Volunteering round-up: July 2017

New civil society minister

Tracey Crouch MP was announced as the new minister for civil society, alongside her previous role as sports minister.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, quickly welcomed her to the role, however he urged caution over the size of a new portfolio covering both civil society and sport. He said: ‘we hope that the civil society portfolio will receive its rightful level of attention and profile, given its economic and social importance.’

We look forward to working with Tracey and NCVO members to champion charities and volunteering.

Lords select committee

A new ad-hoc Lords committee on civic engagement and citizenship has been set up.

The committee has some highly experienced members, including chairperson Lord Hodgson, well-known for reviewing the Lobbying Act. Baroness Pitkeathley also sits on the committee and led the committee on charities earlier this year.

The final scope of this review has not been confirmed, but given this level of expertise of charities and volunteering, we hope the committee will consider volunteering as a hugely valuable form of citizenship and engagement. We will remind them of this when engaging with the committee and responding to calls for evidence.

NCVO’s Chris Walker has guidance on how to engage with ad-hoc committees and we will keep members updated on the committee’s progress.

Do-It changes hands

The running of digital volunteering platform Do-It has been transferred to a new organisation, Vivo Life.

Do-It was first launched in 2001 and has been run by the Do-It Trust since 2014. It has received significant government investment and is used by many volunteer centres, charities and volunteers.

The exact status and mission of this new organisation is still to be finalised, but NCVO have been in touch and continue to make clear that the new platform needs to provide a service to benefit the public and support volunteering in its many forms. We will keep members updated as this develops.

Volunteering and the general election – what can we learn?

In my blog I explored how volunteers were mobilised to support parties at the general election.

At a time when charities are thinking how to make volunteering more flexible, the use of highly flexible opportunities, technology and compelling messaging by political parties may give charities some ideas of how to adapt their own volunteer opportunities.

Charities, volunteering and health

Faith Action have brilliantly outlined the importance of the voluntary sector in health and social care as part of their work with the VCSE Health and Wellbeing alliance. NCVO are pleased to be a fellow member of the alliance, along with other fantastic organisations.

The aim of the alliance is to support the transformation of health and care systems to address health inequalities and help communities to achieve and maintain wellbeing. We bring particular expertise around volunteering in health and care.

The VCSE Health and Wellbeing alliance will be attending the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo, 11-12 September.

Voluntary organisations supporting offenders and their families

Clinks, in partnership with NCVO, have released their annual State of the Sector report. Read the full report, with accompanying information and blogs here.

This report examines the key trends for voluntary sector organisations working with offenders and their families. It highlights the difficulties organisations face in volunteer recruitment, but also the hugely important role of volunteers in delivering essential services.

Safer volunteering in migrant camps

We have been working in partnership with the Home Office and Kindred Agency to develop a series of information sheets and video clips for organisations sending volunteers to refugee and migrant camps in Europe. We are promoting good practice and relevant resources on volunteer recruitment and how to volunteer safely.

We wish to thank the charities and NGOs that have helped to inform and shape content and key messages. We will be launching a social media campaign in August, so follow us on @ncvovolunteers to keep informed.

Volunteering and the Law: Updated member-only resource!

NCVO is finalising an update the publication Volunteering and the Law, 2006. Bates Wells Braithwaite have carried out a legal review and we wish to thank them for their support. The new version will be a member-only online resource and we are aiming to go live in September.

If you are not a NCVO member, why not join NCVO? Membership for organisations with an income of less than £30,000 is free.

A new social degree?

What do you think of an undergraduate degree designed and dedicated specifically for social change?

This is what has been proposed by Scouts Association CEO (and NCVO Trustee) Matt Hyde. Working with a number of charities and universities, they are proposing a degree apprenticeship which offers a career pathway into the charity sector for socially-minded young people.

Details are limited but this is a really interesting prospect. Keep your eyes out for future updates.

Upcoming training and events

Trustee Conference 2017: Good governance in action

Join 400 colleagues from across the sector at the leading annual event for trustees on 14 November. Find out how you can ensure your organisation follows best practice on good governance to comply with tighter regulations and higher expectations.

NCVO Campaigning Conference 2017

Join us at the major campaigning event of the year to learn practical skills, share knowledge and expand your network. This conference is for campaigns, public affairs, policy and media professionals from the voluntary sector.

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Will Downs Will supports NCVO’s policy work on volunteering development. His interests include the role of volunteering in public services and removing barriers to youth volunteering. He produces the monthly volunteering round-up blog and supports Volunteers’ Week.

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