Coronavirus: Advice for your organisation


Volunteering and coronavirus: How you can help

Press releases

Commenting on the LGA proposal for council tax discounts for volunteers, Justin Davis Smith, executive director for volunteering and development at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities in England, said:

‘We very much welcome any ideas for promoting volunteering, but this proposal raises both practical problems and questions of principle.

The poor performance of the Work Programme in getting harder-to-help jobseekers into work demonstrates there is a need for the government to work more closely with charities and service users when designing contracts, says a new report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today launched a call for evidence as part of a review into the voluntary sector’s finances, alongside its partners Charity Finance Group, the Institute of Fundraising, Navca and Small Charities Coalition.

The call for evidence, which is open to all voluntary organisations, provides the opportunity for respondents to tell their story about the impact of the recession on their organisation and how they have adapted to the changing funding environment.

The charity sector is experiencing growing levels of spending and optimism, but growth may not be evenly spread, according to the latest Charity Forecast poll from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

On average, 63% of large charities - those with an income of £1m or more - plan to increase spending in the next year, compared to an average of 51% of lower-income charities.

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.

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.'

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.

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.

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.

The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) 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, The National Lottery Community Fund chief executive, Dawn Austwick, told delegates today at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ conference, Evolve.

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