A selection of pictures showing different mentoring and befriending relationships


Some of the terms and initiatives that you are likely to come across within the mentoring and befriending community are outlined below with a short explanation of each. If there are any additions you’d like us to add please contact us.


A process whereby an organisation’s activities, products or services are externally verified and certified as having met a particular standard. At an individual level, accreditation can mean recognising an individual volunteer or member of staff’s achievements or learning. 


A process of supporting and enabling people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.

Approved Provider Standard (APS)

APS is the national benchmark for organisations providing a mentoring or befriending service. It aims to provide projects with a badge of competence and safe practice in mentoring or befriending. More on APS


A user of a befriending service who requires support from a befriender.


A trained volunteer within a befriending service who is matched with a befriendee to offer them support.


Offers supportive relationships through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.


Within a mentoring or befriending relationship, boundaries are the rules or limits that the service decides are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for people involved in the service to behave around other people.


A form of mentoring or befriending where the volunteers that offer the support are called ‘buddies’ – tends to be used more in peer support settings.

Capacity building

Includes a wide range of support, techniques and initiatives that aim to build the capacity of individuals, organisations or communities e.g., developing an organisation’s internal structures and systems and also their external relationships.

Child protection

Ways in which individuals and organisations can safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. Local authorities have a specific legal duty to organise and plan services that safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Save the Children defines child protection as “measures and structures to respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children”.


Is a teaching, training or development process through which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional goal.


The process used as part of planning public services to assess the needs of people in an area, considering how best and by whom those needs can be met and then planning the provision of services.

Community cohesion

To appreciate and celebrate diversity between people in local communities, and to promote understanding and reduce hostilities.


This means that whatever information is told by a participant within a service, it will not be passed on without their permission. There are some safeguarding exceptions to this that should be covered in an organisation’s confidentiality policy.


A contractual arrangement by which a trained practitioner meets a client, in privacy and confidence, to explore distress the client may be experiencing.

Data protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 requires, among other things, that personal information is held securely and not disclosed outside of the organisation unless there are appropriate grounds or consent for doing so. More information on the Information Commissioner’s Office website

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks. More on DBS

Distance travelled

Generally refers to the progress that a mentee or befriendee makes towards desired outcomes as a result of the project. This may include differences in attitudes, perceptions or skills over time.

Equal opportunities

To ensure that there is no unjustified discrimination in the recruitment, retention, training and development of staff on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, political opinion, race/ethnicity, religion and belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, spent convictions.


Involves examining monitoring and other information collected to make judgements about what has been achieved and the difference the service has made. Evaluation can be done externally or internally. See also ‘Monitoring’. See our ‘Monitoring and evaluation in mentoring and befriending’ training course and ‘Presenting your findings’ training course

Full cost recovery

The process by which voluntary groups delivering public services ensure that the full costs of the activities are reflected in the price they expect for the contract or service level agreement.


Refers to the process by which charity management and trustees oversee and determine the -direction, finance and day-to-day running of a charity. Governance is overseen and accountable to the Charity Commission.


Sums of money given to a charity, organisation or individual, usually from somekind of grant-making body such as a charitable foundation or government department. A grant is different to a donation in that it is usually applied for along strict criteria drawn up by the grant-maker that the applicant must adhere to in order to receive the money.

Hard outcomes

Outcomes that are easily observed and counted. They are often quantitative and are generally easier to measure than soft outcomes. See also ‘Outcomes’, ‘Soft outcomes’ and ‘Intermediate outcomes’.


The change, effect or benefit that results from the services or activities on a wider society than its direct service users. It is often long term, broad and sustainable e.g., changes in law or reductions in re-offending nationally.


Precises qualitative or quantitative measures that show how well an organisation or project is performing.

Intermediate outcomes

These are steps along the way to end outcomes and are often smaller changes that need to happen before the final desired outcome can be reached.

Lone working

This is defined as “any person working without direct backup or support from a colleague”.


The process of transferring policy, good practice or activity from area-based initiatives or special programmes into the core of mainstream service provision.


The process undertaken in a mentoring or befriending service to pair a service user with a mentor so as to ensure they both get maximum benefit from the mentoring or befriending relationship.


A person who is mentored.


A person who supports a mentee through a difficult time in their life.


Mentoring is a one-to-one, non-judgemental relationship in which an individual voluntarily gives time to support and encourage another. This is typically developed at a time of transition in the mentee’s life, and lasts for a significant and sustained period of time.

