These policy statements have been developed to ensure that we conform to the requirements of the articles of incorporation under which we operate. They are reviewed annually by our Leadership Team and Trustees.
- Dignity and respect
- Health and safety
- Data protection
- Small projects grants
This policy describes the arrangement between MissionAssist and its members. It has been written to ensure that all our members are treated fairly and consistently and know what to expect from us.
MissionAssist is a Christian organisation and will at all times seek to relate to its members in ways that reflect biblical values. MissionAssist is a charitable incorporated organisation, overseen by a board of trustees, and has a mission to serve Christian workers operating overseas by using the skills of its members volunteering from home. Our mission statement is “Serving world mission from home.” MissionAssist gratefully acknowledges the time and talents freely offered by its members to support its work.
What members can expect of MissionAssist
- Induction and training
- Supervision, support and flexibility
- Health and safety
- Resolution of problems
- We will provide an induction to MissionAssist and suitable training. All members will receive an induction pack with relevant information and policies.
- All members will be given adequate and flexible supervision and support in their volunteering roles.
- The standards we expect for our services will be explained to all members, who will also be encouraged and supported in seeking to achieve and maintain them.
- MissionAssist will seek to help all its members to develop the appropriate and necessary skills for their volunteering roles.
- MissionAssist will reimburse its members for reasonable expenses incurred for MissionAssist work. Receipts will need to be provided for most claims.
- We will provide adequate training and feedback in support of our health and safety policy.
- Our insurance provides third-party liability cover for members whilst carrying out their volunteering roles as approved and authorized by us. (This is broadly equivalent to insurance for employers' liability.)
- We do not provide insurance cover for members using their own vehicles, or for loss or damage to their other assets or equipment used for MissionAssist purposes. In most cases any risks should be covered by a member’s own insurance policies, but members should check this with their insurers, particularly if they are using a vehicle for MissionAssist purposes or providing hospitality in their own homes.
- Where members need to purchase extra insurance to cover MissionAssist work (for example to cover overseas travel for MissionAssist) funds may be available to assist and members should ask their coordinator about this.
What MissionAssist expects of its members
- Adherence to Christian standards, principles and practices in dealings with other members and clients;
- Respect for the values and principles held by MissionAssist and adherence to its policies and procedures as published on the MissionAssist website;
- The highest possible standards of work to the best of each member's ability;
- Respect for the trust that exists between MissionAssist and its clients and the confidentiality this entails;
- An undertaking not to bring the work of MissionAssist and its members into disrepute;
- A willingness to meet any time commitments and standards that have been mutually agreed or, when this is not possible, to give reasonable notice so that other arrangements can be made;
- Provision by members of their own insurance to ensure adequate cover for using their assets (such as computers, vehicles and homes) for MissionAssist purposes.
MissionAssist does not employ staff and does not desire or intend to create a legally binding contract of employment with any of its members, now or at any time in the future. Membership of MissionAssist may be cancelled at any time, at the discretion of either the organisation or the individual member.
This policy is designed to ensure that MissionAssist accords dignity and respect to all those with whom it has dealings, whether they be our own members, those who use our services or anyone else.
MissionAssist affirms its belief in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as a credible basis for belief in God. Based on the understanding that God has created human beings in His own image, we make it our goal to treat all people with the same dignity and respect that we hold for Jesus Himself.
Accordingly, MissionAssist opposes any discriminatory treatment of people on the grounds of gender, racial, ethnic or national origin, age or status.
All our members are expected to be committed Christians who share this respect for intrinsic human worth in the sight of God. MissionAssist will seek to encourage all its members to develop their creativity, talents and resources to their full potential. Selection for positions of particular responsibility will be solely on the basis of aptitude, ability and recognised commitment to the beliefs and policies of MissionAssist.
