- Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:01
Charities have been warned against inadvertently exploiting the precarious employment situation of young people by creating poor-quality 'intern' positions.
In new guidance published today, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities, says that volunteer 'interns' can add a lot of value to charities' work. But NCVO warned charities they must ensure that volunteer roles described as 'internships' provide genuine scope for skill development. NCVO said it was concerned that some organisations have come to rely on volunteer interns to carry out tasks that do not offer them the development opportunities they were expecting.
Among a number of recommendations for charities, the guidance makes clear that volunteers must be allowed flexibility to study or work around their volunteering, and warned that stipulating 9-5, five-day-a-week hours may be incompatible with minimum wage law.
Commenting, Justin Davis Smith, director of volunteering at NCVO, said:
'It's clear that volunteers in all roles add a lot to charities' work, doing valuable and skilled jobs. Indeed many charities couldn't exist without the support and dedication of volunteers in all areas of their organisation.
'While many people who volunteer do so at least in part to gain new skills and experience, interns are often in a particularly vulnerable position at the start of their careers. In the current job market, many feel that gaining experience this way is the only route to the career they want.
'Charities need to ensure that they are not inadvertently taking advantage of this by ensuring that these volunteers get the genuine skills development that they are hoping for. We've seen very positive examples of charities who invest seriously in creating internship schemes that offer volunteers substantial support and development, and this is a standard all should be aspiring to.
'Charities have taken to using the term 'intern' because it attracts more people to volunteer positions. But it's important that these volunteers' expectations are met. Volunteering must always be a two-way relationship. There should be no such thing as an 'unpaid internship' in charities. The law here is quite clear. A role should either be a paid one, or a proper volunteer role.'
The guidance has been developed with input from Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, The National Trust, and the RSPB.
'Volunteer internships in the voluntary sector - review and guidance' is published today.
- Tuesday, 03 March 2015 00:01
Sustainable future and greater reach for training and accreditation
Trustees of the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) and the board of NCVO have today announced that MBF’s core services are to be transferred to NCVO.
MBF helps organisations to increase the effectiveness and quality of their mentoring and befriending services. MBF has worked hard to build up its core services in recent years, but last year its trustees decided to pursue a collaborative approach in order to ensure the sustainability of their services. They approached NCVO as a potential partner and the organisations have come to an agreement to secure the future of these important services.
The services to be transferred include the Approved Provider Standard for mentoring and befriending projects; the National Training Programme of short courses designed to help organisations develop good practice in mentoring and befriending; MBF resources; and relevant website content.
With most mentoring and befriending work undertaken by volunteers, NCVO believes that a mentoring and befriending specialism will enhance and strengthen the volunteering aspect of its work. In addition, the transfer will create opportunities to develop key aspects of MBF’s core service provision.
Staff whose job roles involve the delivery of MBF core services will be transferred into the employment of NCVO in accordance with TUPE regulations. The transfer of services is expected to take place on 31 March 2015. MBF will remain in existence for a short time in order to close down remaining activities and any reserves will be donated to NCVO.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:
’We are very pleased to make sure that MBF’s services can continue into the future. Their accreditation scheme will complement our own highly regarded quality standards work, and further strengthen our offer to the sector. This transfer will preserve and develop the core services of MBF as a valuable resource for the voluntary sector.’
Steve Matthews, chief executive of MBF, said:
‘We are delighted that NCVO has agreed to take on the Approved Provider Standard, our highly rated National Training Programme of short courses, resources and website and to provide a secure future for them. Mentoring and befriending continue to be key areas for volunteering and NCVO will be able to ensure that these services become more sustainable and reach more organisations.’
MBF staff will join NCVO’s volunteering and development department. Under an arrangement between NCVO and GMCVO, the newly transferred staff will work from space in the GMCVO office, meaning they can continue to work in Manchester, where MBF is based.
NCVO is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England. With over 11,000 members, NCVO works to champion, connect and support voluntary organisations and volunteering.
MBF helps organisations to increase the effectiveness and quality of their mentoring and befriending services through training and resources, providing a national quality standard for projects, promoting good practice, evidence building, and working in partnership to encourage the take-up of mentoring and befriending.
For more information please contact:
- Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:48
Responding to the committee’s report, Elizabeth Chamberlain, policy manager at NCVO, said:
‘The committee’s work is a testament to the value of proper pre-legislative scrutiny. We’ve had a process where the government has consulted on proposals, it has amended them based on consultation feedback, and now a committee has further scrutinised and improved them. This is how all legislation should be dealt with, and the forthcoming bill will be all the better for this work.
- Friday, 13 February 2015 13:27
Responding to the government’s review of the Social Value Act, Sir Stuart Etherington said:
‘This review rightly recognises the potential of the Social Value Act to improve public services and help public bodies tackle the dual pressures of reduced spending budgets and increased demand for the services they commission.
- Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:29
Stuart Etherington, CEO of NCVO, said:
“I’m deeply saddened to learn of the death of Daniel after a longstanding illness. Daniel was both a good friend and a valued colleague. Under his leadership as a publisher, Daniel made a large and lasting contribution to our sector, helping charities and those working in them to raise their game. I remember with great affection the many happy and thoughtful conversations we had together, both in London and in St. Ives.
Our thoughts are with Daniel’s wife, Cathy, and his family, at this sad time.”
- Wednesday, 11 February 2015 10:52
Speaking at the launch of the Report from the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector, Sir Stuart Etherington said:
'This report is an important contribution to the very real debates about independence that our members face each day.
- Monday, 09 February 2015 11:11
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Big Lottery Fund have announced further plans to support infrastructure organisations under the Big Assist programme.
The announcement comes shortly after the publication of a report from the Independent Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure, set up by NAVCA.
- Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:45
Commenting on the NAO’s follow-up report into the Charity Commission, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:
‘This review reflects significant progress for which the Commission and its staff deserve much credit. The NAO identify a number of outstanding areas of concern. We are particularly keen to see the Commission return to a more conventional division between governance and executive. We look forward to seeing the results of the governance audit being carried out in the coming months.
- Wednesday, 21 January 2015 13:04
Commenting on the Navca report, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:
‘It is worth being frank about the challenges set out in this comprehensive and timely report. There are simply no easy answers to many of the issues identified. However I believe that NCVO and Navca have a responsibility to do what we can to support infrastructure organisations as they face these challenges, so we will convene a series of discussions on the future shape of infrastructure. We will explore the full range of options to create a sustainable future. Reform is undoubtedly necessary.’
- Monday, 05 January 2015 15:00
NCVO and PhotoVoice have announced the launch of the NCVO Members’ Photography Competition 2015. The competition is open to service users, staff and volunteers at organisations which are NCVO members, and looks for photographs which communicate the difference that members are making to their communities.