Council on Accreditation • Copyright 2008
An individual who performs services for an organization for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services rendered. Such service must be offered freely and without pressure or coercion, direct or implied, from an employer. If the individual is otherwise employed by the same employer for which s/he volunteers, the individual cannot volunteer to perform the same type of services that s/he is paid to perform as an employee.
One or more organization-operated programs or activities that have a common general objective and deploy the organization's material and human resources in a planned and systematic manner. An organization that publicly promotes or identifies itself in writing as offering a service, is licensed to deliver a service, assigns personnel and/or space to a service, or allocates financial resources to a service is considered to offer that service.
A system of services offered by an organization. For example, an organization providing a mental health service may offer several mental health programs to different populations, e.g., a mental health program for adolescent teens. The word "program" can be used interchangeably with the word "service" or to describe specific programs.
The theoretical framework that describes and explains an organization's approach to service.
The individuals, groups, organizations, or communities that use, receive, or benefit from programs and services. Service recipients can include consumers, patients, family members, legal guardians, advocates, public/private organizations, employers, and purchasers. All are regarded as significant stakeholders served in a variety of agencies and practice settings.
A written statement of principles, values, or intent that provides a basis for consistent decision making and guides the actions of staff, management, and board of trustees. A policy is intentionally broad in its language and application. The following is an example of an anti-discrimination policy:
"[Organization Name] shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and provision of services."
In contrast, a procedure is a detailed, step-by-step description of a process. It tells the reader how to do something. Generally, policies are implemented through procedures. For example, the above anti-discrimination policy would require a detailed grievance procedure in order to operationalize it within an organization.
The governing body has the fiduciary responsibility for setting organizational policy. Therefore, policies must be approved and periodically reviewed by the organization's governing body. However, the governing body typically delegates (via policy) the responsibility for policy development to management. In owner-operated for-profit companies, the owner can act as the company's governing body, depending on the company's corporate structure.
In a public agency the responsibility for setting and reviewing policies may belong to the agency's management team, elected officials, another governmental agency, or as is often the case, a combination of the above.
PA-VM 2 - Service Philosophy
The program is guided by a philosophy that provides a logical basis for the support to be delivered to service recipients, based on program goals and the best available evidence of service effectiveness.
Agency policy prohibits corporal punishment.