C2103 Procedure - VPC – Administration and Communication
Number: C2103 Date Published: 18 December 2020 Version 3 – December 2020
1.0 Summary of Changes
This procedure has undergone its 2 yearly review. The only addition is within section 2 where reference is made, and a link given, to the new National VPC Safeguarding Policy.
2.0 What this Procedure is about
This procedure will provide Volunteer Leaders of Cadet Units with information and guidance relating to the following aspects of the Volunteer Police Cadet activities scheme:
3.1 Documentation – all forms for VPC activity;
3.2 Financial Procedures – ability to offer to fund or part-fund those who are truly in need;
3.3 Communications and Media - communications within the VPC and communications with those outside of the VPC;
3.7 Performance and Auditing;
3.8 Bank Accounts.
It is also aimed as a source of reference for supervisors and managers within the organisation who have contact with VPC Units.
See the National VPC Safeguarding policy which has been adopted by the Force.
Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory.
3.0 Detail the Procedure
All forms used for VPC activity are available on the Force forms register.
3.1.1 Cadets’ Personal Files
The following information will all be included in a cadet’s electronic personal file for reference:
Cadet Vetting checks will be undertaken and stored by the Vetting Unit.
Official Secrets Act;
Statement of expectation;
Health and permission forms. A full Health and Permission form should be completed annually for each cadet. This is to cover them taking part in the weekly cadet meetings and other planned activities within their local area for the next 12 months. This form should be stored in the cadet’s personal file.
Consent Form (including details of pre-existing medical conditions, medication and special needs). These details must be carefully considered before allowing the person to take part, as they are potentially more vulnerable. Wherever practicable, the needs of individuals should be addressed to enable them to participate, e.g. the activity should be adjusted to ensure the safe participation of persons with particular needs.
Supplementary Health and Permission form. To be used for each non-weekly meeting event a cadet is involved in within their area, e.g. camps, competitions, activity weekends, and centrally organised policing events. This is to allow parents/guardians/carers to be informed of the particular activity and allow any changes from the annual Health and Permission form to be identified – with particular reference to medical/dietary conditions. For all other cadet activities, which take place outside their area, a new Health and Permission form must be completed in each instance. This is to ensure Cadet Leaders know they have up to date details for cadets accompanying them on all events. The supplementary Health and Permission forms should be kept with the event/activity paperwork. When a pre-existing medical condition or disability is notified to the person planning the event/activity, action must be taken to decide whether the person concerned is able to take part. Consultation with parents/guardians must be considered. If it is a more serious condition then it is essential to obtain medical advice/confirmation that the person is fit or well enough to take part. A letter should be addressed to the person's doctor, outlining what the extent of the activity is, asking for confirmation that they consider the person able to take part. Advice can also be sought from Occupational Health or Health and Safety if necessary.
Media consent form. When obtaining consent for photographs to be taken or for filming, consider how the photographs/film will potentially be used. Adjust the consent form to reflect these uses.
Uniform issue. A record of what uniform a cadet has been issued and signed for, to ensure that all uniform is accounted for.
Ongoing service documents
Record of Applications for Promotion. All applications, CVs and interview notes plus notes of feedback given and result of application should be recorded in the cadet’s personal file.
Record of Service. A record of all events and operations that a cadet has volunteered for should be kept. This may be kept as a separate file for the entire unit, outlining which cadets have volunteered for which events. However it should be kept in a format that allows leaders to identify an individual cadet’s volunteering history. This may take the form of the Cadet’s Record of Service Book.
Recognition/Awards. Copies of any recognition, commendation or awards that the cadet has been awarded should be included in their file.
Training records. Documentations and copies of certificates relating to any training that the cadet has undertaken through the VPC. Records and certificates for any qualifications gained through the VPC.
Discipline. Copies or any written discipline records pertaining to the cadet. These should include reason and action taken. See above for details.
Exit interview. Exit interview notes/forms should be placed on the cadets file after any appropriate actions have been taken from them.
