FAQs for Volunteer Responders

FAQs for Volunteer Responders

In this guide you will find answers to questions that you may have as a Volunteer Responder.

Page last reviewed: 01 December 2023

ID checking

You can find the guide for ID Checking in Using the GoodSAM app[1].

I’d like to speak to someone about ID checking?

You can contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] to speak to someone if you are unsure how to start the ID checking process via GoodSAM.

Once the ID checking process has begun if you need technical assistance you can contact Reed Helpdesk on 0161 537 3970[3] or email [email protected][4]

How will my ID be rechecked?

Reed Screening will use an upload of your government issued ID (such as a passport or driving licence) and conduct a likeness test against a selfie taken at the time of upload. This measure uses biometrics to compare the ID and your face, alongside checking that the ID is genuine.

Can I use a desktop computer for my ID check?

You can start the ID checking process on a desktop computer, however, you will need to continue the process on a smartphone. You will receive a text message with a link to click on which will direct you to the ID checking website.

What will happen to my data?

Please visit our privacy notice for volunteers[5] for further information.

I don't have the required ID to be ID checked?

If you don’t have the required ID, please contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] who will be able to advise you.

I can't remember my password for GoodSAM?

If you can't remember the password you created when you signed up, you can reset it by clicking on the Reset Password button under the login section.

Why am I not receiving tasks after my ID check is complete?

Does your profile in GoodSam show your check is complete? If you received support in person from Reed Screening, your status will not automatically show as complete. Once the upload by GoodSAM is done (on a weekly basis), the status will then show as complete.

Will I need to complete a new DBS check?

For some activities a DBS will be required, you will be asked to go through this process if needed.

Will I get a notification when my ID is reviewed and accepted?

Yes, the status of your ID check will show on your profile on goodsamapp.org[6] and you will receive an email confirmation.

How long will it take for my ID to be checked?

In most cases the ID check is completed within minutes. If there is a problem with your ID upload, this could be detected at the time and hints and tips given on screen to help you to resolve the issue. If there is a problem with the information you supply, Reed Screening will contact you directly using the email address and telephone number you have in GoodSAM to support you to progress your check.

How will I know if my ID is rejected?

Your profile in GoodSAM will show the status of your check.

My ID says 'In Review", what happens next?

Reed Screening will contact you within 3 days via the information you provided in your application. They will attempt to contact 3 times over 9 days. After this, your application will cease and you will need to start the process again.

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

DBS checking

Will I need to complete a new DBS check?

For some activities a DBS will be required, you will be asked to go through this process if needed.

These checks are processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and may be requested when you apply for a job or volunteering role.

The types of check are as follows:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions and adult cautions, from the Police National Computer which have not been filtered in line with legislation
  • an enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with a check of the barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the adults’ barred list, children’s barred list or both.

This information was taken from the Disclosure and Barring Service website[7] where you can find more detailed guidance.

Do I have to pay for a DBS check?

No. If it is required for the volunteering activity you have applied for we will cover the cost associated. You will just need to complete the DBS screening form as part of your application.

Why am I being asked to complete a DBS for an activity I have already been doing?

The programme has relaunched and now seeks to provide support across the healthcare sector. Due to this there will be instances when volunteers will come into contact with people in receipt of health and care services. In addition, certain activities are defined as ‘regulated activity’ meaning that, by law, we are required to check volunteers.

Who is processing the DBS checks?

The Volunteer Responders programme have partnered with Reed Screening[8] to undertake all Identity Checks and DBS checks on behalf of the programme.

What happens if I do not wish to undertake a DBS check?

DBS checks will be required for certain activities as defined by law. However, there will still be activities that you can undertake as part of the programme that do not require a DBS check. However, a DBS check only takes about 10 minutes an unlocks activities that you can choose to take part in.

I submitted an application but it still isn’t showing as complete on the app.

All applications are submitted to the Disclosure and Barring service within 2 days of the application being completed. Dependent on the level of check will depend on the number of checks the DBS need to undertake, some of which are with local police forces, the time of completion varies form force to force. Please keep checking your GoodSAM profile.

Can I still volunteer if I have a caution or conviction?

All DBS checks that return unspent cautions and convictions will be reviewed by the NHSCVR team, you will be involved in that review process. Following the review a decision will be made as to the activities that you can undertake as part of the programme.

Page last reviewed: 11 April 2024

Accepting/rejecting alerts

I need help setting up the GoodSAM app and guidance on how to respond to alerts

You'll find the step-by-step guidance for setting up the app and responding to alerts in the Getting You Started Guides and on our Volunteer Responders website[9]. We also have a video you can watch to help get you started:  GoodSAM app video[10].

Do I have to accept every request that comes through?

No, only commit to what you can. Turn your ON DUTY toggle to on when you are available and select OFF when you are not available. If you do not want to accept a specific request, click 'Reject' on the GoodSAM app.

