The Support Members Scheme provides immediate, free, confidential and non-judgemental support to chartered accountants in difficulty.
The service is provided by a central team and a network of unpaid volunteers throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Cyprus. The issues dealt with vary widely from personal issues, pressures to act unethically at work, or concerns about a disciplinary case. Whatever the problem, the support member’s main role is to listen and to direct the member towards available specialist sources of advice.
Support member volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and have many different areas of expertise. Our aim is to have support members representative of the different sectors our members are involved in.
Rest assured the support member role is not onerous with most support members receiving only one or two enquiries a year. The service is, however, extremely valuable to the members you support.
Most enquiries are by telephone but you should be prepared, on occasion, to meet personally with a member if that is appropriate.
The ICAEW will provide you with initial induction training and an annual conference providing updates on issues of importance as well as an opportunity to network with other support members.
In addition you will be given access to a secure online community for support member volunteers. This provides you with more details about the role, relevant ICAEW departments, information sheets and advice on handling enquiries. It also provides a facility to share information and experiences and discuss enquiries.
The information contained in the online community is supplemented by support member newsletters twice a year.
There is no charge for the training and you can reclaim any travelling expenses from the ICAEW.
In their support member role volunteers are free from the duty to report misconduct and are covered by the ICAEW’s professional indemnity insurance.
Sophie Parkhouse is one of our younger support member volunteers. She said ‘Being a support member is not onerous but rewarding. Investing a few hours of my time to listen to someone in need, and provide the practical guidance that cannot always be seen through the trees in a moment of distress is one of the most satisfying ways of giving back. I can say first hand that it leaves me with a feeling of good, giving a boost to my own wellbeing, knowing that by being at the end of the phone has meant so much to someone else!’
If you want to find out more about the scheme please visit our webpages at firstname.lastname@example.org.