Privacy notice for volunteers

This Privacy notice is relevant to volunteer applicants, current and former Sustrans volunteers.

If you have any queries about how we handle your information please contact the volunteers team on


What will we do with the information volunteers provide to us?

The information provided by volunteers on their application form will only be used for the purpose of the volunteer involvement with Sustrans, including progressing your application, providing you with an account on our volunteer website – VolunteerNet, online learning platform – Moodle, and our mass mailing system – Charity Digital Mail. It may also be used for statistical analysis and to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements.

Sustrans is committed to protecting your privacy and we work in full compliance with Data Protection legislation. We may share your details with carefully selected third party suppliers (data processors) working on behalf of Sustrans.

Apart from that, we will only share your personal data when you provide us with your explicit consent to do so, or when legally required. You have the right to access and update the data we have about you at any time.

The information volunteers provide will be held securely by us and/or our data processors in line with data protection legislation, whether the information is held in an electronic or physical format. We will use the contact details volunteers provide to contact them in relation to their volunteering involvement.

If a volunteer is applying for a volunteer vacancy we will use the information provided in the application form to match the volunteer to the most appropriate volunteer
opportunities and to help us assess the suitability of the individual to the volunteer role. The volunteer will be contacted to discuss the role and their experience and circumstances in more detail.

We do not collect more information than we need to fulfil our stated purposes and will not retain it for longer than is necessary.

What data does Sustrans hold on volunteers?

We currently keep volunteers contact details – including email address and telephone number –postal address, and information about the volunteer role, training completed and any national events attended.

We may also store other additional information where required. This includes details of issues raised as part of our problem-solving procedure, safeguarding matters, and any health condition information disclosed. This data is stored privately on your record in our database and access to it is strictly limited to relevant staff.

Applying for volunteer vacancies

When applying for a Sustrans volunteer opportunity we request personal details including name and contact information.

We also ask about how the applicant would like to be involved (this includes the types of activities they are interested in and their availability), interests, hobbies, skills or experience and contact details of referees. Our volunteer recruitment team will have access to this information.

In accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and Sustrans’ Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy, attempts will be made throughout the recruitment process to accommodate the particular needs of any person who declares a disability or health condition.

Sustrans will keep an electronic copy of all completed application forms confidentially and on a secure system during the recruitment process. Once necessary checks have been carried out and relevant information has been transferred onto our secure database, the application form will be stored in a folder only accessible by relevant staff.

If you are unsuccessful your application form will be deleted/shredded.

Volunteers with health conditions

If volunteers or potential volunteers have a health condition which may impact their ability to carry out some aspects of their volunteer role, we encourage them to tell us about it, in confidence. We’d like to work with volunteers to identify ways to enable them to participate in all activities where possible.

Volunteers and applicants for volunteer vacancies are encouraged to disclose any health conditions which may affect their ability to carry out tasks comfortably. Once this information has been disclosed there will be an opportunity to discuss, establish and mitigate any risks that could arise. It may also be agreed that reasonable support and adjustments can be put in place to enable volunteers to safely undertake tasks.

A conversation will take place to identify reasonable adjustments by working through the ‘Reasonable adjustments matrix’. If an existing volunteer or successful applicant discloses a health condition, an electronic copy of the ‘Reasonable adjustment matrix’ will be stored securely in a folder only accessible by the relevant staff.

Explicit permission should be provided by the volunteer via email to allow us to share information about the health condition(s) with appropriate volunteers, staff or a third party who may need to support any adjustments agreed.

Paper copies of the ‘Reasonable adjustment matrix’ will be shredded.

A secure, private note will be made on the volunteer’s record in our database documenting any outcomes agreed during the conversations held. Only relevant staff members will have access to this information.

Equal opportunities monitoring

Volunteers will also be asked to provide equal opportunities information as part of the application form, and during out biannual volunteer survey. This is not mandatory and choosing not to provide this information will not affect any applications.

This data is removed and processed separately from the application form and will not be used in association with the application. Any information you do provide will be used only to monitor and report on equal opportunities statistics.

Volunteer vacancy selection process

The member of staff recruiting a volunteer will shortlist applications if necessary.

The shortlisted applicants will be contacted and an informal interview will be carried out. This provides the opportunity to explore with each individual if the role is right for them.

Notes taken at this meeting will be stored securely until a decision has been made, then any relevant information will be added to the successful applicant’s database record before being deleted/shredded.

A trial period can be offered if either party is unsure if the placement is right for the individual.

Safeguarding checks

References and Disclosure checks may be required of successful applicants following the volunteer role selection process.

Which checks and the number of checks, which are carried out will depend on the responsibilities of the volunteer role.


We recommend that one reference is obtained for applicants for all volunteer roles. Volunteer roles with greater responsibility for organising and coordinating group activities and/or requiring a Disclosure check will require two references.