3.1.2 Leaders’ Personal Files
The VPC coordinator will ensure that all Cadet Leaders have a personal file relevant to their service as a VPC Leaders. This file will include application process documentation, statement of expectations, vetting/DBS/eCRB confirmation emails, copies/details of any qualifications/skills gained or possessed that are relevant to their role (whether gained through the police/VPC or privately), any disciplinary actions, action/development plans.
At the time of appointment, leaders will complete a Health questionnaire (and thereafter annually) to assist with risk assessment of activities they are involved in.
3.1.3 Operation/Event forms
Documentation accumulated as part of the organising of an operation or event should be stored together for quick reference.
This will include health and permission forms, event planning forms, risk assessments, insurance confirmation, briefing packs and operational orders.
3.1.4 Camps and Trips
The following forms should be completed and submitted and retained for the duration of the trip. Post event all documentation should be stored together for future reference.
During the course of the trip copies of the below forms should be left in a pack accessible at the local police station of the Unit with clear instruction to a local supervisor of how to access the documents should the need arise.
It is good practice to inform the Force covering the area where the trip is to take place of the fact that there are police cadets visiting.
3.1.5 Health and Permission
A copy of these should be kept with the Cadet Leader on the trip. Another copy should also be accessible to officers at the Unit’s home station.
3.1.6 Camp Notification Form
For the sake of risk management, it is suggested that one or a small team of people have overview of all outdoor activities, including the notification of camps and trips away. This person should have a good knowledge of the outdoors and of the various remits of the outdoor qualifications available.
Notification of any intended trips away should be passed through this person for appraisal of suitability. For instance, it would not be suitable for a Leader with only a B.E.L. to take a Bronze DofE group expedition. The notification of camps and trips will be facilitated with a notification form.
3.1.7 Dietary Requirement List
Leaders on the trip should have access to a copy of any dietary requirements for the cadets in their care. These should be disclosed on the Health and Permission forms.
3.1.8 Event Planning Form
3.1.9 Risk Assessments
Copies of these should be made available to parents who wish to see them.
If Cadet Leaders are relying on the risk assessments of outside service providers then copies of these should also be available and to hand for reference if required.
Any activity falling outside of VPC weekly meetings should be notified to an insurance office via the business centre and confirmation of adequate insurance be stored with the document pack.
3.1.11 Route Cards
Units that intend to take or send cadet groups on walks, whether for the DofE or not, should submit route cards to the outdoor coordinator for the Force together with the notification form (above).
3.1.12 Contact Lists
This should be available to all Leaders and a copy should be left at the Unit’s home station with the health and permission forms. It should include local emergency services, hospitals, parents, any local Cadet Senior Leaders, local DofE Board, accommodation details, outside service provider’s details.
3.1.13 Storage of Documents
All documentation relating to VPC activities should be stored and accessible for 7 years.
3.2 Financial Procedures
One of the primary principals of the VPC is inclusion. No cadet should be excluded from any activity solely because they are not financially able to take part. Units should encourage the cadets to be financially self-reliant; however they may also offer to fund or part-fund those who are truly in need.
The Force VPC Coordinator will have ultimate control and oversight of all financial matters. They should have a forecast of expected expenditure for the year and budget for other costs that may occur during the year.
Cadet Units will be funded through separate cost centres. Each Unit will have access to petty cash via their local administration.
Purchases will go through the normal procurement/business services processes associated to the appropriate cost centres.
Units will charge cadets a subscription fee for attending the VPC of £2 per week (£25 per term or £75 per year). These funds should be collected weekly, termly or annually and deposited into the cadet unit’s bank account.
Receipt of these subs should be recorded on a sheet individually against the name of the cadet, initialled by them, and the total for each week signed off as correct by the person collecting them.
The signed record of receipt of subs must be kept securely for 7 years as a record of this income.
