer to this effect will be included each time a link appears.

Arthritis Action Groups:

  1. Must not enter into any commercial agreement and if approached should inform the Arthritis Action office immediately.
  2. Should acknowledge donations and support given for Arthritis Action activities in a way that does not constitute advertising.
  3. Should not see any reference to goods or services as an implied endorsement or recommendation. A disclaimer to this effect must be included in any media where goods or services are mentioned.

Donations Acceptance Policy

This policy is aligned with the Codes of Fundraising Practice set out by the Institute of Fundraising.

The Trustees and the Executive Management Team (EMT) of Arthritis Action take overall legal responsibility for decisions relating to donation acceptance or refusal. They must be able to demonstrate that they have acted in the best interest of the Charity. On a day-to-day basis, the Chief Executive Officer, along with other members of the EMT, are responsible for making decisions in relation to the acceptance or refusal of donations.

Trustees and EMT must not receive any personal benefit (individually or collectively) from donations or other material support offered to the Charity.

Guidelines for accepting donations

  • Donations from individuals or corporates must align with the vision, mission and values of Arthritis Action. Arthritis Action has the right to refuse donations that do not fall within these guidelines, would impact our independence as a Charity or cause harm to our beneficiaries.
  • Before partnering with a donor offering a large donation, or any corporate, Arthritis Action will conduct due diligence checks to ensure there is no involvement in any criminal acts or corruption.
  • Anonymous donations of £25,000 or more need to be reported to the Charity Commission as a serious incident. Anonymous donations that are lower than £25,000 will be dealt with and considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Arthritis Action will not accept donations from industries that could cause controversy to the Charity, such as tobacco, alcohol or arms manufacturing.
  • If working with pharmaceutical companies, their funding must not exceed 10% of our total budgeted income and will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Any cause-related marketing or endorsement partnership must align with our principles of self-management and healthy lifestyles.
  • Donors of any kind will not be given access to our database of Members and supporters.
  • Arthritis Action will not partner with anyone aiming to affect our policies.

Complaints Policy

Arthritis Action is committed to providing a good quality self-management approach and the highest possible quality of member care at all times. We recognise, however, that we may sometimes get things wrong or make mistakes. We do not look on complaints as unwanted. In fact, they may help us to see where our services or practices might be improved. So do let us know where you feel we have made a mistake or done something that you found unsatisfactory or unacceptable. Even if you do not think your particular concern amounts to a ‘complaint’ we would still like to know about it. You may help us to deal with something we would otherwise overlook.

Making a complaint

  1. If you feel able, you should talk to the person concerned with your issue or complaint.
  2. The next step is to talk with the staff member’s line manager.
  3. If the complaint is not resolved the next step is to talk to the Director of the Arthritis Action service involved.
  4. If the matter is still unresolved you should make a formal complaint to The Chief Executive Officer. On receipt of a formal complaint you will receive a reply within 5 working days and a copy of the Arthritis Action’s Complaints Procedure.
  5. If the matter remains unresolved your complaint will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for consideration.

Research Policy

Arthritis Action is committed to working in partnership with individuals, charities and organisations that undertake research with the aim to empower people with arthritis to manage their condition and reduce the need for medical intervention.  The research should be aimed at:

  1. Preventing the onset of arthritis
  2. Developing a cure for arthritis
  3. Enabling people to better manage their arthritis symptoms

Our aim is to facilitate research and be known as a resource for researchers.

Proactive Research

Arthritis Action will network and keep in contact with other Arthritis and MSK charities to keep abreast with potential research opportunities. Arthritis Action will not normally fund research directly as our policy is to invest in the provision of member services. We will, however, consider collaboration with other organisations as our aim is to work with people who are funding research and who want a partner to:

  1. Assist them to develop their research
  2. To trial a technological product or aid
  3. To trial an approach or new technique

Reactive Research

Arthritis Action is open to hearing from people who are undertaking studies, for example PhD and Masters Courses.  Arthritis Action will inform members of opportunities to become involved with these research studies.

For more information please contact: info@arthritisaction.org.uk

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Policy

Arthritis Action has a duty of care to anyone who comes into contact with the Charity. It is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff, volunteers, members and users of its services, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.

Arthritis Action actively promotes equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcomes applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records.  Arthritis Action selects all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.

Arthritis Action would only submit an application for a criminal record check to the DBS after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned.  Where a DBS check is identified as necessary, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that an application for a DBS certificate will be submitted in the event of the individual being offered the position.

This Policy will be available to those applying for positions at the time of recruitment.

We also comply fully with the Code of Practice issued under section 122 of the Police Act 1997.  As a result, we make every subject of a criminal record check submitted to the DBS aware of the existence of this Code and undertake not to discriminate unfairly against them as a result of any convictions or other information revealed.  A copy of the Code of Practice can be found on the following website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-code-of-practice.

Arthritis Acton

  1. will only ask for details of convictions and cautions that we are legally entitled to know about.
  2. will only submit a criminal record check to the DBS after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For positions where a criminal records check is identified as necessary, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that an application for a DBS certificate will be submitted in the event of the individual being offered the position
  3. ensures that all its employees who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences and have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders.
  4. ensures that an open and measured discussion takes place about any offences or other matter that might be relevant for the position. However, failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to a withdrawal of an offer of employment.
  5. undertakes to discuss any matter revealed on a DBS certificate with the individual seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.

 

Last reviewed July 2019