What happens if I accept a request but then find that I cannot make it or get delayed?

You can ‘Pass to another volunteer’ via the GoodSAM app if you can no longer help. 

How long will the information regarding the alert stay on my phone?

The details of a task will remain on your phone for 2 days minimum. The length of time the details will stay on your phone depends on what number volunteer you are within the alert cycle, therefore for most people, the alert will be on your phone for longer than 2 days, however please be assured that if you are the last volunteer to receive the alert you will still have the details for 2 days.

Please note that if you select that you have completed a task (prior to actually completing it) the details will disappear.

Can I screenshot the person’s details so I can call them later?

The details of a task will remain on your phone for 2 days minimum. We ask that you do not screenshot the details as this may transfer to a storage area like the cloud. Please note that if you select that you have completed a task (prior to actually completing it) the details will disappear.

I have accepted a task for the future (a few days time) but can no longer help?

Please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[11]

I have received an alert that is 50 miles away from me and I am not a Check In and Chat Volunteer?

Please 'Pass to another volunteer'. This may happen if the location settings are not correct on your phone. Make sure your location settings for your phone and the app are turned on and wait for another referral to come through. Please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382 [11]if you require support. 

For Check In and Chat, location is not important as this is a telephone service.

Why am I receiving alerts after 7:30pm?

The GoodSAM app will only send notifications up to 7:30pm, however due to your signal/wifi availability/settings you may receive these alerts to your phone after this time. Please note our Support Team is open until 6pm on 0808 196 3382[11] if you need any help.

Why have I received an alert from yesterday?

This may happen if the referral was made and accepted by a volunteer who then dropped it after the 7:30pm cut-off. If you are unsure about whether you will be able to complete an alert, please reject it to ensure it is sent to another volunteer in time to avoid this happening.

Does being a Volunteer Responder mean you will be called to an emergency? Is this the same as a First Responder for heart attacks?

You will only be asked to support tasks linked to Volunteer Responder activities you agreed to do. The GoodSAM app is used by a number of organisations for different purposes, such as emergency responses. However, you will be using it as part of the Volunteer Responder programme, which does not involve dealing with medical emergencies.

I can only support during the evenings and weekends, is this ok?

Yes, of course, whatever support you can offer is appreciated. You just need to ensure that when you can support, the ON DUTY toggle is turned ON in the GoodSAM app. When you are unavailable for support switch the ON DUTY toggle to OFF. That way you will never be sent requests for support when you are unavailable. 

Can I add another activity to my volunteer record?

We are currently reviewing the support and activities required for the programme. Please review the website for any updates regarding new volunteer activities[9].

If there are new activities you would like to sign up for you can go to goodsamapp.org/login[12] and log in with the email address you used to sign up, you will be able to amend your activities under the ‘Change your current roles’ tab.

Can I stop certain alerts/remove an activity from my volunteer record?

Yes, you can untick an activity by logging in to goodsamapp.org/login[12] using the email address you used to sign up, and access the ‘Change your current roles’ tab.

How will I see Pick Up and Deliver tasks?

Pick Up and Deliver tasks can be received in 2 ways. A short notice task that will need to be completed on the day will come via an alert on the GoodSAM App. Advanced notice future tasks which will be a shift, where your help is needed for a period of time and is likely to involve multiple journeys or deliveries. Future tasks can be found in the 'Tasks' section of the GoodSAM app.

I'm a Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer, what will I be asked to collect/deliver?

Pick Up and Deliver volunteers will be asked to deliver medicines or monitoring equipment to recently discharged people from hospital or in a virtual ward. These items will be delivered to a person's home address. Any equipment you are given will be portable and can be handed over at the doorstep. Medicine deliveries will not contain any controlled substances.

I'm a Community Response Volunteer, what types of tasks will be asked to do in an alert?

You may not receive specific details in a community response alert, you can confirm with the person being supported when you contact them what support they require. This should only be a request to pick up shopping, a prescription or lateral flow test. If you are asked to do something else please advise the person being supported that you cannot assist outside of these tasks and contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] if you have any concerns. 

I'm a Check In and Chat Volunteer, why can I only make 3 calls a month?

Following a review of our activities, we have received advise from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) that Check In and Chat volunteers should only make up to 3 calls in a rolling 30 days.

The calls you provide are invaluable so please continue to make 3 a month where possible. We would also ask you to consider supplementing these calls by signing up as a Check In and Chat Plus volunteer as well. This would mean on top of the 3 one-off calls you make a month, you would have regular conversations with the same person (3 calls per week for 6 weeks). Check In and Chat Plus supports more vulnerable people and requires a DBS. Referrers are provided with guidance on who is suitable for this support.

When does the 30 day period start from for Check In and Chat Volunteers?

The 30 day period was set to 20 May 2023 for existing volunteers who already had Check In and Chat active as an activity. For anyone adding the role after 20 May 2023, the date of adding the activity will be the date it starts from.