Unit Leaders must attempt to identify those cadets that cannot afford to pay subs and should make allowances for this, by either reducing or waiving the subs. No cadet should be excluded from participation in any cadet event on the basis that they cannot afford to participate. This must be a consideration whenever organising cadet events and activities. This should be documented somewhere with brief justification for transparency and integrity.
Leaders should identify cadets that cannot afford to pay the weekly subscription and make allowances. No cadet should be excluded from participation in any cadet event on the basis they cannot afford to participate.
Subs may be used to fund cadet activities or equipment, but may not be used for equipment, products or services that do not directly benefit cadets, e.g. buying waterproof coats for cadets benefits them directly. Buying waterproof coats for Leaders to equip them to take cadets out for treks benefits the cadets, but this is not a direct benefit. This is so the organisation cannot be accused of using the cadet’s subs money to purchase personal equipment or training for Cadet Leaders. This is easily demonstrated by looking at the total amount of subs gathered throughout a year and comparing that against costs for cadet benefiting equipment and activities.
3.2.2 Volunteer Personal Expense Claims
The Central VPC coordinator may, if necessary, authorise the payment of personal expenses incurred during cadet activities on SAP.
Mileage/travel claims will be through existing SAP procedures.
Cadets themselves will not generally be paid expenses.
3.2.3 Other Funding
220.127.116.11 PPAF and POCA
Applications for funding from the Prisoner Property Act Fund (PPAF) and Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) are now acceptable from the Volunteer Police Cadets and should be applied for in the usual manner.
It is important to note that large sums will be under great scrutiny, so it is always best to show how money given can provide value for all members. Resources from third parties (donations, gifts, sponsorship, grants and income generation).
Local policies should be followed regarding donations, gifts and sponsorship, grants from local authorities and cost recovery and income generation for services to third parties.
VPC Units are encouraged to get involved in charitable causes, as it instils a sense of community in the cadets, provides a sense of pride and an opportunity to promote the VPC. Units are particularly encouraged to enter into partnerships with young people’s charities to reflect the aims and mission statement of the VPC.
Care should be taken with which charities affiliations should be made, and it is best to choose long established main stream organisations whose bona fides can be established. It is an unfortunate fact that from time to time charitable status is used to mask criminal activity and the reputational damage that could occur should a unit become involved with one of these groups would be considerable.
18.104.22.168 Purchase of Equipment
Cadet funds may be used to purchase equipment for cadet activities, however that equipment remains the property of the VPC and ultimately the Force/OPCC. All purchases must be made in accordance with local policies and guidelines. The equipment’s primary use must be for the purpose of running the VPC programme or VPC activities, not for the personal use of the Cadet Leader in possession of it. Equipment should be fit for purpose, however should not be of a specification that would be considered extravagant and draw criticism.
The Force VPC Coordinator will be ultimately responsible for justifying the purchase of any equipment from cadet funds, and these must be authorised by the Chief Inspector responsible for Cadets in the area.
Care should be taken when purchasing anything that may be considered “personal issue”. In these cases justification must be made for the purchase of the equipment, the equipment must be economical whilst suitable for the task intended and Leaders must be made aware that the equipment remains the property of the VPC or Force and may be required to be returned at any time.
These purchases should be agreed by the Chief Inspector with responsibility for cadets in that area, who must be fully appraised of the justification for the purchase. Equipment that is infrequently used for VPC purposes should be stored with other VPC inventory securely for issue when needed, not kept at the Leader’s home.
An inventory of equipment should be kept in order to identify equipment available for use by all units and to provide transparency.
Each unit may pay the Unit Leaders’ personal expenses incurred during cadet activities. Claims should be made on form VPC 6.
For Essex Police employees claims will be made via SAP approved claims and payroll according to Force policy.
Other volunteers should complete an expenses claim for on a monthly basis, which is approved by the VPC Force Coordinator and sent to Business Services for payment from the central budget. All forms must be accompanied by a scanned receipt dated in the month of the claim.
