Headlines: January 15th, 2002

In a move to influence the Treasury’s cross cutting review of the role of the voluntary sector in the delivery of public services, the National Council for Voluntary Organizations has published new research to support its case. It shows that the sector employs 2% of the UK workforce, more than the post and telecommunications sector, and that it created 85,000 new jobs in the last five years. It contributes £5.4 billion to GDP. There has
been a shift away from donated income and towards earned income.

The Council argues that the voluntary sector has a unique ability to put users and communities at the heart of service delivery, utilising its specialist skills and experience to secure a better deal for beneficiaries. It has urged the Treasury to support a New Accord between the voluntary sector and government. This would enable government at a local and national level to access the niche services and specialist local knowledge that many voluntary organisations possess. A key element of the Accord would be core funding by central and local government who would pay the full costs of project work and contracts as is the case with private sector projects.

The Home Office Active Community Unit has let a contract to the National Coalition Building Institute to deliver a series of diversity seminars. The seminars are part of a programme to help voluntary organisations fulfill the Prime Minister’s challenge to commit themselves to achieving diverse involvement of people within their organizations. The seminars will seek to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to volunteer. They are also designed to make voluntary organisations more aware of the benefits of a diverse workforce.