Volunteer Standards of ProfessionalismTaxpayer Information and Responsibilities Incident Review Protocol AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Regional Meetings 2011
What Is New?“Standards Package” • Volunteer Standards of Professionalism Standards to assist volunteers to uphold the excellent reputation of our program by formalizing expectations of professional attributes. • Taxpayer Information and Responsibilities Define and communicate expectations for Taxpayers; designed to ensure a smooth process for both taxpayers and volunteers at a site, as well as increase volunteer safety. • Incident Review Protocol Process for addressing and reporting concerns regarding taxpayers or volunteers.
Why Use Standards Package? • Formalizes a process and expectation that is already standard for program; • Provides clarity and consistency across program; • Provides tools for volunteer leaders to manage concerns or problem areas; • Enhances National Office ability to track volunteer and taxpayer’s concerns; • Allows the program to determine new trends needing attention as we assist volunteer leaders; • Helps the program remain the “best of the best”
Key Elements of Standards • Defines appropriate conversation with public • Warns that work “outside of scope” is not covered by Volunteer Protection Act • Defines expectations for Quality Review Protocol • Highlights the need to protect Personal Information of both Taxpayers and Volunteers • Reminds Volunteers of need to provide assistance as appropriate to everyone, regardless of special needs
How Will Standards Package Be Implemented? Volunteer Standards of Professionalism • Discuss at State Meetings with all Volunteers • Printed in “Happenings” (mailed to all Volunteers) • Sent by email via Cybertax in January to all Volunteers
Highlights of Standards PackagesTaxpayer Information and Responsibilities • Reminds Taxpayers that they are responsible for accuracy of return. • Gives notice that “out of scope” returns can’t be done • Sets expectations for taxpayers to provide organized, complete and accurate documentation and information • Clarifies when and how taxpayers will be served at sites • Informs taxpayer that they will be treated with respect and courtesy, and if their behavior is disruptive they will be asked to leave site
Taxpayer Information and Responsibilities • Will be Available on Extranet • Should be Available at all sites • Webinar for all DCs Nov 21,28,30 Dec 2,7,9 Jan 5 • SC/DC to determine how to distribute most effectively at each site Ideas To Consider: • Put a few copies next to Sign-in sheets and ask Taxpayers to review while waiting for counselor • Put copy on clip-board along with Client Intake Form • Post a copy at entrance to site Volunteers should provide a copy to any Taxpayer who requests one, however, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE A COPY FOR EACH TAXPAYER!
Incident Review Protocol Former: • Lack of consistent communication to supervisors and Nat. Office • Inconsistent application across country • Lack of complete documentation • No ability to define problem areas or look for training opportunities Now • Chain of communication established with clear time frames • Similar situations will be handled uniformly • Document will be created and retained • Ability to spot trends, gaps, and opportunities to improve
Protocol for Incident Review Low Level Regular Enhanced Example: Taxpayer inquiry about return error Example: Taxpayer asked to leave site due to disruptive behavior Example: Taxpayer states that he/she was sexually harassed by volunteer at site Local level review and resolution Review directed at local level by volunteer leaders, with input from supervisors/ National Office Review directed by National Office with assistance from Volunteers
AARP TAX-AIDE CONTACT INFORMATION • MARCY GOUGE – ASSISTANT NATIONAL DIRECTOR • MGOUGE@AARP.ORG (202) 434-2197 • DON SPANO – NORTH ATLANTIC REGIONAL COORDINATOR • SPANOD@MSN.COM (610) 395-9720 • ED HOGARTY – NY3 STATE COORDINATOR • EMHOGARTY@GMAIL.COM (845) 221-0203 • _____________ - YOUR DISTRICT COORDINATOR • _____________ - YOUR LOCAL COORDINATOR AARP CONFIDENTIAL