22.214.171.124 Donations, Gifts, Sponsorship and Income Generation
All donations, gifts and income must be recorded on the income and expenditure form (VPC 8) for transparency reasons.
Any offers of sponsorship of Cadet Units must be submitted to the Corporate Finance Department to be considered for their appropriateness and ethicality.
3.8.6 Items to be Funded Centrally by the Essex Police Budget
The centrally funded costs are provided by Essex Police under their regular policies and procedures and can be accessed on application to the budget holder (Force VPC Coordinator). Essex Police will issue each cadet and leader their uniform. Once a cadet/leader leaves the uniform must be returned to the unit who will arrange for return to uniform stores. Any loss or damage of uniform through negligence will be charged to the individual, whilst being mindful of financial circumstances. Cadets who require new uniform due to wear and tear or out growing uniform will be issued replacements on request. Units will be provided with a laptop and mobile phone exclusively for VPC use.
The use of a meeting venue should be sought as free of charge in the first instance via exiting partnership bodies. Where this is not possible, the central budget will fund any associated hire charges.
Reasonable requests for equipment, hire of minibuses, transport or subsidised events may be submitted by Unit Leaders to the VPC Force Coordinator to consider funding from the central budget.
3.3 Communications & Media
This section deals with two main areas, communications within the VPC and communications with those outside of the VPC.
The National VPC team should be informed of any news item likely to cause reputational risk to the organisation or other national media interest, either positive or negative in nature. This is important in order that an appropriate response can be drafted as early as possible and to minimise reputational damage.
3.3.1 Communications Outside of the VPC
All communications outside of the VPC should focus on the following objectives:
To promote positive stories about young people and the volunteering work that they do in their local community;
To increase the profile of the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) and how they support other departments within the Police Service and our partners;
To support the objectives of the Police Service and PCC;
To promote best practice in youth engagement and diversion;
To provide a regular flow of information to key stakeholders;
To change behaviour and perceptions of young people where necessary.
They should also, when possible, communicate the aims of the VPC which are:
Promote a practical understanding of policing amongst all young people;
Encourage a spirit of adventure and good citizenship;
Support local policing priorities through volunteering and give young people a chance to be heard;
Inspire young people to participate positively in their communities.
The National VPC operates a website and forum for the purpose of aiding communication between forces and the public.
The website can be found at www.nationalvpc.org and the forum is accessible via the menu bar therein. Access to the forum is available to all Cadet Leaders.
Access should be requested through the VPC Coordinator, details of which can be obtained from a request through [email protected]
Cadet Leads should utilise as many avenues of communication as possible to promote the work of the Cadets and to identify opportunities available to Cadets, Leaders and partner organisations.
Cadet Leaders are reminded that they have a duty under the Data Protection Act to manage any information they collect on behalf of their Force appropriately.
Further guidance on managing external media is contained within G 0600 Policy – Managing External Media.
3.3.3 Social Media
The National VPC team own Twitter and Facebook accounts, which are open to Cadets and Leaders to follow. @NationalVPC is the twitter account, and simply search National VPC on Facebook.
In the main the established Essex Police Facebook and twitter accounts will be used to promote the work of VPCs.
Social Media has been shown to be an effective means of communication within the VPC. However it must be pointed out that information that is posted on some social networks then becomes the property of that network.
Essex VPC Unit Leaders may operate their own Facebook group, which should be a closed group, by invitation of the Unit Leaders only, and be password protected. This has proved to be an effective means of communication and administration between Cadet Leaders and cadets.
VPC Unit Leaders are not permitted to set up secondary Facebook profile for VPC purposes. Facebook only allows one Facebook profile per person. Cadets are not permitted to display photos of themselves in cadet uniform on any of their personal social media pages.
Cadet Leaders must not be “friends” with Cadets on any social media network in a private capacity from their personal social media accounts.
Any incident of abusive or inappropriate behaviour on the site must be reported to the Unit Leader for disciplinary action.
Further guidance can be found in C 3011 Procedure – Professional Standards – Use of IT Platforms and Social Media Websites.
