U – W

Ultra Vires If an organisation provides a service or takes a decision which is not specifically permitted within its constitution/standing orders etc it would be acting beyond its powers (ultra vires) and therefore possibly unlawfully
Umbrella Organisations Can refer either to membership bodies or federations, or more loosely to infrastructure bodies.
Unfair Dismissal Where an employee is dismissed from his/her employment unfairly. Employees with more than one year’s service are entitled to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal if he or she is dismissed in circumstances where:

  • There was not a fair reason;
  • Dismissal was not within the range of reasonable responses open to a reasonable employer in the circumstances;
  • A fair procedure was not followed in reaching the decision to dismiss.

There are certain exceptions to the requirement for one year’s service, when dismissal is automatically unfair. These include an employee being dismissed because he or she:

  • Is a trade union member or takes part in such activities;
  • Is not a trade union member;
  • Is pregnant or is taking maternity or parental leave;
  • Takes action on health or safety grounds;
  • Demands a statutory employment right;
  • Refuses in certain circumstances to work on a Sunday;
  • Acts as an employee representative, or is a candidate for such a position;
  • Is a ‘whistle-blower’;

Employees, who have been dismissed as a direct result of their gender, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or disability, may also bring a claim under the discrimination laws at any time as there is no qualifying period. The discriminatory treatment can include dismissal.

Unincorporated Association A group of members who agree to be governed by a set of rules known as the constitution. This structure is used by a very wide range of voluntary organisations. In most associations, the members elect a committee who are empowered to make decisions on the use of funds, and hence the committee members are the charity trustees. Unincorporated organisations do not have a legal personality so, in law, any agreements must be made with the trustees collectively, and there is limit on trustees’ liability.
Users The client group or service users of the organisation.
Values The set of principles that an organisation seeks to apply, both in setting its mission and aims, and in its day-to day operations.
Vice-Chairperson A person who will deputise for the Chairperson in his/her absence. He/she will usually be elected at the same time as the Chairperson and serve in the role for a specific period of time. On occasions the Chairperson might delegate some specific duties to the Vice-Chairperson.
Virement Virement is the agreed transfer of money from one budget head (income or expenditure) to another within a financial year. Most organisations have strict rules aboutwho can approve virement and the upper limit of funds that can be vired.
Virtual Volunteering Voluntary work which is not dependent on a volunteer coming to a particular place of work and which instead exploits the opportunities provided by information and communication technology. In this way, housebound or isolated people or those working unusual hours, can still volunteer.
Vision The ideal state a project or organisation wants the world to be in.  What the world will look like if the project or organisation is successful in achieving its mission and aims.
Volunteers Insurance Insurance to cover any liability arising from the acts or omissions of volunteers. Trustees are advised to regard volunteers as being employees for insurance purposes and to ensure that they are appropriately covered by the usual types of insurance, such as employers’ liability and public liability insurance.
The policies will need to be checked to see how they define the term “volunteer” for the purposes of that policy and to determine whether your volunteers are covered. Accurate records of the volunteers working for the charity should also be kept.
Voluntary Organisations Voluntary organisations are structured, non-profit driven, non-statutory, autonomous and run by individuals who do not get paid for running the organisation. Some voluntary organisations are recognised by the Inland Revenue as charities.

How do others define it?

  • Associations / Voluntary Organisations (EC);
  • voluntary and open membership
  • equal voting rights, resolutions carried by majority
  • members’ fees, no capital contributions
  • autonomy and independence
  • service providers, voluntary work, sports and advocacy/representative
  • important providers in health care, care for elderly and children and social services
Voluntary Sector The Voluntary Sector refers to charities and voluntary organisations. They may or may not use volunteer help but will have a voluntary management committee.


Whistle Blowing Policy This policy assists in identifying and dealing with malpractice in an organisation. The Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life (1996) recommended that a policy should be a clear statement that malpractice is taken seriously in the organisation and should identify the sorts of matters regarded as malpractice. The policy should include:

  • respect for the confidentiality of staff raising concerns if they wish, and the opportunity to raise concerns outside the line management structure;
  • penalties for making false and malicious allegations;
  • an indication of the proper way in which concerns may be raised outside the organisation if necessary; and

a recommendation that all staff should act responsibly to uphold the reputation of their organisation and maintain public confidence

Wicked Issues/Wicked Problem A ‘wicked issue’ has been defined as a special policy problem without an obvious or established solution and which does not sit conveniently within the responsibilities of any one organisation or body. Examples include sustainable development,

social inclusion etc.

Workforce Development The process of developing the skills and knowledge of paid staff, volunteers and trustees and board members, underpinned by good management and good employment practice.  It also includes work to attract new people to work in the sector so it can flourish and grow.