OCS in discussions with charities about incentives for full-time volunteering

06 Oct 2016 News

Rob Wilson

The Office for Civil Society is looking at ways to create more incentives for full time volunteering projects, Rob Wilson hinted at the Conservative Party Conference this week. 

Wilson, the minister for civil society, was speaking on a panel about supporting young people from volunteering to employment. 

Leo Watson, public affairs and communications manager at City Year, which runs a number of youth volunteering projects, raised the issue of people being financially discouraged from participating in full-time volunteering because the time does not count towards National Insurance contributions.

He asked the minister: “Why is the UK government not doing more to support full-time volunteering?”

Wilson said: “I have met with your chief executive and had a very detailed conversation about the issues that you have just raised.
“But I don’t want to make any announcements today.”

When pressed he told the audience to “watch this space”. 

City Year is part of a coalition of 17 youth organisations, Generation Change, which has previously called for the introduction of ‘service years’ to “create a new legal status for young people undertaking full-time volunteering, and to support schools to further embed the role of volunteering”.

When asked about the risk that full-time volunteering could exploit young people, Wilson said that the “key is the word voluntary” which meant that young people would not be “doing anything you don’t want to do so you can’t be exploited”. 

Jessica Taplin, chief executive of vInpsired, was also on the panel, and said: “We need to be very clear about the difference between volunteering and internships to make sure that it can’t be open to abuse.”

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