3.4 The VPC Logo
The VPC logo is copyrighted by the Metropolitan Police Service and MOPAC London. The VPC Central Team has been given permission to use the logo and as such is “Brand Guardian”. In this role they are responsible for ensuring the logo’s integrity is maintained and the standards associated with it adhered to.
This logo may be used by Essex, being a Force which has agreed to uphold the aims and principles of the VPC. The Force also agrees to monitor their use of the logo internally. If in doubt guidance should be sought from of the National VPC Team.
The VPC logo should only be reproduced for VPC purposes and under the guidance of the Force VPC Coordinator. Reproduction may only be in the original blue, black or white form. Whenever possible the wording “Volunteer Police Cadets” should be included.
The logo must never be used in conjunction with any slogan, words videos, drawings or pictures that could be construed as unrepresentative of the values of the VPC or the police service as a whole. Units who fail to manage the use of the logo appropriately will be excluded from using it.
Use of other organisations/businesses logos used in conjunction with the VPC logo will need to be agreed beforehand with the media department, as well as the National VPC team.
3.6 Communicating with Cadets
Cadet Leaders should not under any circumstances:
Give cadets their personal Mobile numbers;
Become “friends” with cadets on social media networks;
Plan meetings with cadets outside of cadet events;
Travel alone in any vehicle with a cadet (except in cases of emergency).
Every Unit must supply the Unit Lead with a mobile phone for communicating with cadets. This is necessary for a number of reasons, many of which centre on Health and Safety, and prevents the situation where leaders are tempted to give out their own phone numbers to cadets, which is strictly prohibited.
The number for this phone should be available to all cadets and parents and advertised on any web pages for the Unit. It is not expected that this phone will be answered 24hrs a day 7 days a week, so the holder of the phone should ensure that any answer phone message is updated regularly with the times and dates that those calling can expect it to be answered.
3.7 Performance and Auditing
To ensure a common standard of delivery and demonstrate the value of the VPC programme, each Essex VPC Unit will be required to complete returns to the Force VPC Coordinator as requested. The monitoring process is based on the framework used by the national VPC team and ensures that a standard model of reporting and recording is utilised by all Forces.
3.7.2 Programme Review
In order to measure the extent of the success of the National VPC model and assist in sharing best practice, there is in place a Data Collection survey that may from time to time be circulated by the NVPC in order to gather information about how forces are operating their cadet programmes.
Completion of this document not only assist in judging how close we are to achieving the aims of the NVPC, but also identifies good practice that can be shared nationally.
3.7.3 Risk Register
The VPC sits on the LPSU risk register. This is a 'live' document which is owned and updated the by Department Commander and updated and amended according to risks raised via the Force VPC Coordinator (URN 550).
3.8 Bank Accounts
3.8.1 Overview of Cadets Finances
Currently there are three sources of income. Firstly there are central Essex Police budgets which pay for uniforms, venue hire, etc. and Force wide VPC events. The second funding stream is the weekly subscriptions paid by the cadets. The third stream is from individual unit fundraising events. These funds heavily depend on the individual commitment of unit leaders and their enthusiasm for organising events.
The centrally funded costs are provided by Essex Police under their regular policies and procedures and are accessed by the budget holder (Force VPC Coordinator).
The subscriptions and fund raising income is paid into each unit’s bank account and can be used to fund each unit’s social activities as they see fit.
The units must have one leader who is a current Essex Police employee, who will have responsibility for the financial accountability of their unit.
3.8.2 Setting up an Individual Cadet Unit Bank Account
A bank account (but not a business or personal account) can be set up in any financial institution at the convenience of the responsible person.
The bank account name should not include any reference to ‘Essex Police’ or ‘police’ and the suggested convention is, for example ‘Basildon Cadet Unit’.
Cadet Units should set up a bank account with at least two signatories to manage the unit’s finances. The signatories should be appropriate leaders who are aware of the expenditure from the bank account and be in a position to challenge the reason for expenditure if required.