Mentoring agreement

A document that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both the mentor/mentee or befriender/befriendee which can be used as the basis of an agreed understanding of the mentoring or befriending relationship that will take place.


Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.


Monitoring is the routine and systematic collection of information. See also ‘Evaluation’. See our ‘Monitoring and evaluation in mentoring and befriending’ training course

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

NOS describe competent performance in terms of outcomes. They allow a clear assessment of competence against nationally agreed standards of performance, across a range of workplace circumstances for all roles. NOS also form the basis of qualifications, most commonly National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).


Outcomes are the changes, benefits or other results that happen as a result of your activities. See also ‘Hard outcomes’, ‘Intermediate outcomes’ and ‘Soft outcomes’. See ‘Monitoring and evaluation in mentoring and befriending’ training course


Outputs are the services or products you put in place in order to achieve the desired change/outcomes.

Payment by Results (PbR)

A new form of financing that make payments contingent on the independent verification of results.

Peer mentoring

A mentoring role that involves mentors of the same age and/or who have been in a similar situation and/or come from a similar background to the mentee. These ‘peer mentors’ are individuals that the mentee can easily identify with as they have had first hand experience of similar experiences or problems.

Peer support

The natural willingness of most people, young or old, to act in a co-operative, friendly way towards one another. It is best described as “helping and supporting people when they need it so they can help themselves”. There are different types of peer support, for example peer mediation (when children and young people are trained in conflict resolution), peer education (young people are trained to pass on academic skills and knowledge to other young people) or peer listening (trained listeners are available for others to talk to if there is a problem).

Personal safety

Deals with a person’s ability to safely manage the risk of crime or conflict in their daily lives.

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)

An exercise conducted by Government departments and other funders to identify and select potential providers. Organisations successful at the PQQ stage are invited to submit tenders (ITT) for future contracts.

Public Service Agreements (PSAs)

Departmental Public Service Agreements (PSA’s) link the allocation of public expenditure to published targets with the aim of delivering modern, responsive public services. Local Public Service Agreements are a package of performance targets, easing of red tape, and financial incentives designed to help local authorities deliver measurable improvements in services.

Quality assurance

A focus on the operation and structure of the mentoring or befriending programme and the assessment of internal procedures and systems to identify strengths and weaknesses and make changes that lead to improvements. See also ‘Approved Provider Standard (APS)’. More on APS

Restricted funds

Restricted funds are those donated to a charity that are subject to specific requirements which may be declared by the donor(s), for example to a cancer charity for breast cancer research. Or they might be restricted by the charity, for example, for a specific appeal.

Risk management

Identifying all the potential hazards involved in service delivery, assessing the risk of these and then implementing practice that is designed to safeguard all stakeholders. See also ‘Safeguarding’.


Protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. See also ‘Risk management’.  See our ‘Safeguarding and risk management’ training courses

Service user

Describes the people that you work with, sometimes also called mentees, befriendees, clients or beneficiaries.

Social exclusion

This term is used to describe people or areas that suffer from a combination of factors that include unemployment, high crime, low incomes and poor housing.

Social Return on Investment (SROI)

A conceptual framework for capturing social and environmental benefits of projects and programmes.

Soft outcomes

Outcomes which are typically defined as intangible and more difficult to measure. They are commonly used for changes in attitudes and self-perception. See also ‘Outcomes’, ‘Hard outcomes’ and ‘Intermediate outcomes’.

Solution focused

The solution focused approach is a therapeutic approach to solving problems. It does not concentrate on what caused the problem, but on what the person would like to replace it, and what they are already doing that helps achieve this.


The people who have an interest in the activities of an organisation. This includes staff, volunteers, service users and their carers, trustees, funders, purchasers, donors, supporters and members.


Management by overseeing the performance or operation of a person or group. Usually provided as part of an overalll support package offered to people who volunteer as mentors or befrienders. See ‘Support, supervision and retention of mentors and befrienders’ training course


Refers to moves by charities to move beyond short-term funding for their activities, to more durable and dependable funding so that work is adequately supported and expansion is possible where necessary. Strategies include selling products or services such as publications or consultancy.

Vulnerable people

Includes anyone under the age of 18 and anyone who can be described as having a substantial learning or physical disability; a physical or mental illness, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; a substantial reduction in physical or mental capacity.


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M&B APS Standard
Tel: 020 7520 2442 
Email: infomandb@ncvo.org.uk

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Tel: 020 7520 2587
Email: training@ncvo.org.uk

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