NCVO has called on the government to widen access to volunteering and improve the availability of grant funding, in its election manifesto published today.
In Charities and volunteering make Britain great, the umbrella body has outlined five key points for political parties to consider when drawing up policies about charities.
NCVO said that small and local charities could “do much more” if there was more grant funding.
The manifesto suggests that the government “create a legacy for small and local charities for a generation to come” using money freed up from dormant accounts to create endowment funds that could be run by community foundations. It also suggests buying local community assets, such as pubs and green spaces, to “put them in the control of local people”.
It also called for reforms to public sector commissioning, suggesting that public bodies “should use grant funding instead of large contracts”, and arguing that when public bodies do use contracts, they should take more account of the “wider social value”.
Ways to support volunteering
NCVO also highlighted a number of ways the government could encourage and support volunteering.
These include encouraging employers to allow time off for volunteering and trusteeships, setting up a fund to address the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from volunteering, and strengthening volunteer development and management.
NCVO said charities can do more to help people gain skills needed for employment through volunteering opportunities, but said the next government needs to get rid of “red tape and confusion about the rules”.
The manifesto also suggested that the European Union programmes to help people back to work could be replaced with a social enterprise offering a “lighter-touch, flexible programme”.
NCVO wants the next government to make it easier for charities and volunteers to be involved in public services. It suggests this could be done by asking the NHS and others to set targets for volunteers and introduce volunteer champions.