When a reference is carried out only factual data will be sought eg dates of employment or how long the individual has been known, and the key responsibilities of their role or the skills they demonstrated.

Disclosure checks

Some of our roles involve volunteering with people under the age of 18. If this is the case for the role you are applying for, an Enhanced Disclosure check through either the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS), Access NI or Disclosure Scotland will be carried out.

The Disclosure check is mandatory and the volunteering offer will be subject to a satisfactory return from the relevant body.

Disclosure checks are a legal requirement which allow us to adhere to our safeguarding responsibilities, to both those we work with and those we come into contact with through our work.

Disclosure checks are required for volunteers whose activities involve:

  • unsupervised contact with children or young people
  • supervised* contact with the same children or young people on a regular basis — once a month or more.

*Either the volunteer or children/young people could be supervised. In a school setting, who needs to be supervised is often determined by the relevant school.

If copies of Disclosure checks are obtained they must be deleted or shredded as soon as a decision has been made about whether or not to offer the applicant a volunteer role.

Sustrans’ volunteers do not require a disclosure check to volunteer with adults at risk. They will not be involved in any of the regulated activities for which a disclosure check is required, therefore it would not be lawful for us to carry a disclosure check out.

Criminal convictions declaration

Unspent convictions will be taken into account when assessing a prospective volunteer’s suitability for a role at Sustrans. However, this will not necessarily prevent someone from volunteering with Sustrans.

Information about criminal convictions and alleged offences are classed as confidential personal data and therefore, as a general rule, should not be recorded.

If convictions or allegations which may affect a volunteer’s suitability for their role are disclosed, this information is recorded on the volunteer database, with access strictly limited to authorised members of staff.

Systems and data processors

We use a number of specialised software systems where volunteers’ data may be stored and which support volunteer involvement with Sustrans.

We retain volunteer details on our volunteer database for five years after you cease to be a volunteer with us, but will remove your details from other volunteer management tools without delay.

Volunteer database

Our database is the core location for recording information about our volunteers and volunteer groups, alongside our supporter and donor information.

Where an individual is both a supporter and a volunteer they have just one database record.

Volunteer data fields include:

  • personal details: title, name, address, email, telephone number
  • volunteer involvement information: region/nation, role(s) carried out, projects involved in, staff supervisor names, route subsection covered (where relevant)
  • key dates: start date, induction, Disclosure check process
  • communication information: preferred contact method, mailing opt-ins, a record of key communication exchanges that are made
  • group information: group name, group coordinator or key contact information, group member names
  • other fields: a unique identity number, training received, national event attendance, professional skills.

Online mapping

Data about volunteer group boundaries and which volunteers are within each group is presented in our ArcGIS mapping. This involves data routinely being exported from the database and imported into ArcGIS.

It allows staff who are covering large geographical areas to organise volunteers into groups, and identify where they lie in relation to other groups. This data is restricted to relevant staff.

VolunteerNet: Our password-protected website for volunteers

Accounts are created with new volunteers’ details including name, email address, date confirmed as a volunteer, region or nation and unique identity number. This information is imported into VolunteerNet each week.

This data can only be seen by the individual and the site administrators. Volunteers are then sent their login details via email.

VolunteerNet also hosts an online form to capture information about volunteers’ activities and the hours contributed to Sustrans. Volunteers can log their own activities, or another volunteer in the group can record this information on their behalf.

This information is stored on the website and is accessible by relevant staff members in order to extract and monitor volunteer activity in their area.

The site also includes an anonymous contact form so that volunteers can network amongst one another without needing access to private contact information.

Suslearn for Volunteers: Moodle online training platform

Suslearn for Volunteers is an online training platform with courses available to Sustrans volunteers. Volunteers are authenticated on Suslearn for Volunteers after being added to our secure database.

Following authentication, they will receive an email prompting them to create their own secure, unique password in order to gain access to the platform.

Expense claim process

In order to claim expenses, volunteers must fill in a volunteer expenses claim form either electronically or on a paper form.

To submit a claim, you need to provide your band details using the volunteer payment setup form. You only need to do this once a year, or if your bank details change.

The form includes contact information, bank details a description of the expense and the amount being claimed.

The data is entered and stored on the finance database and any copies of the form will then be deleted. A volunteer finance record will be deleted after a year of no claims, or when a volunteer ends their placement.

Subsequent claims within the same year will only require an expenses claim form with details of the claim and corresponding VAT receipts.

When volunteer involvement ends

Data is held on our volunteer database for up to five years after an individual has ended their volunteer involvement.

This is so we are able to refer back at a later date if needed, such as if a reference is requested by someone who used to be a volunteer or for insurance purposes.

Any data exported from the database is held securely and destroyed once its immediate purpose has been fulfilled.


If you have any queries about how we handle your information please contact