National Association of 
Voluntary Services Managers

Lead, promote and develop best practice in 
Volunteer Management in the NHS and Healthcare

Placement of volunteers


Ensuring roles are suitable for volunteers and are not job substitution

VSMs are constantly looking for new volunteering opportunities as well as being approached by staff members requesting volunteer assistance. Although some basic guidance exists around what is or isn’t acceptable in terms of volunteer roles, this line is often blurred and particularly in the current economic climate there is growing pressure to place volunteers in roles which could be considered job substitution.


It is a fundamental part of the VSMs role to advise staff on what is or isn’t acceptable with regard to volunteer placements. There are some key underpinning principles that VSMs should abide by:


  • Volunteer placements should enhance not replace the work of staff
  • Volunteers do not carry out personal care
  • Volunteers are there to support not to lead

Further guidance which sets out a framework on which VSMs can base their decisions can be found attached.