Volunteer with us!
Our Volunteers are at the heart of the Coroner’s Court.
Are you a caring, compassionate and sensitive person? Would you like to help support families and witnesses who may be experiencing a wide range of emotions and feelings when attending a Coroner’s Court? You can make a difference by helping to support families around the UK when they need someone to talk to, and to explain the processes and procedures to them, during a sensitive and difficult time.
We welcome every volunteer and value the work they do for us, from all walks of life.
Please get in touch with us if you are interested in a very rewarding position.
We are currently recruiting to the following areas:
Crewe & Chester
Lincoln & Boston
Newcastle upon Tyne
What do our volunteers think?
Our Equal Opportunity & Diversity Policy
The Coroners’ Courts Support Service is an equal opportunities organisation.
Our policy is to ensure that no witness or family member attending an Inquest, employee, volunteer, Trustee, Management Committee member or job applicant receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual preference or disability, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justifiable.
Selection criteria and procedures are regularly reviewed to ensure that individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Employees and volunteers will be given equal opportunity and, where appropriate, special training to enable them to progress within the organisation.
What do we look for in a Volunteer?
We look for volunteers who have:
- The ability to work alone, but also as part of a managed diverse team;
- The ability to work reliably within a rota system;
- Willingness to be contacted and to make contact with the Coordinator and the Lead Volunteer;
- Commitment to undertake initial induction and training;
- Willingness to work within the framework of the CCSS:
- Adherence to the policy of confidentiality;
- Ability to listen and communicate with a wide range of people which will include, but not limited to; families, members of the public, Coroners, legal and medical professionals, Local Authority and Police staff;
- Ability to be adaptable. To use own initiative and react appropriately to changing situations. This could include when proceedings start later than anticipated or if the location of court is changed;
- A caring, mature and supportive attitude;
- Willingness and ability to sit for extended periods of time. This role may not be suited to those less mobile.
- Ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing;
- Willingness to work with and in conjunction with the Coroner and the Coroner’s Officers;
- To be computer literate with an understanding of and access to email;
- Agreement to the CCSS holding and where appropriate sharing your personal information within the Charity as set out in our Privacy Notice and in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations May 2018.
Volunteer Role Description
Title: Coroners’ Courts Support Service Volunteer
Reports to: The Coordinator
Purpose: To enable families, witnesses and their associates to cope with the experience of attending Court and giving evidence by providing confidential support and information in accordance with the CCSS policy and guidelines and the principals of Equal Opportunities.
Minimum required commitment after training: 2 court days per month after completion of induction process.
Duration of role: 1 year minimum after completion of training
You will play a key part in providing emotional help and practical support to all that attend Inquests at the Court you choose to volunteer at. You will do this by listening to the concerns and anxieties of families and witnesses that attend Court. Being empathetic, friendly and approachable are vital skills for this role.
As a volunteer with us you will have an integral role in the successful delivery of our service, working closely with Court staff to provide the best possible support for all that attend. As we are delivering this service in a professional environment it is important that high standards are maintained at all times. Our Service is free and confidential and we must always act respectfully and empathically, being mindful of the sensitive nature of the support we offer to bereaved families and others.
Responsibilities will include ensuring the support service is running efficiently and managing this within a rota system; promotion of the CCSS and raising the profile of the charity; liaising with Court staff and other agencies; taking responsibility for working in a team environment with other volunteers and Court staff as well as being able to work on your own within the boundaries of your role. It is vital that volunteers do not go beyond the scope of the role.
Please note that the support and assistance we provide to families and witnesses is always as and when required. This means that there will be occasions when support is not needed.
- To help the Coroner’s Officers in any way appropriate within the role of this volunteer description in order to support family members and witnesses.
- To undertake pre-Inquest familiarisation of the Court and explain the procedure.
- Refer to the Coroner’s Officer any questions that fall beyond the remit of the CCSS. Volunteers will not give any legal advice.
- Listen to and empathise with concerns and anxieties of the families and witnesses.
- Do not undertake counselling. The support provided is always family led.
- Unless specifically asked not to, accompany families and witnesses into Court and remain in Court for the duration of the Inquest. If someone becomes distressed the volunteer should accompany them if they need to leave the Courtroom.
- After the Inquest, allow them time for recovery in a quiet place (if available) and ensure they have received all necessary information from the Coroner’s Officer.
- Signpost family members and witnesses to other appropriate agencies if they so wish.
- If the Inquest is not concluded that day, pass on all information to the volunteer taking over the case via telephone only.
- Complete the CCSS Report Form and the statistics sheet. These to be held in the CCSS file at the Coroner’s Court or other appropriate agreed safe place.
- To be available a minimum of one day a fortnight if required. To attend the Court from 45 minutes before the Court sits to the end of the day’s session.
- Never discuss evidence, give an opinion on the possible conclusion or comment on the effect of this.
- Must be available for regular support and supervision which can be conducted by telephone, email, group or one-to-one. Must also attend at least four volunteer meetings per year unless specifically agreed with your Coordinator.
- Submit claims for travelling and other agreed expenses in accordance with the Coroners’ Courts Support Service policy. Travel expenses should be via the cheapest form of transport available wherever possible.
PROCEDURE FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS
- Complete the Coroners’ Courts Support Service (CCSS) Application Form.
- A formal interview will be held with the Coordinator and possibly the Lead Volunteer to assess your suitability. At interview or in a separate discussion an open and measured discussion will take place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the CCSS volunteer position could lead to withdrawal of the offer to volunteer.
- If successful at interview and you wish to be considered as a volunteer with the CCSS, arrangements will be made for you to observe a number and variety of Inquests at a Coroner’s Court to see if you would feel comfortable working in the Court environment and to see how our volunteers help.
- You will attend the CCSS 3-day training course as soon as this is arranged. If you are accepted to become a volunteer a Standard Disclosure and Barring Service check will be undertaken and references taken up.
- Meanwhile, you will ‘shadow’ an experienced volunteer several times to learn the procedure.
- After successful completion of the training an experienced volunteer will then ‘shadow’ you until your Coordinator and you are confident in your ability to work on your own.
- The Coordinator will then sign you off and you will start as a volunteer helping in the Courts.
- Throughout the above processes you will be assessing the CCSS to determine if it is the right type of volunteering role for you and the CCSS will be assessing your suitability as a volunteer