Bank account information should be notified to finance, via the VPC Force Coordinator on form VPC 7.
3.8.3 Managing the Bank Account
The two signatories must not sign a cheque payable to themselves or a related party. If signatories are related, they must not sign the same cheque; signatories must never sign a blank or partially completed cheque; all signatories must verify the documentation associated with the payment before approving the payment.
Any monies in this account are to be used for cadet purposes only. Cheque books, debit cards and cash should be kept locked away when not in use and access restricted to those individuals with responsibility for finances within each unit.
No more than £100 cash should be kept securely. Excess amounts should be banked as soon as practicable.
There is an upper spend limit of £500 per purchase unless approved in advance by the Force VPC Cadet Co-ordinator or for any spend over £1,000 by the VPC Force strategic lead.
Petty cash transactions for each Unit will be audited on form VPC 5 and submitted to the VPC Force Coordinator on a monthly basis.
3.8.4 Audit and Inspection
The Police and Crime Commissioner intends for Cadet Units to be sustainable and manage their own finances. However, as he is ultimately responsible for the units, he requires regular returns to his officers to ensure accountability and to demonstrate how the funds have been used.
A simple income and expenditure spreadsheet (VPC 8) should be maintained weekly and a copy of this sent to the Corporate Finance Department on a monthly basis and also upon request. A spreadsheet version of this table will be distributed for completion.
The Corporate Finance Department will audit the bank accounts and income and expenditure summary at the end of each financial year.
All monthly bank statements should be kept securely for 7 years and must be made available for scrutiny by the Corporate Finance Department. On an annual basis, each unit submits their unit accounts to the Corporate Finance Department to carry out audit. Each unit has two signatories on their accounts, one of whom is always an Essex Police employee.
3.8.5 Transactions Permitted via the Cadet Unit Bank Account
Weekly subs from the cadets should be paid into this account as soon as is practical.
Funds should be used to fund cadet activities only.
Expenditure is permitted according to the limits in point 4.0 and restricted to items listed in Table 1.
4.0 Equality Impact Assessment
EIA – December 2020
5.0 Risk Assessment
Details regarding risk assessments for any planned cadet event including consultation and site visits and how to conduct these risk assessments can be found within C 2101 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Recruitment section 3.10
The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:
Health & Safety;
Uniform Review Group;
Child Abuse Investigation;
Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Strategic Change Team
VPC Strategic Lead
7.0 Monitoring and Review
This procedure will be monitored and updated by the Force VPC Coordinator. Updates from the National VPC team will be included in any updates as the VPC programme develops within the Force. Review will be at least on annual basis.
8.0 Governing Force policy. Related Force policies or related procedures
C 2100 Policy – Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC)
C 2101 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Recruitment
C 2102 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadet Units
C 2103 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets – Administration and Communication
C 2104 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets - Operations, Events and Court Attendance
C 2105 Procedure – Volunteer Police Cadets - Trips and Duke of Edinburgh Award
X 2001Procedure – Provision of Uniform and Equipment
C 0602 Procedure – Standards of Appearance
B 2505 Procedure – Dealing with Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses within the Criminal Justice System
G 0600 Policy - Managing External Media
C 3011 Procedure – Professional Standards – Use of IT Platforms and Social Media Websites
D 2000 Policy - Safe Driving
D 2001 Procedure – Safe Driving and General Driving Requirements
8.1 Data Security
Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.
8.2 Retention & Disposal of Records
Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal.
We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice.
9.0 Other source documents, e.g. legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable)
Volunteer Police Cadets Manual of Guidance
Form VPC 5 – Table 3 – Petty Cash Record for Cadet Units
Form VPC 6 – Expenses Claims Form
Form VPC 7 – Table 4 – Cadets Bank Account Details
Form VPC 8 – Table 2 – All Income and Expenditure Record for Cadet Units
Table 1 – Restrictions of Use of Cadet Bank Accounts