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CIEH Volunteer Guidance


I would like to welcome you as a new recruit to our regional and specialist network. As a volunteer we value the fact that you have chosen to give your time and hard work to contributing to the current and future development of environmental health. The CIEH see members as being at the heart of our organisation and therefore the role that you will be playing helping to communicate with and support our members is also seen as a significant part of our organisation.

If we have not already met, I look forward to meeting you at some point during one of our regular meetings at Chadwick Court, or maybe at a future meeting in your own area.

In the meantime, thanks again for volunteering - I hope it is a pleasant and rewarding experience.

Graham Jukes
Chief Executive

How to use this Welcome Guide 

The CIEH values all of our volunteers and we are committed to ensuring that the volunteer experience is as enjoyable, worthwhile and productive as possible. As a volunteer you may be a member of a management board or committee, a specific post holder such as Chairperson, Secretary or Treasurer or you may help out at events or support students for instance. All of these are vital volunteering roles. Being a volunteer can be challenging and frustrating at times- some may say it comes with the job! We do recognise that there may be times when you experience difficulties but we will do our best to minimise the frustration and, by working with you, find effective solutions.

This guide aims to provide you with a confident start in understanding the CIEH professional network and how to work within it. Although it is primarily designed for new volunteers, there is useful information here for those of you who have been involved with CIEH for a while.

The information available here is just a starting point to help you head in the right direction. Further information is available on the regional resources page

If you prefer to speak to someone in person the contact lists highlights those key officers at HQ who will be able to help you.

We are always prepared to listen to your ideas on ways we can improve the way we work and support you. The HQ contact list points you in the direction if you have a specific query but if in doubt please contact Regional Support on regionsig@cieh.org.

Being a Volunteer – hints and tips 

This may be the first time you have been a volunteer so you may find the following general hints and tips of use:

  • Be a clear as possible about what is expected of you before you take on the role
  • Don’t take on too much- it is easy to think you have more time than you actually have
  • Don’t struggle with things by yourself - there is always someone who can help you
  • Don’t leave things until it is too late - if you can’t do something find someone who can!
  • Keep realistic deadlines
  • Make sure you consider your “work/ life” balance.
  • Keep good records and document decisions - it makes life easier for handing the work on to your successor - Volunteering is not necessarily a role for life: plan who will take over from you!
  • Don’t be afraid of getting personal benefit from the role - it is what adds to making volunteering worthwhile!
  • Above all ENJOY the experience!

What are the benefits to you of Volunteering? 

Volunteering should be an enjoyable experience and there are other benefits too...

  • Meet new people
  • Contribute to and influence your professional body
  • Become well connected within the profession
  • Good way of keeping close to what is going on and being a part of it
  • Opens up new job opportunities
  • Develops skills and expertise
  • Expands knowledge base outside of your specialism or work area
  • Adds to your CV
  • Provides opportunities to “put back into the profession” and help others
  • Volunteering is at the heart of a sustainable profession

Who are our volunteers? 

The commonest volunteering roles in the regional network are:

  • Chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Board or Committee member – either elected, or co-opted

Other volunteering roles may include CPD co-ordination, Web person, Sector representative (retired, commercial, local authority, student etc.)

How do volunteers get appointed? 

Most volunteers are appointed by self nomination or through some kind of election process – this may be different in different regions etc. Region, Branch and SIG secretaries will have the details. As far as possible becoming a volunteer should be straightforward and informal. One role of a volunteer is to encourage others to get involved as well, so if you found the process inflexible, or not welcoming, you now have a chance to change it!

What is the Professional network? 

The CIEH professional network is made up of regions, branches and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The organogram shows how these groups are linked to CIEH HQ.

What is the difference between a branch and a region? 

There are 12 regions which are the same as the government regions for convenience. Each region has an opportunity to be represented on the Assembly of Representatives. Branches are sub divisions within the region and reflect local need. Some branches may have organised committees others are more informal. Regions receive an annual funding allocation from CIEH. Branches receive their funding from their Region. All members are allocated to a region which they can change if they wish. To find out more about each region you can view the relevant web page on the CIEH website. The regions are:

What are Specialist Interest Groups (SIGs)? 

These are national groups that represent a specialist aspect or interest within environmental health. These groups are optional and members may choose to join one or more (first choice is free). The SIGs are funded directly from CIEH.