Can I make more than 3 Check In and Chat calls a month if I have a DBS?

Although you have a DBS check as a Volunteer Responder we need to provide equity across all volunteers accepting Check In and Chat tasks. As we cannot, at this time, invite volunteers to step forward to DBS for this role we have made the decision to limit all volunteers to the same number of tasks.

How will I know what type of support a referrer requires from me as a Steward Volunteer?

Referrers have been advised that they must include the type of support they require in the additional information section of the task alert e.g. stewarding at a vaccination site. If you have not received clear task information in your alert, you can reject the task. You may also want to raise this with the Support Team who can contact the referrer and advise them to re-submit a more detailed referral.

What types of support cannot be requested under the Steward Volunteer activity?

Volunteers should not be expected to perform duties such as a receptionist role, clinical roles or stewarding for non-healthcare events or transport hubs. If you have received an alert requesting these types of support, please call the Support Team who will contact the referrer.

I have selected ‘I will attend’ for a Steward Volunteer task but can no longer attend, what should I do?

Once you have confirmed attendance, this will show on your ‘tasks’ screen with attending in green, next to that shift. If you need to cancel a shift, swipe across the task, still on the tasks screen, and press ‘no longer attending’.

Page last reviewed: 01 April 2024

Managing my activities

Why are you now introducing the auto-tick?

In excess of a thousand volunteers have completed their ID and/or DBS checks yet haven’t added any activities to their profiles. One of the reasons for this change is to help these volunteers, who have shown interest in the programme but have encountered problems during the process, get up and running with activities.

How do I review which activities I can support as a Volunteer Responder?

Volunteer responders are able to view which activities they are able to support by logging in to your GoodSAM[12] account on the website. Then click on the 'Manage your current activities' tab. Here you will see the options available to you depending on whether you've completed your ID and DBS check (if required).

Can I add other activities to my profile?

Activities that currently don't have the appropriate DBS check will not be available to you. However, in these instances you can manually select to add them, go through the additional checks and these will be selected in your profile once cleared.

I would like to remove activities from my profile?

You can log onto the GoodSAM website[12] and deselect any activities at any time. Log on, click on the 'Manage your current activities' tab and remove the tick from the box of the activity you wish to remove.

How do I update my driver status?

You will need to login to the GoodSAM website[12] (not the App). Here you will see driving status on the 'My details' tab. A pop-up box will appear asking you to confirm your driving status. For more information, see driving status and declaration guidance[13].

Why are you collecting my driver status?

To continuously improve the programme, we are capturing driver information to understand who is willing to drive for any existing and any upcoming activities. You only need to do this once the next time you login to your GoodSAM[12] account. This will need to be done on the website, and cannot be changed on the App. However, you can amend this at any time by logging in and changing your status.

Do I need to update my driver status to continue as a Community Response and Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer?

Yes you will need to update your driver status, but if you have previously completed a Driver Declaration, the activities will still be selected on your profile. If you have not completed a Driver Declaration previously, the activities will be de-selected until your driver status is completed. This will mean you will not receive any tasks related to these activities until the status is completed.

I'm an existing volunteer and the Steward volunteer activity isn’t ticked?

The Steward activity can only be selected after you've completed your Driver Declaration and Status and completed the self declaration of unspent convictions. However, if you have a DBS check this will override the declaration and the activity will be automatically ticked.

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

Support in action

How far am I reasonably expected to travel in order to fulfill a request?

Most of the travel requests will be very local, less than 5 miles. In more rural areas this will increase to a maximum of 20 miles.

Can I provide support after 7:30pm?

Alerts will be sent to people during the daytime, but this does not mean they need to be actioned at that time. You can carry out your task at a time that is mutually convenient, but would need to accept the request before 7:30pm.

What if the person I am supporting has questions about their medication, or how to take it?

If you are a Community Response Volunteer please refer the person to contact the dispensing pharmacy. The contact details should be found on the medication package label or the bag label. If you are a Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer please refer the person to the person name on their discharge letter or any information provided about the virtual ward.

The person who requested the support is not answering the door when I go to deliver.

When arranging the collection, do confirm with the person needing support the exact time you will be completing the task so they can agree to be in to receive the package.

Do knock loudly and ring any doorbell and allow time for the person to get to the door.

Try calling out through the letterbox and attempt to contact the person via the telephone. If you still cannot make contact, please telephone the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2]. You cannot hold on to the medicines overnight and delivery should be completed as soon as practicable to do so after collecting from the pharmacy.

I have been asked to sign for the medication by the pharmacist, can I do that?

Yes, as long as you have consent from the person being supported to collect their medication. Some medications require signature for collection as you are acting as a person representative, you will therefore be required to sign.

In some instances, the pharmacy team may telephone the person you are supporting to confirm consent to collect. Do not be worried by these additional checks.

