Press releases

DWP seeks 200 charity job swaps to increase understanding of voluntary sector

Nine government departments, including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will be involved in a work shadowing programme giving one thousand civil servants the chance to spend a day in the life of a charity employee. The DWP has doubled the number of places it is offering from 100 to 200 after the popularity of last year’s scheme, with demand particularly high among front-line staff in Jobcentre Plus branches.

Day in the Life, run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), aims to improve understanding between the government and the voluntary sector by matching civil servants with voluntary sector employees to spend up to a day in each other’s organisations.

The scheme first took place in 2009, and so far over 3,000 matches have been made. This year’s scheme will match 1,000 charity employees with civil servants to increase their understanding of each other’s day-to-day responsibilities and the wider context in which they work.

In a survey of last year’s Day in the Life participants, 88% of respondents from the voluntary sector said the initiative had increased their knowledge of how government works on a day-to-day basis, while 95% of government respondents said they wanted their department to take part again.

Karl Wilding, director of policy at NCVO, said:

‘This scheme provides a great opportunity for people to step into each other’s shoes for a day and learn about the challenges facing employees in another sector. Getting this sort of on-the-ground experience and making new contacts is really valuable especially as budgets everywhere are squeezed. We’re building on the success of previous years. This year we’ll help even more government staff gain new understanding of the voluntary sector, which I hope will encourage improved relationships and policy-making.’

Paul Adams, head of supplier management for civil service learning at DWP, said:

‘A hundred DWP colleagues participated in 'A Day in the Life' during 2013, and the evaluation data is compelling. Our people gained so much from their participation. A significant majority have since shared their learning with colleagues; equally many will keep in touch with the organisation with which they were matched. Given that our hundred opportunities where taken up within hours of being advertised, and the positive feedback from those who participated, we have decided to increase our allocation of delegates to two hundred for 2014.’

NCVO’s Day in the Life programme is free for voluntary sector staff. Employees will be matched with a civil servant working in a similar field.

Applications for the programme are open now and close on 1 August.

Ends

Notes

For more information please contact Helen Raftery, external relations, NCVO: 020 7520 2424, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Full details of the work shadow scheme, including how to apply

Departments in this year’s Day in the Life scheme

Department

Places

Cabinet Office

100

Department for Business and Innovation

100

Department for Communities and Local Government

100

Department for Education

100

Department for Energy and Climate Change

100

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

100

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

200

Home Office

100

Ministry of Justice

100

NCVO comment on Human Dignity Trust ruling in the Charity Tribunal

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:

'It was inevitable that recognising the promotion of human rights as a charitable purpose would lead us into some new territory. I believe the tribunal has made the right decision in this case. Charities have long done much to protect the most vulnerable around the world, in many different ways. Seeking to uphold the rights of those who are being persecuted strikes me as clearly within the realms of what the public might expect a charity to do.'

NCVO comment on NAO report on government grants

Responding to the NAO report on government grants published today, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations noted that:

  • Grants to charities are a tiny proportion of the total grant funding the NAO report examines. The NAO report covers £292bn of government grants, of which £61bn goes to recipients outside the public sector. NCVO’s analysis shows UK charities received £2.56bn in government grant income in 2011/12.
  • There are clear advantages to grant funding – grants to voluntary organisations are a simple and efficient way for government to meet its objectives - avoiding the bureaucracy and costs of contracting
  • Grants from government are a rapidly declining part of the funding mix for charities – with contracts to deliver services now significantly more common than grants.

Read more: NCVO comment on NAO report on government grants

NAO report on the Work Programme - NCVO comment

Oliver Henman, head of partnerships and international at NCVO, said:

‘The Work Programme isn’t working well for anyone. Prime contractors have had their income hit because referrals to the programme have been lower than expected. They have squeezed their subcontractors, many of which are specialist voluntary organisations, whose income is now a quarter lower than expected.

Read more: NAO report on the Work Programme - NCVO comment

NCVO comments on report by the Living Wage Commission

Commenting on the report of the Living Wage Commission Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO and member of the Living Wage Commission, said:

‘There is a clear moral, economic and business case for increasing the wages of the lowest paid.

Read more: NCVO comments on report by the Living Wage Commission

Lottery match set to open up major European funding opportunities for voluntary sector

Big Lottery Fund is in advanced talks to match over £260 million of Lottery funding with money from Europe in a move that will open up new funding opportunities for the sector, Big Lottery Fund chief executive, Dawn Austwick, told delegates today at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ conference, Evolve.

Read more: Lottery match set to open up major European funding opportunities for voluntary sector

NCVO review to consider future finances of the voluntary sector

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations today announced the launch of a major review into the future of the voluntary sector’s finances.

Read more: NCVO review to consider future finances of the voluntary sector

New report – Local commissioners should work more with arts and cultural organisations to solve social problems, but a bold new approach is needed

Local government and local health commissioners are under growing pressure to solve social problems. Arts and culture organisations can play a much more central role in helping to address these problems, according to a new report published today. The NPC-authored report, produced as part of the Cultural Commissioning Programme, argues that commissioners and cultural organisations alike must be bold in seizing this opportunity.

Read more: New report – Local commissioners should work more with arts and cultural organisations to solve...

NCVO comment on new social action, responsibility and heroism bill

Justin Davis Smith, executive director for volunteering and development at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

‘We continue to get a lot of calls from charities and individual volunteers about risk and liability. The chances of any action being taken against them are very low but there is clearly a great concern about risk. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week, anything that can be done to break down barriers to people getting involved in their communities is very welcome.

Read more: NCVO comment on new social action, responsibility and heroism bill

Thirty ambassadors chosen to mark thirtieth anniversary of Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers from across England have been selected as ambassadors for the thirtieth anniversary of Volunteers’ Week, which takes place from 1 – 7 June 2014. (Full list in notes.)

The annual event, launched in 1984, marks the contribution that millions of volunteers make to charities and other organisations. Hundreds of events will be taking place as charities, schools, hospitals and other organisations take time during Volunteers’ Week to thank their volunteers.

Read more: Thirty ambassadors chosen to mark thirtieth anniversary of Volunteers’ Week

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