Guide for referrers

Steward Volunteer support - referrer guide

NHS and care organisations who require volunteers who will support the safe movement of people around vaccination sites can use this service.

Steward Volunteers can also help to monitor numbers and identify people who need additional support. The maximum shift length is 4 hours.

Recommended route to request Steward Volunteers for all vaccination sites

This information is for: Vaccination sites, Primary Care Networks and community pharmacies.

Key principles 

Steward Volunteers are an important part of the COVID-19 vaccination workforce model, trained to help sites manage flow of people and support social distancing.

All Steward Volunteers are ID checked and appropriately trained for the activity.

NHS England and DHSC strongly recommends sites request Steward Volunteers from the national pool within the Volunteer Responder programme.

Volunteer Responders is delivered by Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app.

The benefits of using Steward Volunteers

  • Rapid availability: volunteers are on standby across England.
  • Cost saving: all volunteer expenses are paid by Royal Voluntary Service.
  • Ready to deploy: ID-checked and provided with high-vis clothing.
  • Easy to book online: can be directly booked by Primary Care Network – GP practices and Community Pharmacies.
  • Supported by Royal Voluntary Service: they have access to telephone support and a safeguarding team.

What can Steward Volunteers do?

Managing queues; greeting and directing people; monitoring numbers. The maximum shift length is 4 hours and the minimum shift length is 1 hour.

Note: Steward Volunteers do not require a DBS check, so do not operate within Education vaccine delivery settings. With supervision, Volunteer Responder stewards are able to volunteer at VCs and LVS sites which offer vaccinations to under 18s.

How to book Steward Volunteers 

Requests via GoodSAM are to be submitted with a minimum of 10 days notice to shift start time. Any shorter timeframes may result in shifts not being fulfilled.

Amendments/cancellations (change of hours, site closure e.g. Bank Holidays) are to be submitted via GoodSAM with a minimum of 2 days notice to shift start time. Anything less than this impacts volunteer experience and reduces the likelihood of volunteers attending future shifts. It is the responsibility of each site to ensure GoodSAM is kept up to date.

Steward Volunteers are requested online through the GoodSAM app. Volunteers book themselves onto shifts and the requester (referrer) can check details within their GoodSAM dashboard.

Health & Safety and supervision

Royal Voluntary Service shall ensure that COVID-19 vaccination Steward Volunteers are over the age of 18, have passed all relevant background checks agreed with NHS England and DHSC to confirm suitability for the stewarding role, understand the requirement to keep operational information and patient information confidential and have received appropriate training and onboarding.

You will ensure that you have in place appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably necessary, the Steward Volunteers’ health and safety whilst volunteering on site on your behalf.

You are also responsible for holding and maintaining appropriate insurance for COVID-19 vaccination Steward Volunteers who are operating with a COVID-19 vaccination site. You will also be responsible for verifying the identity of the volunteers on arrival on site by way of GoodSAM app photographic identification.

All volunteers must have an on-site induction

It is the vaccination site manager’s responsibility to provide the Steward Volunteers with an onsite induction. This must cover essential information about their role, health and safety and positive security behaviours. A checklist is provided below.

Checklist for managing Steward Volunteers in vaccination sites

The following is a sample site induction, which should be tailored to local site conditions and local procedure.

Arrival and induction

Stewards welcomed and thanked for giving their time in support of the vaccination programme.

Check the volunteer’s ID against the name provided when booking and that they have the correct hi-vis vest.

  • Following local registration/sign in, volunteers should be given the site-specific PPE required for their shift and a named point of contact while they are on-site.
  • The site manager should introduce themselves and all volunteers who will be on site together on the shift.
  • A site induction should be conducted which, as minimum, should include:
      • The layout and site flow of the site, including any areas which are out of bounds to the volunteers. The location of toilet facilities, hand sanitisation points, emergency exits, fire procedures and an explanation of flow through the site.
      • A clear brief on the tasks required and induction to site specific operating procedures.
      • When they will finish their shift.
      • A clear explanation of when and where refreshment/comfort breaks can be taken through the day.
      • Where volunteers can raise any concerns or questions during their shift.
      • Local site health and safety instructions.
  • Volunteers must wear official passes and hi-vis vests when on-site and return these when leaving. If using a branded hi-vis, they can store this securely themselves.
  • Volunteers should be encouraged to verify the identity of colleagues entering the site.
  • Volunteers should know how to immediately report any security concerns or suspicious activity.
  • Volunteers should not discuss vaccination centre logistics with others or on social media

Ongoing support during the day

  • A nominated member of staff should check in regularly with all volunteers to ensure that they are happy and confident with their tasks.
  • Volunteers should be given regular comfort breaks throughout the day.
  • Where possible avoid asking individual volunteers to be outside for their entire shift.
  • Ensure that volunteers wear hi-vis vests during their shifts.
  • If possible, offer volunteers some form of refreshment.

All Steward Volunteers are ID-checked and appropriately trained. Sites should ensure volunteers are able to adequately perform their role. If there are performance issues that cannot be addressed locally, you can raise this with Volunteer Responders by emailing [email protected] 


  • Bring the group of volunteers back together and thank them for their time.
  • Ask for any equipment/PPE to be returned if required.
  • Remind Steward Volunteers they can submit an expense claim for travel costs incurred through the programme expenses process (this can only be done for volunteers deployed via the agreed GoodSAM referral route).

Complete the referrer information

  • Select your Local Authority and which type of organisation you represent from the dropdown list.
Referrer type GoodSAM app screen grab

  • Select which type of support you require: You must select the correct support as this is matched to a volunteer with specific vetting for that role. IF YOU ARE UNSURE, PLEASE CALL 0808 196 3382
Vaccination steward select GoodSAM app screen grab

Site details

Enter the Site type, site name, site email address, site contact number, postcode and address.

Site details GoodSAM app screen grab

Shift details

Shift details GoodSAM app screen grab

Shift frequency GoodSAM app screen grab

The system will duplicate the first referral entered and will generate the multiple shifts based on the frequency entered.

Your details

Steward details GoodSAM app screen grab

What next?

Once you click Register Referral, your request will be live in the system. Volunteers are able to log in to GoodSAM and view available shifts in their area under the Tasks menu in the app. They can then select that they wish to attend any available shifts.

You can monitor the number of volunteers who have selected to attend in your dashboard. Please keep an eye on this as volunteers can sometimes mark that they are no longer attending. We ask them to do this with as much notice as possible.

No match is made

If your dashboard shows that a task was not matched with a volunteer, you can always log a new request for support.

If you have any problems, please contact the Volunteer Responders support team on 0808 196 3382.

What the task will look like for Steward volunteers?

This is a screenshot of the volunteers’ app. This is an example of a request which has selected the ‘Periodicity’ as ‘Daily’ and the number of days as 3. The date and time of the first shift was entered as the 19 APR 2pm – 6pm and the system has generated multiple requests for the 3 shifts required.

GoodSAM app screen grab

If the ‘Periodicity’ was ‘Weekly’ and the number of weeks was 3, the dates showing within the app would be Wednesday 19 Apr, Wednesday 26 Apr and Wednesday 3 May.

The below are examples of how the volunteer will view the additional information you have entered and the contact details.

GoodSAM app screen grab

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Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023