Community facilities will, at some point, need to recruit their own staff and / or volunteers other than those who initiated the project.
It is possible that your project may begin as an entirely volunteer run endeavour. However, if a community managed library is to operate at scale or you are to diversity into other areas of service deliver, staff costs will be likely to become the biggest element of the overall cost of running the facility. Most community groups find that there are still savings to be made by using volunteers to carry out a range of tasks in both the back office and front desk roles but the balance of staff and volunteers needs careful management.
In order to ensure people’s skills are up to date and fit for purpose for delivering the services you are planning, consider a staff and volunteer development programme. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is a mine of useful information ranging from such subjects as codes of practice when dealing with people to employment law.
The Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (CILIP) offer a range of education and development opportunities for all of those involved in information and knowledge management sector.
Investment in the people resource of the organisation also has a positive bottom line effect on the financials, e.g. some libraries have been able to charge a premium rate for additional research based services for individuals or businesses as their staff are qualified information professionals.
In a community run facility paid staff resources are likely to be limited, especially in the early phases of development, so as many volunteers as possible should be given the opportunity to undertake recognised professional training. However as roles develop, and hopefully finances become more secure, the balance of staff and volunteers may change. This can cause tension e.g. long serving volunteers feeling neglected, threatened or undervalued as staff take over elements of their roles.
How you treat your volunteers will be key to the success of your organisation. As such there a good practical reasons (as well as ethical reasons) for due care and attention to the relationship between volunteer and organisation. However you may also be under legal obligations as many elements of employment law can apply to volunteers depending on the nature of their ‘contract’ (written or otherwise) with the organisation. This is a complex area of law but Volunteering England have produced a helpful guide.
Whilst local authority and community organisations often enjoy different work cultures, some community enterprises will seek to employ staff that had previously been employed by the local authority. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, (TUPE), need to be fully considered. TUPE is designed to protect the employment rights of employees where an undertaking has been transferred or part of an undertaking is transferred.
In relation to the delivery of services, people management largely concerns ensuring appropriate behaviour to guarantee that the high standards of customer service that you expect. In order to do this you will have to ensure you have communicated appropriate standards and objectives. You will also need to be sure that you are providing sufficient training and support. If all else fails you’ll need to be sure there are clear and appropriate (i.e. simple and helpful) procedures in place for disciplinary measures.