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Date updated: 2/02/2024


London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) attracts over 40,000 users and distance enquiries from all round the world, and many more use our online resources. Our users have a wide range of interests, but a commitment to education and learning runs through all that we do. Volunteering is an excellent way to learn more about London; its fascinating history and diverse communities. Volunteers will be able to develop their own skills and help to support essential services for everyone interested in the history of London and the way London has been depicted through the ages.

LMA is part of the City of London Corporation and welcomes public participation in its work.

A volunteer is anyone who, without compensation, or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of volunteer duties, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of LMA. 

This Policy is applicable to volunteers only, and not to interns, people on work experience or Apprentices.

A distinction is drawn between the role of the volunteer and that of the intern. The internship is a time-limited work placement that allows a person to gain on-the-job experience as though they are a member of staff. An intern’s placement may be framed by the requirements of a course of study or by other factors such as pre-application for a course of study.

A distinction is drawn between the role of the volunteer and a young person coming to LMA for work experience - a short period of unpaid work experience of no more than three weeks.

An Apprentice is someone working towards a qualification on a national Apprenticeship Standard; LMA as part of the City of London Corporation regularly hosts Apprenticeship placements.

Volunteers may also from time to time work under the aegis of a voluntary organisation, or group, eg:

A Place in the Sun is a project made up of a group of volunteers with one representative who liaises with LMA on the running of the project. In these cases, arrangements for the voluntary work and volunteers would be made between the relevant section of LMA and the volunteering organisation or group rather than between LMA and the individual volunteer. LMA and the volunteering organisation or group will make appropriate arrangements for the management of the volunteer project(s), usually by exchange of letters.

LMA welcomes public participation in its work and recruits volunteers from the diverse communities in London and further afield, regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, religious/political belief or disability.

The relationship between volunteers and LMA does not create a legally binding contract. LMA accepts volunteers on the understanding that their services are received at its sole discretion, and that any volunteer’s relationship with LMA or any of its component sections may be terminated by either side for any reason.

LMA recognises that volunteers are not substitutes for paid staff, who remain the backbone of service provision.

Volunteers work under the direction of LMA staff, and do not have the authority to represent the City of London, or any of its component sections, or make any sort of commitment on behalf of these elements of the organisation. Letters and other communications written by volunteers must be authorised by an appropriate member of London Metropolitan Archives staff.

Volunteers aged below 18 years must have the prior written consent of their parents or guardians (a volunteer of this age would probably be a person on work experience). 

Volunteers are people who have an active interest in the work of LMA and wish to support and promote our activities and services. Volunteers may include people who are planning to study, or have studied, and wish to acquire some additional work experience for one of the professions closely associated with LMA such as conservation. 

In offering their services LMA asks that volunteers agree to:

  1. Subscribe to the aims and vision of LMA
  2. Accept the organisation’s values and standards 
  3. Declare any conflict of interest which may arise 
  4. Undergo any health screening or assessments necessary to assess their suitability to undertake particular activities.
  5. Submit to criminal record checks when appropriate - this is not necessary for the majority of LMA volunteers (and additional checks if tasks involving children or other vulnerable visitor groups are to be undertaken)
  6. Attend any support, training or supervision sessions relevant to the work to be undertaken, their personal development or to meet health and safety requirements
  7. Accept a probationary period and subsequent monitoring and evaluation (this may not be the case for volunteers who come under the aegis of a voluntary organisation / group)
  8. Sign a Volunteers Agreement (this may not be the case for volunteers who come under the aegis of a voluntary organisation / group)
  9. Work as team members with other staff and volunteers under the supervision of a designated member of paid staff
  10. Commit to the time and energy required to carry out the tasks which have been assigned to them
  11. Dress appropriately and wear a photo pass/badge provided by LMA (with 'Volunteer' or the name of the project on it) 
  12. Be courteous and helpful to visitors, other volunteers and City of London staff
  13. Follow notified guidelines and procedures
  14. Maintain confidentiality of all proprietary or privileged information about the City of London, LMA or any of its component sections, to which they may have access
  15. Assign all copyright in work they produce or create on behalf of LMA to the City of London.

In return volunteers may expect from LMA:  

  1. The opportunity to undertake meaningful and enjoyable work of value to LMA and its users/visitors 
  2. Tasks that match the needs of the Archive with the skills, knowledge, experience, background and interests of the volunteers
  3. Assignment descriptions, clearly outlining a complete and current description of the duties and responsibilities and a specific time frame
  4. Appropriate and safe working conditions
  5. Appropriate supervision and tools
  6. Appropriate training, including:
    1. induction to the place of work
    2.specific job related training
  7. Personal development through training and guidance
  8. Reimbursement of limited travel expenses (see Appendix Two)
  9. Reimbursement of previously authorised expenses in carrying out assigned tasks
  10. One to one progress meetings after an agreed probationary period and thereafter, to monitor and evaluate work undertaken and set targets and priorities and time frames for future work (this may not be the case for volunteers who come under the aegis of a voluntary organisation / group)
  11.  Invitations to events and celebrations led by the LMA as appropriate, for example an annual Volunteers Day.  

Volunteers will be assigned to projects led by project supervisors who have received training in volunteer management and evaluation, who will be responsible for ensuring that:

  1. The rights of both permanent staff and volunteers are respected 
  2. The responsibilities of LMA and of volunteers are recognised and carried out
  3. Any reimbursement of reasonable expenses to volunteers is carried out upon submission of properly authenticated claims (see Appendix Two)
  4. Communication on all issues including sickness, leave of absence and any complaints from either side is dealt with
  5. In the case of a volunteering organisation or group managing volunteers, then project leaders are appointed at their discretion in liaison with LMA

The City of London will indemnify volunteers and hold them free from civil liability to any person as the result of personal injury, loss or damage arising from the execution of tasks assigned to them on its premises on the same basis as a paid member of staff.

Please contact the LMA Enquiry team to request a volunteers agreement form.

It is expected that volunteers will make full use of any travel concessions they may have for use on public transport (such as Freedom Passes) or use Oyster cards and travel cards as far as possible. 

It is unlikely that LMA will be able to pay expenses for people living outside greater London where there are opportunities for them to volunteer in local archive services if funding is a problem.

Beyond this, LMA is able to pay travelling expenses within a capped limit for journeys to and from home and LMA, and if necessary to another location if the volunteer is volunteering off-site.

Volunteers should note: 

  1. It would be expected that if expenses are paid, a volunteer would volunteer for at least four hours a day. Exceptions to this would be arranged only by prior agreement
  2. Volunteers are asked to make their claims promptly, within a month of the date of travel as a general rule. Claims can be made on a monthly basis for the past month

Expenses must: 

  1. Be supported by receipts or copies of tickets or original tickets.  Print outs from Oyster accounts with relevant journeys highlighted will be required 
  2. Be made within one month of expenditure
  3. Be made by petty cash requests or for volunteers who started before 2015 via payment into a bank account or equivalent by the BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services for processing financial transactions electronically) system. Volunteers will need to supply details which will be passed confidentially to the City of London Pay Office
  4. Other expenses may be made where applicable, but only by prior arrangement with LMA staff.


Please complete a comment form or contact us if you wish to give feedback on this policy.

This policy will be reviewed at least every two years to make sure it remains timely and relevant.

The policy was last reviewed in January 2022.