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Information, Advice and Guidance - Statement of Service


Voluntary Sector Training (VST) provides comprehensive, accurate, up to date information on a range of services for Third Sector organisations in Essex, Southend and Thurrock with the intention of helping clients make informed decisions.

About our IAG service
The services we provide are intended to support our clients in making informed decisions on how they operate and develop.

Information Available
• General Enquiries
• Training

VST may, from time to time, be involved in the delivery of other projects and / or services, either as a contractor or sub-contractor. If these projects / services fall within the service categories above they will be covered under this Statement of Service, but if they do not then they will not be covered.

How we deliver information

Information is available via telephone Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00, with a voicemail facility to leave messages out of working hours. Team meetings and training events are very important to the quality of the services provided. It may therefore be necessary at certain times to offer a voicemail service only, during normal opening hours.

Face to Face
VST staff are happy for clients to visit them at our office, or a visit can be arranged to the client to deliver information and advice ‘face to face’. This can be on a group or a one-one basis. Visits can be arranged by contacting us.

Information on VST services is available online through our website: Our website has the facility to enquire online, book online and download course handouts or further information when appropriate.

Written information
A range of written information is available including; training brochure produced three times per year, email news update produced weekly and leaflets advertising the particular training sessions or events

What clients can expect from us

Level of Service
VST will make a commitment to respond to all telephone and email enquiries within one working day. Enquiries taken away from our office will be responded to the following working day if they are not able to be dealt with immediately. Where this is not possible, the client will be informed and an estimated response time given. Enquiries left on voicemail will be responded to the following working day.

VST Staff
All staff will maintain a friendly, helpful and courteous manner at all times. Staff are trained to understand and adhere to VST policies including equal opportunities, confidentiality and complaints.

Respect and support to the range of services across Essex, Southend and Thurrock is important. VST is not biased towards certain types of service and does not make recommendations. It allows clients to make their own choices on the basis of the information they are given. When looking for information, clients are advised, wherever possible, to visit a range of offers so that they are able to make an informed choice.

We ask permission from all clients/ enquirers to record their details in order to send them new brochures and email newsletters. Participant details are recorded for the purposes of administering training services and for monitoring purposes. VST complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and ensures that all information stored complies with the Act.

Equality of Access
VST abides by its Equal Opportunities Policy. Every step is taken to ensure that, with the resources available, all potential clients have access to the service. This is achieved through a range of delivery methods and reaching out to people who might otherwise have difficulty in taking advantage of the service.

Monitoring and Evaluation
VST staff monitor the usage of our services regularly. All clients are offered the opportunity to provide feedback, which will allow us to continually improve and develop our services. Information is also gathered from non-users of our services through outreach work, and feedback from partners, providers and suppliers.

What do we expect from clients?
• As much relevant information as you can give us so that we can answer your enquiry fully
• To treat all members of staff with respect.

Feedback, Comments and Complaints
To help us to continuously improve our service and address points raised by clients, we actively invite suggestions, comments, compliments or complaints (this may be anonymous if preferred).
All courses and conferences run by VST include a written feedback sheet. Alternatively, points can be raised at any time with a member of staff.

We hope you are happy with the service you receive but if you are not then we will investigate and deal with any difficulties you experience. There is a clear suggestions/ complaints policy which specifies how complaints are handled and where unresolved complaints may be directed. If you have a complaint then we will treat it in confidence and will do our best to resolve it fairly and quickly in accordance with our complaints procedure.

Limitations of VST
VST offers information about the services detailed in this document in Essex, Southend and Thurrock. Clients may be signposted to other services in other areas as appropriate. VST makes every effort to keep the information it holds up to date. However, accuracy depends, to a large extent, on providers informing us of any changes to the service they offer.


What we do
• Run Gateway Qualification accredited courses in Recruiting Volunteers, Supporting Volunteers and Mentoring Skills.
• Run short accredited or certificated courses in Emergency First Aid at Work, Food Safety in Catering, Health and Safety, Manual Handling, Risk Assessment and Fire Safety training.
• Run non-accredited courses in managing organisations or personal skills in subjects such as managing staff, business planning, committee skills, trustee skills, minute taking, speaking and presentation skills, writing funding applications etc.
• Work with individual organisations where we are commissioned to run in-house courses. Common themes include Trustee Roles and Responsibilities, Team meetings, Committee Skills, Business Planning.
• ESOL courses are delivered in Colchester by Communty360. Please ask us for details.

What we do not do
• Deliver Skills for Life or higher education provision.

General Enquiries
What we do
• Advise callers about VST’s services
• Signpost callers to appropriate services if and when the service is not provided by VST

Voluntary Sector Training
Community 360 Office,
The College at Braintree,
Church Lane,
Braintree, Essex CM7 5SN
Telephone: 01376 550507
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From 1st September 2017 Voluntary Sector Training has become part of Community360.

Community360 is an incorporated registered charity and has been established within Colchester since 1968. We are an independent infrastructure organisation, which provides fundamental support to voluntary and community organisations (VCO's), establishes relationships between voluntary and statutory groups and guides local projects.
Registered Charity number: 1092567
Registered England and Wales number: 04426567