What if the medication I collect spills or packaging breaks?

Please telephone the pharmacy or the named contact details on GoodSAM for advice and notify the person you are supporting as soon as possible. The contact details should be found on the medication package label or the bag label.

I have been asked to deliver another person’s medication which I wasn’t tasked with through GoodSAM. Am I ok to do this?

If you are a Community Response Volunteer, the consent to collect medicine is a one-to-one task between the person on GoodSAM and you as a Volunteer Responder. Therefore any additional must go through GoodSAM. If you are a Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer you might be asked to take more than 1 prescription. Please allow time to complete this in your shift and retain the postcodes for your expenses claim. These should be destroyed after your claim has been completed.

The person being supported has asked me to return a hazardous waste bag or bin to the pharmacy. What should I do?

Explain to the person being supported that this is not a permitted activity for a Volunteer Responder. As the disposal of hazardous waste is different depending on local authority, please advise the person being supported to contact their local council. This also applies to unused or out of date medicines.

I'm a Community Response Volunteer and I've been asked to collect lateral flow tests, who is eligible for these?

People with identified health conditions are eligible for treatment for COVID-19 if they test positive. Free rapid lateral flow tests are available through local pharmacies for people with these identified conditions. see nhs.uk for more information about COVID-19 treatments[14].

What should I do with the personal details provided to me so I can collect lateral flow tests on behalf of an eligible person?

It is important you follow the guidelines for dealing with confidential information, As a reminder on data protection and confidentiality  when volunteering, visit key points for Volunteer Responders[15].

What if the person I'm collecting lateral flow tests for doesn't want to give me their details?

Advise them that you will be unable to collect the tests without this information to provide to the pharmacy and they will need to arrange collection through another route.

What do I do if the pharmacy I go to has no lateral flow tests?

Try other local pharmacies. If you are not able to pick up any tests please let the person know as soon as possible.

Which pharmacies can I collect lateral flow tests from?

Most pharmacies should have these in stock for eligible people. You can choose a pharmacy local to you rather than the one the person might usually use.

What if the person I am supporting has questions about the monitoring equipment I have delivered?

Please refer the person to contact the person name on their discharge letter or any information provided about the virtual ward.

The person being supported has asked me to return an old piece of monitoring equipment, or mobility aid such as a walking frame or crutches.

Please explain that this is not a permitted activity for Pick Up and Deliver. The person should contact the ward on their discharge letter or virtual ward information to arrange what to do with surplus equipment.

As a Community Response Volunteer, will I only receive 1 alert to support someone for up to a 6-week period?

The alerts will generate weekly, 1 per week for a 6-week period. At any point, you can reject the alert and this will pass it to another available volunteer.

As a Community Response Volunteer, will I need to inform the person I am supporting or the Support Team that I cannot support for the full 6-week period?

You do not need to inform the person you are supporting if you are not able to continue. If you are no longer able to support, reject the alert and this will pass it to another available volunteer. This volunteer will make contact with the person needing support. You can contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] if you have any concerns. 

Do I need a car to carry out Community Response tasks?

Community Response Volunteers don’t need to be able to drive to carry out tasks, using public transport or a bicycle is accepted. Just be mindful to set expectations with the person being supported as to the weight of goods you can manage at any one time and be sure not to overload yourself.

I am a Check In and Chat Volunteer, can I call the same person twice over a 6-week period?

You are only able to call the same person twice within a 6-week period. If you find  that you are getting numerous alerts for the same person, please 'Pass to another volunteer' on the GoodSAM app or ring the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2].

I am a Check In and Chat Plus Volunteer, can I support the same person more than twice over a 6-week period?

Yes. Check In and Chat Plus is designed to have 3 calls a week over 6 weeks for each person you are supporting. This activity requires a DBS certificate on application so you are able to provide ongoing support to the same person.

Can I continue to support a person outside of the scheme?

No. Volunteer Responders has stringent safeguarding and other support systems in place to protect both you and the people we support. For the safety of you and the people you help, you should not continue supporting anyone outside the programme.

I am a Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer, how will I receive my alerts?

You will receive information for the alert based on whether it is a one off urgent task, or a short notice shift where you will potentially be delivering multiple items. The alert will include details of where you are picking up the item(s) from, any additional information you may need such as parking information and the location you are delivering to. If the alert is for a short notice shift you will be given the delivery details when you arrive at the pick up location.

I am a Pick Up and Deliver, what is a short notice shift?

This is when an alert will be sent to you 1 or 2 days before you need to carry out the activity. It will tell you where to go to collect the items and you will have contact details for someone at the pick up location. If you accept a short notice shift and can no longer make it please ensure you reject the task ASAP so it can be reassigned to another volunteer.

Page last reviewed: 26 February 2024

Concerns whilst volunteering

Please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] if you have any concerns.