MissionAssist does not seek to serve children or vulnerable adults as distinct groups but recognises that, from time to time, members may come into contact with such people. In these circumstances, MissionAssist members are expected to commit to the protection, well-being and safe-guarding of any such vulnerable people.
- All members will be asked to signify their assent to this policy as a condition of membership.
- The policy will be monitored and reviewed periodically by the Leadership Team.
- Any breach or apparent breach of this policy will be fully investigated by the Director of Services (or a person appointed to act on behalf of the Director of Services) without delay, and dealt with in accordance with the established Grievance Procedure.
- MissionAssist will cooperate fully with statutory agencies in the UK during any investigation of allegations made against a MissionAssist member.
This procedure is designed to ensure that all members of MissionAssist have an opportunity to raise formally with the leadership team any grievance relating to their work or any complaint regarding MissionAssist or another MissionAssist member.
MissionAssist was founded to serve Christian workers operating overseas by using the skills of its members volunteering from home. As such, it expects all its members to be committed Christians who submit themselves voluntarily to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
At the same time, MissionAssist recognises that all human beings are fallible and, from time to time, cause offence and pain to others. This procedure is designed to apply practical principles of Christian living to all its members, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation where possible but applying realistic sanctions where necessary and appropriate.
- Where any member is caused hurt or offence by the words or actions of another member (or members), the injured party is encouraged to express this to the member(s) concerned. If necessary, the injured party should seek the support and assistance of another MissionAssist member in doing this.
- If the matter is so serious that the injured party believes that this initial action would be futile or inappropriate, the injured party should move straight away to secondary action. (See below for more details.)
- If this approach is rejected by the offending party, the injured party should seek advice from his or her coordinator. (If the coordinator happens to be the offending party, the injured party should go directly to the Director of Services.) Advice may also be sought from the Director of Personnel.
- If the complaint concerns a member’s work (or criticism of it), or any working practice in use by MissionAssist the injured party should raise the matter initially with the Director of Services.
- Where an initial attempt to seek reconciliation has been made without success (or has been thought inappropriate), the injured party should make a written record of the substance of the complaint, providing where possible details of the location, time and date when the incident occurred, any words or actions used, any other people present (whether MissionAssist members or not) and any other relevant information.
- The injured party should then send this written complaint (by email or normal post) to the Director of Services. On receipt of such a complaint, the Director of Services will nominate a coordinator or other recognised post holder within MissionAssist to assist him or her with the investigation. If the Director of Services is unavailable for some reason, responsibility for the investigation will pass to the Director of Personnel.
- The investigators will arrange separate interviews with both the injured party and the offending party in an attempt to establish the facts of what happened and to understand the hurt that has been caused and any factors that motivated or influenced the two parties to come into conflict as they did.
- The investigators will then seek reconciliation between the two parties. If this takes place, the Director of Services will take whatever action is deemed appropriate to avoid any further problems and will record the result, then file the report under confidential cover for three years. After this time, the report will be destroyed.
- If no reconciliation is possible, even after much prayer, the Director of Services will submit a report to the trustees with a recommendation that one or more of the parties involved should be disqualified from membership of MissionAssist. It will then be for the trustees to decide on an appropriate course of action.
- Wherever it appears that the words or actions of a MissionAssist member may amount to a criminal offence, the injured party is encouraged to make a formal complaint to the police. Again, if necessary, the support and assistance of another MissionAssist member should be sought.
- Where any member reports such an incident to a coordinator or any other person holding a recognised post within MissionAssist, that person will be expected to report the matter to the police, either in support of the injured party or on their own behalf as a post holder in MissionAssist.
The decision of the trustees in relation to a person’s membership of MissionAssist will be final. However, if a complaint concerns the actions of MissionAssist itself (as an organisation) an aggrieved party may contact the Charity Commission to express concern or receive advice on making a formal complaint to the Commission. The address of the Charity Commission is:
Charity Commission Direct
PO Box 1227
This policy is designed to provide adequate and consistent safeguards for the health and safety of all members of MissionAssist.
