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NCVO and Volunteering England merger talks

Volunteering England and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations are commencing formal discussions with a view to merging.

The Board of Trustees of both organisations have agreed the recommendations of a joint working party to enter into formal merger discussions over the summer and autumn 2012.

The joint working party reviewed options for working together and concluded there was “a very strong case for full merger” and that “The closely aligned visions of both organisations could be better fulfilled by coming together.”

It found “a compelling case for merger on grounds of efficiency and sustainability but more importantly that the new organisations will enhance the work of both agencies and help deliver on a new vision for volunteering and voluntary action”.

The working party recommended that the merged organisation will be known as the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and will retain the Volunteering England brand and Institute for Volunteering Research brand.

Formal discussions will now focus on detailed planning on organisational structure and staffing and on membership services, as well as on due diligence.

The working party set a target for the merger, subject to the formal discussions, as effective by early 2013.

Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, Chair of Trustees of Volunteering England, stated:

“I am proud of the achievements of Volunteering England, our trustees and staff, especially in adapting to the challenging environment of recent years. The proposed merger will sustain our work as the voice of volunteering throughout our communities. It will strengthen the national infrastructure in supporting and representing our members, the volunteering movement and civil society.”

Martyn Lewis CBE, Chair of Trustees of NCVO, stated:

“The vision and values of NCVO and Volunteering England are closely aligned. We are a natural fit. We have encouraged the sector to consider mergers and collaboration, and we are practising what we preach. By joining forces we will create a stronger voice and better support for voluntary organisations and volunteering.”

Justin Davis Smith CBE, Chief Executive of Volunteering England, stated:

“The proposed merger will enable Volunteering England to strengthen our contributions in improving policy, volunteer management and the quality of the volunteer experience through research and professional expertise and through engaging with our members, particularly through the network of local Volunteer Centres. We will keep and promote our brand as Volunteering England. I am looking forward to talking with our members, national and local, in public, private and voluntary sectors, on the practicalities of working together to ensure the cause of volunteering is represented as powerfully as it should be throughout our society and to central and local government.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, stated:

“This merger builds on years of close co-operation between NCVO and Volunteering England. We have a shared vision of how volunteering and voluntary organisations are at the heart of civil society. By pooling our skills and experience we will create a stronger champion for voluntary action.”

Note for press and media

The organisations will not be making further public statements now. As noted above, the formal discussions will be taking place through the summer and autumn this year, and then we will be issuing a statement on their outcomes.


Ben Kernighan, Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Public Policy & Communications, NCVO:
0207 520 3164 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mike Locke, Director of Policy and Communications, Volunteering England: 020 7520 8930 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


  1. The dates of the Boards of Trustees meetings were: NCVO 29 May 2012; Volunteering England 21 June 2012.
  2. The joint working party consisted of two trustees of each organisation together with Justin Davis Smith and Ben Kernighan. It first met in March 2012 and reported to the Board meetings, as above.
  3. NCVO and Volunteering England are both membership-based registered charities and companies limited by guarantee.

They were each named as Strategic Partners of the Cabinet Office for the period from April 2011.

The organisations are located in same building at Regent’s Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL.

NCVO was founded in 1919 and is the largest umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England with sister councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We give voice and support to civil society.

NCVO believes passionately in the voluntary and community sector. This is a sector with the power to transform the lives of people and communities for the better. NCVO has 102 staff and currently has over 8,300 members.

Volunteering England is an independent charity and membership organisation, committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity. Its work links policy, research, innovation, good practice and programme management in the involvement of volunteers. It has a diverse membership of just over 2,000 drawn from the public, private and voluntary and community sectors. It has currently 21 staff.

Volunteering England was formed in 2004 through a merger of the National Centre for Volunteering (which originated in 1973), Volunteer Development England and the Consortium on Opportunities for Volunteering, and in 2007 Student Volunteering England.

The Institute for Volunteering Research is an initiative of Volunteering England in research partnership with Birkbeck, University of London.

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