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Press releases

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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