There are currently four SIGs:

  • Commercial and Independent
  • Port Health
  • International
  • Education and Research

Further information can be obtained from the CIEH website.

Roles and Responsibilities 

The main function of the region is stated within the Region and SIG operational procedures 2011.

  • To meet the needs of the members within its area, for example:
  • To provide opportunities to meet members’ needs on a local/regional level.
  • To provide networking opportunities for members.
  • To provide opportunities to share best practice.
  • To provide opportunities for members to contribute to the governance of the CIEH and to the development of CIEH policies.
  • To provide a conduit for information to flow from local to national level and vice versa.
  • To provide opportunities for members to access CPD activities and keep up to date with developments in technology and environmental health practice.

The function of the branches, region and SIGs will be directly linked to helping the CIEH achieve the charity mission and the CIEH strategic vision and aims:

Role of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer 

The establishment of a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer is required for Regions and SIGs, along with a Management Board composed of CIEH members. The roles discussed here are the voluntary or honorary roles undertaken by members.

The following are critical functions for these roles:


Critical functions:

  • Leadership for the region/SIG
  • Chairing Management Board and other relevant meetings including Members Forum
  • Representing region/SIG at national meetings (currently 2 per year)
  • Leading the direction of the business plan and working with the Treasurer and Secretary to keep on track and within budget


Critical functions:

  • Organising and supporting board meetings including agenda, minutes and action plans
  • Preparing the annual report and business plan
  • Organising CPD and events programme
  • Issuing consultation documents and collating responses
  • Liaison and communication with HQ, regional/SIG management Board and members
  • Representing the region/SIG at national meetings (currently 2 per year)
  • Ensuring the region/SIG website content is up to date
  • Continuity of constitution
  • Key point of contact for members

NB as these can be substantial responsibilities many secretaries seek the assistance of volunteers to do:

  • Minutes and organise board meetings
  • Organise CPD events
  • Communications including website

In some Regions and SIGs these functions are delivered by a paid contractor (see below) but the Secretary is still responsible for overseeing the function

Treasurer or financial manager

Critical role:

  • Maintaining income and expenditure records
  • Dealing with invoices, expenses claims, petty cash transactions
  • Producing regular statements of income and expenditure (balance sheets) and including forward financial plan
  • Producing an annual end of year financial report
  • Arranging checking of the end of year accounts and submission of the verified accounts
  • Completion (jointly with the Secretary) of the annual report, which secures funding
  • Attending meetings as required (currently one per year)
  • Liaison with HQ Finance and Branches where appropriate

The operational procedures identifies roles and responsibilities and provides template role descriptions can be found on the regional resources page of the CIEH website. The role of contractors is also discussed within this document.

Key resources for these roles are:

Network Meetings 

The regions, branches and SIGs have the opportunity to meet together through a series of meetings:

  • Chair and Secretaries: meet twice yearly
  • Treasurers: Meets once a year
  • Annual Assembly - Annual meeting is a chance for only members to join colleagues to discuss current issues.

Copies of the up to date notes from these meetings and other supporting documents can be found on the regional resources page on the CIEH website or on the CIEH 'About us' page on the main website.

Online forum on MyCIEH 

An online forum for Regions, SIGs and Branches is available at MyCIEH.

We hope that you will find this a useful facility and would welcome your thoughts.

The forum is available here: www.cieh.org/MyCIEH/Secure/forums.aspx?g=topics&f=66986 

As you will see, the initial plan is for each Region or SIG to have its own discussion thread where news, announcements and discussions can be posted by Management Board officers and members.

The forum is another way for you to communicate with members and keep them up to date with your activities. You can add content yourselves, whenever you like, without any need to contact CIEH staff.

We plan to add links to the forum from your Regional/SIG webpages over the next few weeks.

If the forum is successful then we hope to be able to expand its capabilities when MyCIEH is developed in the future.

If you have any questions about using MyCIEH, please contact the membership section (membership@cieh.org or 020 7928 6006).

Code of Conduct 

All volunteers need to be clear on their responsibilities not only as members but in their role within the CIEH network. You need to make sure you have read and understood:

We expect all volunteers to demonstrate the core values and work towards achieving the mission and strategic objectives of the CIEH in all actions and activities.