Page last reviewed: 09 November 2023

Steward Volunteer questions

This section will be regularly updated. Please also check the Getting You Started Guide[16] which will answer many questions about Steward Volunteer activities.

Activity and application process

What is the Steward Volunteer activity, and what does it involve?

Steward Volunteers help people move easily and safely through health, NHS and care sites – in particular vaccination sites.

You may also be asked to support at other sites including GP surgeries and pharmacies.

You could be asked to support with managing queues and directing people to the right place.

Stewarding at vaccination sites can also involve monitoring numbers and ensuring safe social distancing measures are followed.

As a Steward Volunteer, how often do I need to volunteer?

You need to commit to at least 2 x 4 hour shifts at a vaccination site each month.

Is there a maximum number of shifts I can do?

If you are willing and able, you can commit to as many shifts as you feel able to support.

What if I have said I will attend and something changes?

Once you have confirmed attendance, this will show on your ‘tasks’ screen with attending in green, next to that shift. If you need to cancel a shift, swipe across the task, still on the tasks screen, and press ‘no longer attending’.

Please remember to cancel if you are no longer able to attend a Steward Volunteer shift. This enables the team to identify another volunteer to meet the quota.

What happens if a referrer cancels Steward Volunteer shifts?

If a referrer cancels a request for Steward Volunteers and you have said you will attend, you will get a message in the messages/comms section of GoodSAM app. It will let you know of the cancellation and the shift/s will no longer show on your ‘tasks’ screen of GoodSAM.

I have arrived at shift and been sent away as they do not need volunteers?

Referrers have the facility to cancel a request for stewards or amend the number of stewards required.

If you experience this then please contact us to let us know by calling the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] or email [email protected][17].

We will then follow this up and support the site to mitigate this happening again for you and for other volunteers.

Do I need to call the referrer before I attend?

No. If you would like to discuss details of the task please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2]

Can I call the vaccination site for more details?

Please do not contact the referrer or vaccination site directly. Vaccination sites will be very busy. If you have any questions, please look at the Getting You Started Guide and these FAQs or if you need to speak to someone, please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2].

I have been asked to complete a volunteer agreement at the vaccination site, is this correct?

Volunteers will be asked to do this by the NHS organisation responsible for managing vaccination sites in their area, known as a Lead Provider. It is an agreement between the Lead Provider and the volunteer, not with Volunteer Responders or Royal Voluntary Service.

How to use the App as a Steward Volunteer

When I log in to the app, there are no shifts in future tasks tab?

It’s important to check that all settings are correct and that notifications and location access is enabled. We have provided guidance in our GoodSAM app guide, 'how to download and enable settings[18]'.

You should also check to make sure that you have the latest updates to the GoodSAM app. You can check this by going into your phone settings, into apps and checking if any updates are needed for the GoodSAM app. You can also check the GoodSAM app in Apple Store[19] or Google Play[20] and if there are updates required you will be able to click on updates. This will ensure you have the latest version, and nothing is restricting access to future tasks.

If you are still experiencing issues, then please contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[21] or email [email protected][17]

How will I know when I am needed?

A request for you to support will appear in the ‘Future tasks’ section of the app. This can be found at either the top or bottom of the screen depending on whether you are using an iPhone or Android. For your information, a scheduled task is a request for support in the future. You will need to check in here frequently as you do not need to be on duty or get an alert to accept or reject.

Can I change the distance for my Steward Volunteer activities on the app?

The distance for Steward Volunteers is currently set automatically at 32km (19.8 miles). For all other activities, you can change the distance slider under the ‘Me’ tab. Adjusting the distance for any other activities won’t affect the 19.8miles/32km distance for the steward activity.

I cannot see the Tasks tab on the app – what can I do?

This means that your phone has not processed the latest updates in the app. You can uninstall and re-install the GoodSAM app and then log in using your email and the password you chose when you registered with us. This will ensure you have the latest GoodSAM app updates.

I am struggling to use the app and find where I can see the scheduled requests for support?

Go to The GoodSAM app[22] for a step by step guide to logging onto the app.

I am a Steward Volunteer and all my booked shifts have suddenly been cancelled and disappeared from the app. Why has this happened?

Occasionally shifts you have booked may be cancelled by the vaccination site due to unforeseen circumstances. However, if you have a series of shift cancellations and/or they disappear from the app with no further details, please contact our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] so that we can investigate why this has happened.

Volunteer safety

What training will I be given?

The Getting You Started Guide[23] explains what is required of each activity, these sit alongside other supporting materials for volunteers that you should review before starting any tasks.

As no specific training is required, when you arrive at a vaccination site for the first time, the Site Leader will take you through a site introduction and briefing.

Is there an expected dress code for Volunteer Stewards?

