Beginning in 2009, the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), which is now part of the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), implemented a Volunteer Risk and Program Management (VRPM) project aiming to: 1) decrease and manage risks related to volunteer involvement in SMPs and 2) increase the management and coordination of volunteer efforts. The hope was that, ultimately, VRPM will help make SMPs safer for both volunteers and beneficiaries and that liability exposure will decrease among SMP agencies. The project was guided by a steering committee consisting of members from various levels of the SMP network, including ACL staff and consultants, SMPs, and the SMP Resource Center. Materials developed by the project were reviewed by a field review team made up of SMP stakeholder committee volunteers.

Project objectives included:

1. Identify, evaluate, and prioritize risks related to volunteer involvement in SMPs.

  • For a chart of SMP volunteer program risks identified through this period, click here.

2. Create a risk management plan for the most pressing identified risks.

  • For the results of surveys conducted with SMPs and used to inform the development of the plan, click here.
3. Develop risk management-oriented policies, procedures, standards and guidelines, and associated resources and training around the involvement of volunteers in SMPs.
  • For the project Vision Guide, published in 2011, click here.
  • As part of the VRPM project, ACL has comprehensive VRPM policies for SMPs that provide guidance and direction to staff and volunteers and are designed to enhance the quality, effectiveness, and safety of SMP services. The policies were implemented by the SMP projects in three stages between 2013 and 2014. In September 2016, ACL updated the policies to revise and streamline them for use by both SMPs and SHIPs (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs). ACL’s VRPM policies are available to the SMP network in the SMP Resource Library and are available to the SHIP network in the SHIP Resource Library at www.shiptacenter.org.

4. Develop additional best practices and associated resources and training in volunteer program management.


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