Labour Party policy consultation: NCVO response

Part of the way in which NCVO champions and strengthens volunteering and civil society is by shaping the policy environment in which voluntary organisations operate.

The Labour Party’s consultation, which closed on 15 September, sought opinions on a range of policy issues relating to the voluntary sector to inform their manifesto policy development.

It is common for the political party in opposition to seek stakeholder views in this way ahead of a General Election. Parties in government tend to do this through their day-to-day work and the formal policymaking process.  NCVO works with all major political parties to promote the interests of the voluntary sector.

Key points from NCVO’s response


We strongly support and defend charities’ right to campaign within the law. By campaigning, charities reinforce their independence, speaking out on behalf of their beneficiaries in a non-partisan way, and voicing the needs and concerns of those they work with.

NCVO encourages all parties to commit to repeal and replace the Lobbying Act. This is needed to give voluntary organisations absolute clarity on whether their campaigning activities will be regulated by the Electoral Commission. Any future government should also offer a guarantee that a charity campaigning on a policy issue in advance of its charitable purpose would not be caught in electoral regulations, provided of course it is in compliance with charity law.


High quality commissioning and procurement is the key to improving public service provision.

NCVO calls for all parties to support an extension of Commissioning Academy and training offer for procurement professionals. We want to see training focused on engaging with citizens to understand their needs and experiences of services; commission for social value; and establishing a level playing field for voluntary organisations to compete.

Living Wage

Voluntary organisations want to play their part in ensuring that employment always pays. One of the constraints for organisations is that competitive tendering for public service contracts is driving down wages, particularly in fields such as social care.

A future government should ensure that companies and voluntary organisations that wish to pay a living wage are not disadvantaged in the bidding process. Spending settlements for local government and public bodies need to reflect the costs of paying a living wage, recognising that this will reduce expenditure elsewhere on tax credits and benefits.


Volunteering can have a transformative impact on communities and individuals themselves. A future government must recognise that the strength of volunteering lies in its independence and community roots. The role of government is to support and encourage this.

Volunteer centres understand the particular needs of a local area. They are adept at unlocking the assets that already exist within a community, and supporting them to take the action they want to see happen locally, especially in areas of deprivation.

The barriers to volunteering are multi-faceted, but we know from government data that adults with disabilities are less likely to volunteer in comparison to the rest of the general adult population. We encourage all parties to commit to introducing an Access to Volunteering fund to open up volunteering opportunities for more disabled people.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more, take a look at our full response to the consultation (PDF, 150KB).

NCVO’s policy positions were developed following extensive consultation with our members through the 2015 Project. You can read more about the policies we are encouraging all political parties to adopt in A Bigger Difference: realising the potential of voluntary organisations and volunteers, NCVO’s manifesto.

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Charlotte was our senior external relations officer and public affairs consultant. She has left NCVO

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