MissionAssist does not employ any paid staff and is, therefore, exempt from general legislation relating to Health & Safety at Work. However, for the sake of clarity, this document gives guidance for members in regard to the responsibilities of good practice. When members are physically located in the premises of others, the Health and Safety Policy for those premises will apply and take precedence.
MissionAssist maintains a risk register of identified hazards that might affect any of its various activities and services. This is reviewed annually.
To address the risks inherent in our services for airport transportation and the provision of practical skills, the coordinators who manage these areas must follow recorded procedures that ensure that the members in their teams are experienced and, where relevant, appropriately qualified for the tasks that they carry out.
MissionAssist makes extensive use of information technology in its services but all members use their own equipment. Occasionally, MissionAssist will provide financial assistance (against receipt) for members to purchase specialist equipment that is necessary for their work, but this equipment will be regarded as belonging to the member who remains solely responsible for its maintenance and proper use.
All MissionAssist members are asked to ensure that:
- any equipment they use for MissionAssist purposes is safe and suitable for those purposes;
- they have had appropriate training for the equipment they use;
- they have assessed any potential hazards to health and safety in the activities they undertake on behalf of MissionAssist and taken reasonable steps to mitigate those risks;
- they take regular breaks when using computer equipment.
MissionAssist has limited insurance cover for members who assist with its operations at public events such as conferences or displays. This also covers members of the public who may attend any such events. However, where members use their own vehicles, homes or other equipment, or travel as part of their work for the charity, they need to ensure that they have adequate insurance of their own to cover these risks.
MissionAssist has developed dedicated software programs and other procedures to assist in many of its services. All members will be advised that appropriate training is available for the use of any of these facilities. MissionAssist will reimburse members for any training they undertake. Members should consult their coordinators about claiming their costs for such expenses.
This policy is designed to provide adequate and consistent safeguards for the handling of personal information within MissionAssist and to ensure compliance with the terms of its registration under all relevant data protection legislation.
MissionAssist is registered with the UK Information Commissioner's Office for the purposes of processing personal data in accordance with its legitimate interests as a charitable incorporated organisation. These include maintaining accounts and records; advertising, marketing and public relations; administration; fundraising; and realising the objectives of a charitable organisation or voluntary body.
A brief privacy notice referring to this policy, together with the policy itself, will be published on the MissionAssist website. A separate document of data protection guidelines, giving detailed advice on how to manage personal data, will be circulated to all MissionAssist members.
The “Data Controller” for the purposes of this registration is the Director of Information Technology, but all members of MissionAssist can be regarded as controlling rather than processing data and have a responsibility to use the personal data, with which they may be entrusted from time to time, in accordance with the data protection principles and the data protection legislation.
Data protection principles
Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless:
- there are legitimate grounds for collecting and using the personal data;
- they are not used in ways that have unjustified, adverse effects on the individuals concerned;
- there is transparency about how the data are intended to be used, with appropriate privacy notices given to individuals when collecting their personal data; and
- they are used only in ways that people would reasonably expect.
Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
Data will be collected and, where appropriate, disclosed in accordance with these procedures.
- Personal data will be collected when anyone applies to become a member of MissionAssist. The data may include personal details of identification and contact information; work experience, hobbies and training and any service in churches or other Christian organisations. It will not include sensitive data regarding racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, genetic or biometric data, or details regarding health or sexual orientation. It will, however, include information about religious beliefs as MissionAssist is founded on the basis of Christian beliefs which constitute the very purpose of its existence and motivation. All members will be asked to give clear assent to its Statement of Belief and stated objectives.
- Brief identification and contact details will be recorded when anyone registers on the Members’ Pages of the MissionAssist website.
- A record of service will also be kept in relation to all members of MissionAssist and whatever details may be required by the tax authorities in relation to financial giving by individuals.
