(See DO-7, § 12)
Note: This page contains Chapter 10 of Reference Manual 7 (RM-7) that accompanies Director's Order 7, Volunteers-In-Parks. Users of RM-7 are strongly encouraged to check this page for updates before utilizing previously viewed, printed, or downloaded materials.
The NPS VIP Program requires an annual report near the end of each fiscal year. In this report, volunteer program managers report a summary of all volunteer activities, hours, accomplishments, and expenditures through a formal data call. Accurate metrics about volunteer services at NPS demonstrate accountability and value to our communities, our stakeholders, and our funding sources. The data collected by the annual VIP report demonstrates the return on investment our incredible volunteer programs generate.
For consistency, volunteer managers across the NPS should count volunteer data using the following standards:
- A recurring individual volunteer is counted once in a fiscal year per unit.
- Countable hours (also referred to as “on duty” time) are the only hours for which the volunteer is covered under workers’ compensation/liability. These include:
- Time performing service or attending meetings or training at the duty station
- Time performing service or relevant training at home or off-site, as approved by the NPS
- After arriving to their duty station, “on duty” travel time within the park or to the assigned work location
- Hours that are not counted include:
- Commute time to and from the residence to the daily duty station
- Travel time to and from the duty station for an extended work period (e.g., travel from the volunteer’s home in Florida to a park in New Jersey)
- While on travel status during “off the clock” time
- Mealtimes (30 minutes per eight-hour shift)
In compliance with the Federal Records Act of 1950 (as amended under 44 U.S.C. 31, Records Management by Federal Agencies), parks and programs must maintain accurate and current volunteer program records. Volunteer program files should be established under the direction of the volunteer manager and contain all pertinent information, such as local policy, needs assessment information, service descriptions, recruiting information and strategies, and required training materials.
Separate volunteer files should be maintained and stored for each volunteer or volunteer group in the volunteer program. The files should contain the originals or copies of all forms associated with the volunteers, including:
- OF301a, service description, and job hazard analysis or job safety analysis (JHA or JSA)
- OF301b (groups), service description, and job hazard analysis or job safety analysis (JHA or JSA)
- Form 10-67 (Claim for Reimbursement for Volunteer Expenses) if the VIP claimed reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses; and
- Other pertinent documents, such as:
- Background investigation,
- Training documentation,
- Certification and licensing documentation,
- Time logs,
- Any other documents, as required.
Records in this system are subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a). The system of records notice is “INTERIOR/DOI-05, Interior Volunteer Services File System 66 FR 28536 (May 23, 2001); Modification published 86 FR 50156 (September 7, 2021).” Access to records in the system is limited to authorized personnel whose official duties require such access. Paper records must be maintained in locked metal file cabinets and/or in secured rooms.
Parks and programs should ensure there is a way for a designee to access emergency contact information for volunteers contained in the volunteer service agreement, in case the volunteer manager or supervisor is not able to do so in a timely manner. For example, a copy of emergency contacts may exist in another location accessible by others; per Records Management, this is a reference document only (i.e., a ‘non-record’).
The NPS Records Schedule, Partnerships, Item 7 (N1-79-08-6) states that volunteer records are temporary and should be destroyed three years after the volunteer service agreement has been terminated. This timeline allows for access to the volunteer’s information if the volunteer returns to the same park again or travels to other parks and seeks references, as well as to document any liability or OWCP claims made after the position has been terminated. Inactive records may be placed in a separate repository or location, such as organized by calendar year, until the disposition date.
Last updated: December 4, 2023