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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.



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



Cabinet Office


Department for Business and Innovation


Department for Communities and Local Government


Department for Education


Department for Energy and Climate Change


Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)


Home Office


Ministry of Justice


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