- Data will be collected from anyone requesting one of the services offered by the charity. This information will be gathered by coordinators and other MissionAssist members, in order to provide the services offered by the charity. It will include contact details and any other information that may be required in order to provide an efficient and effective service.
- From time to time, advertising material, magazines and other communications may be sent out by email or post to members or anyone who has requested this information. Recipients will be given the opportunity to “unsubscribe” from these communications at any time.
Information may be disclosed in accordance with the specified purposes for which it is kept. This includes notification to other members of contact details or other information that is required in order to carry out the functions and services of the charity. It may also include external agencies if this is required for the effective provision of a service. Where any member is in any doubt as to whether information may be disclosed, advice should be sought from the appropriate service coordinator, from the Director of Information Technology or any other member of the leadership team.
- Members are encouraged to update their personal details directly, or to notify their service coordinator or the Director of Administration whenever their personal details change. In addition, coordinators are asked to provide ongoing support and care for those in their teams and should monitor any changes in personal circumstances, notifying the Director of Administration where appropriate.
- Personal data will only be kept for as long as the person concerned remains a member of MissionAssist or can be regarded as a prospective client or customer for its services. In addition, clients or customers may ask for their data to be deleted at any time.
- The Director of Administration will be responsible for maintaining a central database of personal information relating to all members who work for the charity. This will be known as the “MissionAssist Database”.
- Members may use this information to assist in their work for MissionAssist, both for internal administration and the provision of our services externally. They may also use personal computing devices and software to assist in this work, provided that all personal data are managed in accordance with the guidance stated in this policy and the published document on data protection guidelines.
- The Treasurer will be responsible for maintaining financial records (of matters such as standing orders or declarations in respect of gift aid).
- All MissionAssist members have a right of access to a copy of the information relating to them as individuals that is kept in the MissionAssist Database. (This is in addition to their other rights under the sixth principle of data protection.)
- Any member may exercise this right at any time by making a request to the Director of Administration. (This should be in an enduring format such as a written letter or email rather than by telephone.)
- Similarly, any clients or customers who use any service provided by MissionAssist may request a copy of the information kept in relation to them as individuals and may ask for all data relating to them to be deleted at any time. Such requests may be made by sending an email to the administrator (Director of Administration).
This policy seeks to ensure that those who represent MissionAssist in making any announcements, presentations to the public, or contact with the media, will provide accurate and appropriate information that will safeguard the reputation of the charity at all times.
MissionAssist is a Christian organisation that seeks to reflect biblical values in its work of supporting Christian mission and assisting in the relief of human suffering and poverty. The ability to meet fully the objectives stated in its trust deed is heavily dependant on its reputation for high standards of work and moral integrity. The following guidelines should, therefore, be observed by every member of MissionAssist.
Before making any formal, public announcement of news, or other information concerning MissionAssist, the following action must be taken:
- The Director of Communications and Marketing, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or Chair of Trustees must be contacted and advised of the opportunity or possibility of publicity for the organisation.
- An authorized spokesperson must be appointed to deal with the matter.
- All press releases must be agreed by one of the persons listed above.
- Where the governance of the charity is being questioned, any proposed action will be referred to the Chair of Trustees (or an appointed trustee) for advice or guidance.
- In the case of interviews, a clear statement of the interview objective, and notes of the key messages, will be required and authorized.
If a member is authorized (through the completion of an Overseas Travel Agreement form) to represent MissionAssist abroad, that person will, before travelling, liaise with the Director of Communications and Marketing to agree on general terms of reference and any specific messages regarding the project in hand.
In the event of an incident involving MissionAssist members, or others, which could potentially damage the reputation of the organisation, the Chief Executive Officer will confer with the Chair of Trustees on the immediate response to enquiries from the media. Further action should be determined by the Crisis Management Plan.
MissionAssist uses both written and digital media to communicate with its clients, potential volunteers, and existing members. The aim is to inform people of the overall purpose of the charity (what we do), and our ongoing activities (what we are currently doing).