Data Protection 

As a volunteer you may have access to information about members – this information as you would expect is strictly controlled – if your role includes communicating with members please see the Regional Data Protection Policy , guidance and factsheet on data protection for further advice. Link:

Getting started – hits and tips 

As a volunteer there may not have been time for the previous post holder to go through what you need to do and where to find information and support. This guide aims to help make that process easier for you

  • Arranging a time to meet up with other volunteers who have a specific role and ask them to update you on current issues
  • Make sure you have key documents to hand such as the business plan, financial plan, management board contacts, notes of the last meeting
  • Find out and add to your diary the meeting dates for the year
  • Add the key calendar dates to your diary to help you plan ahead
  • You can always contact HQ for more help and advice

Representing members - hints and tips 

As a volunteer your role may call upon you to represent the views of the membership in your area or specialism or the views of your management board or working group.

Here are some hints and tips on consulting members:

  • If you are representing small groups you can ask for views directly in meetings for instance.
  • Always check out your understanding of views and perceptions – it is easy to make assumptions
  • Make sure you feel comfortable with the views you are being expected to represent

If you are being asked to represent larger numbers of members:

  • Check that you have enough time to consult as deadlines can be restrictive
  • Questionnaires are easy to set up and the CIEH has available online surveys for you to use with HQ help
  • Focus groups and consultation groups can provide a useful discussion opportunity to help explore issues and ideas (any costs will need to be sanctioned by the Management Board/Committee)
  • If you have limited response to consultations try not to be dispirited- all contributions are useful. When members see that you value their views they will be more likely to contribute
  • Make sure you are inclusive and have offered the opportunity to all sectors of membership where appropriate
  • You may want a targeted approach - HQ can help you segment or target information within your region
  • Set up a forum on MyCIEH
  • Always feedback your response- you can use the members newsletter, website and MyCIEH
  • See the fact sheet on communication which has other ideas of keeping members informed and involved ( This can be found on the Regional Resources Page)

Procedures and protocols 

The regions and SIGs resources page provides a one stop point for all guidance, policies and information that you will need. This can be accessed here

These documents are designed to be in electronic form and can be downloaded. They are designed to be stand alone resources that you can quickly read through and apply.

If at any time you are not clear on the guidance provided please contact us – we will be happy to help.

Our aim is to keep all the documents relevant and useful. We rely on you letting us know how the information and guidance can be improved. Let us know your suggestions! We are committed to the continuing development of the system and to improve the volunteer experience.

CIEH Governance and role of regions 

The CIEH governance structures are designed to enhance the engagement and empowerment of members at all levels within the professional network. The role of the regions, branches and SIGs are critical to CIEH governance and members can feed into the CIEH professional decision making through their Assembly Representative.

What is Chadwick Court? 

Chadwick Court is the headquarters of the CIEH and is in central London. It is home to the Chief Executive’s office and Executive Management Team and approximately 100 CIEH employees working across the organisation in the professional services (education, membership, accreditation, strategic projects and policy), commercial services (commercial, training products/services, consulting, international development), shared services (marketing and communications, IT, events, finance, HR).

Chadwick Court also houses the Library and information service for members and the Council Chamber where the elected Trustees meet during the year. These rooms are also available to hire for members at low cost. Information on booking the rooms is available on the regional resources page. The library and information service is also accessible to members who cannot get into London, by speaking with the information officer (see contact pages).

15Hatfields is our leading sustainable commercial events venue and information on what there is to offer can be found on: www.15hatfields.com  

If you would like to visit CIEH Headquarters, we would be proud to show you around and you will be able to meet colleagues who are there to support you. Please contact Regional Support we will do our best to accommodate you.

CIEH Mission and goals 

Vision: Leading, inspiring and delivering a safe, clean and healthy world

Mission: To promote effective environmental health practice.

Strategic Goals:

  • Set and maintain high standards in education, training and professional behaviour
  • Promote excellence in environmental health delivery and practice
  • Be the voice of the profession in the promotion of public health, sustainable development and climate change solutions 
  • Increase knowledge of environmental health practice
  • Provide products and services to support environmental health gains
  • Be an inclusive membership body

Regional and SIG Vision 

Regional vision: To further develop regions to become regional voice and hub for the CIEH providing the professional support structure dedicated to the delivery of environmental health solutions and the achievement of the charitable mission.

SIG vision: To encourage members in specialist areas to collaborate, develop their expertise, network, and inform and support the regional framework.