An Investment Case For Volunteering
28 September 2010 at 1:50 pm
Volunteering England's submission to the Government's Spending Review 2010 says volunteering delivers significant value to a wide range of people, communities and causes, across the full range of government policy areas.
It says that for each £1 invested in volunteering there is a return of between £4 – £8 or more in direct economic value with additional returns to be evaluated in terms of preventative interventions and added values of community cohesion.
The submission warns the UK Government that expenditure on volunteering should not be seen as a soft target but recognised as a central investment which delivers higher quality public services as well as greater employability and other benefits for the volunteers themselves.
It says volunteering relies on a complex framework of resources and support from national and local government and is a necessary and sound investment for government.
The submission outlines an extensive list of recommendations including
- Local authorities should be required to publish details of how they are supporting volunteering and the local voluntary sector, so as to bring transparency to the application of public funds in supporting the UK Government's "Big Society".
- In reducing funding streams to local authorities, ministers should exercise leadership in emphasising that volunteering and the voluntary sector should not be seen as a ‘soft target’. Instead, the added value and preventative work of the sector should be recognised across government as an investment.
- Funding allocations must recognise the value of volunteering infrastructure organisations in developing appropriate volunteering opportunities, brokering volunteers, supporting volunteer-involving organisations and promoting volunteering. Government departments should analyse and value the contribution of volunteering as a central and cross-cutting element in their service provision, not an optional extra.
- Government departments and agencies which directly support volunteers should maintain investment in effective volunteer management and support.
- The government’s commitment to increasing volunteering levels among public sector officials should fully implemented, to realise the aspiration set out in the Coalition Agreement that the civil service should become a ‘civic service’.
- Where government departments seek support from voluntary sector bodies in the running of employer-supported volunteering schemes, adequate funding should be put forward.