Social media offer an effective means of communication, and the intention is to use these facilities as a key method of telling people what we are doing. Our current focus is on Facebook and Twitter, but these may change as tastes and fashions vary.
It is important that what we do as an organization is consistent with our stated aims and values. Consequently, the Director of Communications and Marketing will be responsible for overall management of all social media accounts held by MissionAssist, and will provide written guidelines on how they should be administered.
The copyright for most material that is published in connection with the work of MissionAssist, or one of its associated projects, is vested in MissionAssist, to be used in accordance with its aims and purposes as set down in its trust deed. There are alternative arrangements for those producing computer software, artistic and graphic designs, or musical compositions but, unless such arrangements are cited specifically, the copyright of any and all material belongs to MissionAssist.
Accordingly, MissionAssist reserves the right to defer, veto or withdraw the publication (in any form) of part or all of any material produced in its name, if it believes:
- It is not in accordance with its purposes, as set down in its trust deed; or
- It is of insufficient quality; or
- It believes it might be unnecessarily offensive; or
- It might contravene the law of the United Kingdom; or
- It could tarnish the reputation of MissionAssist.
The authority to decide upon the acceptability of any and all such materials will be delegated by the trustees to the Chief Executive Officer and members of the leadership team.
This policy seeks to acknowledge the value of face-to-face meetings for the work of MissionAssist when contacting potential new clients for its services, and in motivating members and keeping them well informed. The charity recognizes that this will involve a good deal of travelling, both within the United Kingdom and abroad. This policy seeks to support this, whilst also providing guidelines to ensure that members are well prepared for, and alert to, the possible dangers and costs of such travel.
As the recipient of charitable donations, MissionAssist is under an obligation to ensure that it obtains value for money through effectiveness, efficiency and economy. Consequently, travel on behalf of the charity will only be funded when certain criteria apply.
Criteria for travel
All of the following factors must apply before travel can be approved:
- At least one of the objectives set out in the trust deed is addressed through the visit being made.
- The purposes of the visit cannot be fully realized by alternative means, such as making a telephone (or Skype) call, using email, writing letters, or utilizing any other means of communication.
- A personal visit is necessary to ensure that the highest possible standard of service is being achieved for the charity. This will be particularly relevant for matters of quality control, when meeting clients, developing strategy, training, introducing a new service, fostering public relations, or responding to a need that requires personal contact.
Directors and service coordinators may authorize the payment of travel expenses from their budgets. All claims must be submitted on the appropriate form to the book-keeper. Receipts will be required for fares on public transport. The cost of overnight accommodation will not normally be met, but members may use the MissionAssist hospitality scheme, or make arrangements with family or friends, and claim the cost of a small gift for their hosts.
Those authorizing payments should take note of the following guidelines when doing so:
- It is recognized that the cheapest mode of transport may not always be practical. However, especially within the UK, members should consider options such as rail cards, or sharing a car, to travel to meetings.
- Members are not expected to fund their own travel but may make contributions towards expenses. Members should also be encouraged, especially when travelling on longer journeys abroad, to bring the need to their local church, family or friends.
- Confirmation in writing of promises of external funding must be sent to the Chief Executive Officer before any decision is made. If such promises do not materialise, then authorisation may be withdrawn should alternative sponsorship be unavailable.
- Internal funding will normally only be considered when a trip has been anticipated and budgetary provision has been made in advance.
Visits abroad must be authorized by the Chief Executive Officer (or Chair of Trustees) through the completion of an Overseas Travel Agreement form. This form sets out the conditions under which authorization is given, the terms of any financial assistance provided by MissionAssist, and the contact details for those travelling. Where a group of people is concerned, it will be necessary to appoint a formal leader. Particular consideration should be given to a person’s character, fitness to travel, and expertise, when selecting members for travel abroad.
