Breadcrumbs

Government's volunteer brokerage scheme 'rushed through'

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector, 5 May 2009

Charities say plan for jobseekers is impractical

The Government's £8m volunteer brokerage scheme, a key part of its action plan to help the sector through the recession, got under way last week amid concerns from some practitioners about its practicality and benefits.

The scheme, run by environmental charity BTCV in association with volunteering charities CSV, Volunteering England and v, aims to match 34,000 jobseekers with volunteer placements over the next two years.

Tom Flood, chief executive of BTCV, said the brokers - volunteer managers at the four organisations - were now ready and the first placements had begun."The scheme has been put together extremely quickly," he said. "The Government's target is ambitious and challenging, but I think it's realisable.

"Whether there is the capacity for this many volunteers may well be an issue, but time will tell."

One senior sector figure, who did not want to be named, told Third Sector the scheme faced huge operational difficulties and had been rushed through with "a gun to the head" of those running it.

Kate Bowgett, volunteer management adviser at museum partnership the London Museums Hub, said she was concerned the scheme was impractical and would not benefit the sector.

She said placements would have to last for only one day to count towards the DWP target and would be of little benefit to many organisations using volunteers.

"The Government thinks that this is a numbers game," she said. "It's not. Volunteering has to meet a need, and sending 100 volunteers to a project that needs only seven is not helpful. Short bursts of volunteering are not suited to the work of many organisations.

"The sector doesn't have the capacity to absorb thousands of new volunteers, and there is no extra funding for new volunteer projects."

She added that the scheme required brokers to match volunteers with placements within five days, which did not allow time for practicalities such as Criminal Records Bureau checks.

Debbie Usiskin, vice-chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers, said the scheme would duplicate the brokerage service already provided by many local volunteer centres.

"It would be cheaper and more effective to give the money to volunteer centres and put posters in job centres advertising them," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions, which is funding the scheme, said it was determined to give jobseekers the right help and support and offer "varied and valuable" volunteering opportunities.

Related Articles

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Latest jobs Jobs web feed


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events

90 per cent funded training for third sector: Collaborative Leadership Programme

  • Date: Thu 13 Mar 2014 - Fri 16 May 2014
  • Venue: Leeds

Lies, damned lies, and statistics: what should you really be measuring?

  • Date: Wed 23 Apr 2014 - Wed 23 Apr 2014
  • Venue: Westminster

People power

  • Date: Wed 30 Apr 2014 - Wed 30 Apr 2014
  • Venue: London

Third Sector Insight