Employer-led volunteering discussed at Westminster

— 09.02.16

by Jody Dalton

Research into the potential of employer supported volunteering looks to maximise its impact within the UK and suggest how local infrastructure can best support it.

A high-profile policy breakfast discussion took place in the Churchill Rooms in Westminster on Wednesday 27 January, showcasing the research of Dr Jon Burchell, senior lecturer at Sheffield University Management School, and Dr Joe Cook, an academic at Hull University Business School, on Employer Supported Volunteering.

“We are delighted to be able to support this high-profile discussion and hope to focus on establishing a strategy that is both fit-for-purpose and achievable. Almost 50% of the population in the UK do some kind of volunteer work and that is to be commended. We want to ensure that both businesses and charities are equipped to engage with volunteers in the best way possible.”

Dr Cook, Hull University Business School

The government is keen to build on Britain’s volunteering culture – it pledged during the election that employees of large firms and public sector employees will be entitled to three volunteering days a year

“But this pledge places significant difficulties for businesses,” said Dr Burchell. “Current successful company volunteering strategies offer on average one day per year per employee, from which less than one-third of employees take up the opportunity. Achieving a rapid increase in volunteers and volunteer hours just through offering paid time for example, may prove to be overly ambitious.”

Dr Jon Burchell, senior lecturer at Sheffield University Management School

Launching a series of regional workshops across England, the event brought together a panel of experts to discuss the infrastructural implications of the volunteering policy and consider how best to maximise the impact of employee volunteering in the UK. Organised by Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank, Demos, in partnership with the universities of Sheffield and Hull, the Office for Civil Society, Business in the Community (BiTC), and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the discussion explored the challenges of overcoming the key barriers to building effective and sustainable partnerships.

Other speakers included: Graham Frankland, National Grid, Dr Justin Davis-Smith, NCVO, Lisa Cunningham (BiTC), and Neil Cleeveley, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action. The event is chaired by Peter Cheese, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


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