Following a visit abroad, the leader (or single person concerned) will normally be expected to submit a short report on the trip to the CEO, outlining the benefits or outcomes achieved, and noting any particular problems experienced.
This policy is designed to facilitate the allocation and dispensation of small monetary grants towards specific projects that fall within the charitable purposes of MissionAssist, in line with its constitution.
Any grants given by MissionAssist must fall within the charitable purposes (objects) of its constitution. The relevant clauses are as follows:
"(3) The objects of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation are:
a. To advance the Christian Faith for the benefit of the public in accordance with the Statement of Belief in clause 30 (3) (Interpretation); and
b. Consistent with and not contrary to object (a):
- To relieve sickness and poor health by providing or assisting in the provision and development of equipment, facilities and services and support charities and other organisations working to prevent or relieve poor health; and
- To relieve financial hardship, either generally or individually, by making grants or providing items, services or facilities and/or development and support charities and other organisations working to prevent or relieve financial hardship; and
- To promote and provide for the education of people in such ways as the charity trustees see fit and support charities and other organisations working to promote or provide education."
These provisions are wide-ranging and mean that:
- Gifts can be made to individuals and organisations provided the purpose of each gift is within the objects in Clause 3 of the Constitution.
- Where funds are raised for specific purposes, such money may only be given to or through charitable organisations, not directly to individuals.
United Kingdom legislation requires that trustees are able to demonstrate that overseas grants have been used for UK charitable purposes and grant recipients must, therefore, be obliged to provide evidence of how money has been spent.
Small Grants Committee
A Small Grants Committee nominated by the Leadership Team and approved by the Trustees will decide which small projects grants should be made in line with this policy. No trustees will be appointed to the committee, but a nominated trustee will advise the group on whether an application is within the objects of MissionAssist and the Treasurer will also be available for advice.
Annual Grant Allocation
The trustees will allocate an annual amount for giving to small projects and the treasurer will be asked to suggest a suitable sum to the trustees. In deciding how much is to be allocated, the trustees will normally take into account Whether reserves are in excess of the amount needed by the charity, recognising that sums in excess of what is needed should not be hoarded, unless they are being saved for a specific purpose. The trustees have taken the view that the annual amount given should be at least a tithe of our annual, average income.
Grant making guidelines
The trustees’ guidelines for making grants are as follows:
- Grants may be made towards projects requested by individuals or organisations, provided the purpose falls within objects of the charity (as listed in Clause 3 of the constitution shown under "Legal provisions" above).
- Applications should be in writing, stating the precise purpose of the project.
- No project (or group of similar or related projects) may be given a sum exceeding £600 in a single financial year. The trustees will review this limit from time to time.
- Applicants should, where possible, not request from MissionAssist more than half the sum needed for the project. Applicants must state whether or not this condition has been met and, if not, give reasons why other funds have not been raised.
- Gifts requested by an individual who is responsible to an organisation shall only be made with the support of the organisation concerned. The person supporting the application should be someone senior to the applicant for the grant.
- All applicants must provide the name and contact details of an independent third party who can be approached for a reference. Such referee should either be someone of similar or senior status and from a different, reputable organisation.
- Recipients must, as soon as possible after the money has been spent, provide documentary evidence (such as photos or receipts) that the monies given have been used exclusively towards the approved project.
- Copies of all applications made should be kept together with grants approved and payment records for seven years.
The above policies and procedures take into account the need to prevent aid diversion in order to comply with relevant requirements of the Bribery Act, 2010 and the Terrorism Act, 2000. This is achieved through the questions on the application form requiring details of the referees, those to whom the money is paid and the objects of the grant. The requirement to send documentary proof when the project is complete is also crucial.
These requirements to prevent diversion must be borne in mind when reviewing each application. If members of the Small Projects Committee are not satisfied with the identity and independence of the referees, or have concerns about the governance and banking arrangements or any other significant details, they will decline the application.