Volunteers are expected to dress in appropriate comfortable footwear & clothing, suitable for a predominantly outdoor activity in a range of weather conditions:

  • Casual denim is acceptable (no rips/holes etc)
  • Volunteers are asked to avoid wearing the following; sports team shirts or clothing with slogans/logos or offensive language
  • As we move into warmer weather, it’s important to work safely and maintain a welcoming and professional image at our NHS vaccination sites. Please remember the following:
    • Always wear enclosed shoes onsite for your safety
    • Ripped jeans and crop tops should not be worn onsite; skirts and shorts should be a suitable length.
Where will I be able to store my personal belongings?

As sites do vary, we encourage you only to take the essentials you need for stewarding eg phone for ID, bottle of water.  Wherever possible please avoid taking anything unnecessary with you or if driving to site leave any other belongings safely in your car. You can ask the Site Lead if there is anywhere to store belongings but due to different types of vaccination sites this may not always be possible.

Do I have to wear PPE?

The safety of volunteers is extremely important. Please take a face covering to your shift.

Has a vaccination site risk assessment been completed and can I have a copy?

Each vaccination site has been set up by NHS England and a site risk assessment has been completed as part of that process. Steward Volunteers reporting to a vaccination site for the first time will be briefed by the Site Lead on health and safety and emergency site procedures as part of their site orientation. This will vary from site to site. If you want a copy of a site’s risk assessment, please discuss this with the Site Lead.

Why does the Steward Volunteer alert include a date and time?

Most Volunteer Responder tasks can be completed within a range of 2 or 3 days. However, Steward Volunteer shifts need to be carried out at a specific time to enable vaccination sites to plan their staffing appropriately. Therefore, the date and time that you are required to attend is included in the alert as well as any additional information that a referrer would like you to know. Volunteer Responders who have signed up for these tasks can expect to receive at least 1 week’s notice so that they can also plan ahead.

Can I accept shifts directly from the vaccination site?

Shifts you arrange outside the GoodSAM app are not covered by Volunteer Responders programme and we can only pay expenses for stewarding shifts you accept through the GoodSAM app.

Volunteering outside of the app also stops other Volunteer Responders from having a fair opportunity to support shifts.

Please help us keep you supported and let us know if you attend a vaccination site as a Volunteer Responder and are asked to sign up to the site’s own volunteering rotas. Please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2].

The site I have been volunteering at has asked me to do shifts locally outside of the app – is this OK?

It is your decision as to whether you wish to volunteer via a local arrangement. Please be aware that any steward shifts arranged outside of the GoodSAM app are not managed by Royal Voluntary Service, and we are unable to provide any follow-up support or assistance with these shifts or support with volunteer expenses.

Can I still receive Steward Volunteer tasks when I’m currently undertaking a task for a different activity?

Yes. The Tasks tab will still be available for Steward Volunteer shifts even if you are currently carrying out another task.

Page last reviewed: 11 March 2024

Connect pilot activity

If the person I am supporting asks me to purchase supplies for an activity can I take their bank/debit/credit card to make the purchase?

You are not permitted to take a person’s bank card to a cashpoint to withdraw money on their behalf or pay for shopping contactless or by pin payments. You are only permitted to use the cash access scheme[24] and must follow the payment guidance[25] we have for our Community Response Volunteers. 

Can I bring supplies for activities such as baking to the person’s home?

We don’t advise that you bring supplies or equipment as we don’t want things to get damaged or lost in transit. We also want to encourage the people we support to be able to continue with the activity after the volunteer engagement has ended which they may see as a barrier without a volunteer's equipment. If they don’t have some equipment/supplies needed for an activity they would like to do, you can see if you find this together. 

Where is Connect activity taking place?

The pilot for Connect volunteering is running in Christchurch, Poole, Bournemouth, Birmingham, Kirklees and Buckinghamshire. If you are interested in this volunteer activity please keep an eye out for news on this activity rolling out in the future.

Can I combine a home visit with a community visit?

No, the activities are logged differently on GoodSAM so you will either receive a task to support someone in their home or out in the community. If a person you are supporting at home, decides they want to get out and about in the community another referral will need to be made. But all visits will start and end in the home for both types of visit. 

How do I encourage the person to do things independently?

We urge volunteers to reiterate to the person receiving support that you are there to support them to engage in activities until they feel confident to participate independently. You could ask them what barriers they have to doing a particular activity so you can remove them together. 

If I end the lone working process on the app will this also mark my task as completed?

No, you must end the lone working as per the guidance[26] and also press the button to show you have completed the task, via the ‘actions’ tab on the GoodSAM app, on your phone. 

Can I claim for subsistence if I take the person out?

We don’t want volunteers to be out of pocket. You can claim reasonable subsistence via volunteer expenses. Please see our expenses policy to see what is acceptable to claim back at concur.co.uk/rvs[27]

Can I pay for the person to have subsistence or take part in activities?

No. The person receiving support should have been made aware by the referrer that they will need to pay for their own activities and any expenses related to them e.g. bus fare, ingredients for baking, entry to any social groups or clubs, or subsistence when out and about. 

What if I don’t get on with the person and it is a 6-week referral?

Please contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] so that they can advise you.

Can I accept/give a gift from/to the person I am supporting?

In the Volunteer Agreement[28] you signed up to when joining Volunteer Responders, it states that you agree to: ‘Not accepting any gifts or money from people you are supporting’. We understand this might be hard to refuse and you don’t want to cause offence but giving or receiving gifts can blur boundaries and may create in the mind of the person being supported a perceived personal friendship instead of a professional relationship.

I'm off duty why did I receive a Connect task?

If you have previously completed a Connect task that is part of an ongoing sequence of tasks, for the same person, you will be offered the next weeks task for first refusal. To offer this continuity we have overridden the ‘on/off duty’ function. This is only for Connect activity. You will not receive any other activities if you are off duty. 

If you receive a Connect task and do not wish to complete you can reject the notification, this will pass the task to another volunteer. You will remain off duty. 

Page last reviewed: 01 December 2023

General queries

I would like to change my phone number or home address

Please log in to GoodSAM where you can amend your details on your account.

I would like to change my name or email address

Please contact our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[29] who can do this for you.

I want to unsubscribe from email communications

As Volunteer Responders is a digital programme, we need to send you emails to keep you informed of any updates. We also use email to let you know about any new and refreshed volunteering opportunities. There are 3 options available to you.

  1. Stay with the programme. This means you will still receive email updates and be able to continue volunteering.
  2. Join the reserves. If you want to step back from volunteering for now and join the reserves, regular communications will stop but we may contact you if new volunteering activities are created or if there is an emergency. To join the reserves, log in to the GoodSAM app,[12] go to 'manage my preferences' to adjust the preferences in your profile and click “Put Me on Reserve”.
  3. Be removed from the programme. If you no longer wish to be a Volunteer Responder, please go to the GoodSAM app[12], and use the “Manage my preferences” tab to click “Fully Remove Me”. Your data will be removed from our systems in line with our privacy notice[5] and you will no longer receive emails. This means that you will also no longer be able to volunteer as a Volunteer Responder and will not be able to search for tasks and shifts on the GoodSAM app.
Where can I find out more information about my volunteering activity and the questions I have?

We have a section specifically for our Volunteer Responders[30], this has frequently asked questions, app guidance and Getting You Started Guides for each of the different volunteer activities.

Do I need to change my car insurance to be able to drive as a volunteer?

Volunteers using their own car for voluntary purposes to support others should check the information on the Association of British Insurers website[31] before undertaking any driving activity as you may not be insured, the information includes a list of insurers who do not charge extra for volunteer driving.

I do not want to be a Volunteer Responder anymore, how do I remove my details?

Thank you for supporting the Volunteer Responders programme. We want to let you know that if you decide to stop being a volunteer and cancel volunteering we can remove your details from the system. This will mean you will no longer be able to receive alerts and will end volunteering on behalf of the programme.

If you no longer wish to be a Volunteer Responder, please go to the GoodSAM app[12], and use the “Manage my preferences” tab to click “Fully Remove Me”. Your data will be removed from our systems in line with our privacy notice[5] and you will no longer receive emails. This means that you will also no longer be able to volunteer as a Volunteer Responder and will not be able to search for tasks and shifts on the GoodSAM app.

What is the recite me logo on the website?

Recite Me is an assistive toolbar to support people who are neurodivergent, visually impaired, speak English as a second language or generally face barriers when accessing web content. You can customise and adjust website elements to your individual needs. This looks at aspects such as font style, size, colour, language, zoom functionality, keyboard navigation, screen readers and more.

How do I use the recite me button?

Just click on the button in the bottom left hand corner of this website. This will add a toolbar to the top of the page allowing you to select a number of options to support you in making our website more accessible. Once clicked, you can also hover over any words, and it will read them aloud to you.

How do I turn Recite Me off?

To close the Recite toolbar, click on the icon marked "Close" to the right of the Toolbar.

Need further assistance with Recite Me?

You can find out more about how Recite Me works from the Recite Me user guide[32] or by watching the video[33] at the bottom of this page on our website.

Page last reviewed: 01 April 2024


How do I claim my out of pocket expenses?

Please visit concur.co.uk/rvs[34]

Here you will find Frequently asked Questions, a Quick Start Guide, many How-to videos and the Expenses Policy or email [email protected][35] with any queries you may have.

Can I claim expenses?

You can claim expenses. Each scheduled task you attend will generate a specific case number/task ID. This will be uploaded to the expense system the following day after attending in order for you to claim. For more information on what you can claim, visit concur.co.uk/rvs[34]

Where can I find my case number/task ID to claim?

The case number/task ID will automatically upload to the expenses system once you have completed your shift and will show in the drop down menu when you start a new claim. You can find the case number/task ID in GoodSAM app by going into the reports section.

I can’t access my Concur volunteer expenses account because of Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)?

SAP concur have introduced MFA as an extra layer of security to ensure enhanced protection to protect your personal details. All users will need to use MFA.

Download Multi Factor Authentification Guide[36] (PDF, 454KB)

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

Uniform and ID

I am worried about cross-contamination when using my phone to show ID, shall I make my own ID badge?

Please do not create your own ID. Present your ID on your phone via the GoodSAM app.

I would like to create my own T-shirt/uniform is this ok?

Please do not create a uniform, this is a non-uniform support programme.

This is to ensure there is clarity for those we are supporting about how to ID check their volunteer and to prevent the risk of people who are not volunteers creating replica uniforms that could potentially be used for negative purposes.

It is therefore vital that our Volunteer Responders do not create their own uniforms and instead use their profile as identification within the GoodSAM app.  

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

Lone working

Why has a lone volunteering button appeared on the GoodSAM App?

Some volunteers may start to see a new button in the app called ‘Lone working’. Lone working is an app function we have introduced for our new Connect pilot activity. Some volunteers may not be able to see ‘lone working’, because they haven’t yet updated their app. 

I can't see the lone working button on my GoodSAM app?

Some volunteers may not be able to see ‘lone working’, because they haven’t updated their app.  Some people will have auto-update enabled so they won’t need to do this, others may need to do it manually. 

Why am I being asked to check in/out of my volunteering?

The Connect activity is the first in Volunteer Responders to ‘cross the threshold’ of a person’s home. We want to ensure that both you and the person being supported are kept safe and that you have a mechanism to tell us you have arrived and also left and completed the lone working activity. 

How is my data used in the lone working system?

If you’d like to know more please read our privacy statement[5] on the website.

I have accepted a task but on speaking to the person I need to change the date and/or time of the task

Please ring our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[2] and they will take the details so the task can be amended.

I need to add more time to the appointment

Go into the app and select the Me tab, under the lone working section there is a plus sign at the side, select this and add how much more time is required (in 15 minute intervals).

I need to add more time but I don’t have my phone on me

You will need to leave the person you supporting to get your phone and end the lone working function. Then contact our Support Team on 0808 196 3382[29] so we can change the time and date of the visit.  

I’m at the person's home address and can’t remember how to start lone working

Go into the app select the Me tab, under lone working, toggle to on, answer the duration question (how long you expect to be there) add a reason for the visit i.e. Home visit, then press ‘Start’. You will either see the toggle change to “On” or “Red” dependent if using Android or Apple.  

I’m at the person's home address and can’t remember how to end lone working

Go into the app select the Me tab, under lone working section, slide toggle to off and confirm.

Page last reviewed: 01 April 2024


  • [1] /guides/the-goodsam-app
  • [2] tel:08081963382
  • [3] tel:01615373970
  • [4] mailto:[email protected]
  • [5] /privacy-information/privacy-notice-for-volunteers
  • [6] https://www.goodsamapp.org/
  • [7] https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service
  • [8] https://reedscreening.com/
  • [9] /im-a-volunteer/volunteer-activities
  • [10] /im-a-volunteer/watch-getting-started-with-the-goodsam-app
  • [11] tel:%2008081963382
  • [12] https://www.goodsamapp.org/login
  • [13] /guides/the-goodsam-app/driver-status-and-declaration
  • [14] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/covid-19/treatments-for-covid-19/
  • [15] /guides/key-points-for-volunteer-responders
  • [16] /guides/steward-volunteer
  • [17] mailto:[email protected]
  • [18] /guides/the-goodsam-app/how-to-download-and-enable-settings
  • [19] https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/goodsam-responder/id815154202
  • [20] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goodsam.responder&gl=GB
  • [21] te:08081963382
  • [22] https://nhscarevolunteerresponders.org/the-goodsam-app
  • [23] https://nhscarevolunteerresponders.org/steward-volunteer
  • [24] https://supportcentre.natwest.com/Banking-from-home/How-to-use-the-Mobile-App/Get-Cash/913209212/What-is-Get-Cash-and-how-do-I-use-it.htm
  • [25] /guides/community-response-volunteer/payment-options-shopping
  • [26] /guides/the-goodsam-app/lone-working-whilst-volunteering
  • [27] http://www.concur.co.uk/rvs
  • [28] /guides/key-points-for-volunteer-responders/our-volunteering-agreement
  • [29] Tel:08081963382
  • [30] /i-want-to-volunteer
  • [31] https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/motor-insurance/volunteer-drivers/
  • [32] https://reciteme.com/news/digital-accessibility/
  • [33] /accessibility
  • [34] https://www.concur.co.uk/rvs
  • [35] mailto:[email protected]
  • [36] /media/d3tphafc/multifactorauthentification.pdf