Lead by example, ministers urged

The Government should refuse to work with contractors unless they offer staff volunteering opportunities, according to Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of CSV.

Her comments came after Gordon Brown's speech last Tuesday (see story, right), in which he urged business leaders to implement employee volunteering projects. Hoodless said the Government must lead by example and fund volunteering schemes.

"It should be a condition of government funding that these services offer career opportunities," she said.

Hoodless also emphasised that volunteering is "not a cost-free exercise" and that the Chancellor's calls for more citizens to do voluntary work must be backed up with Government funding to help organise volunteering programmes.

"Responsible volunteering involves training and criminal record checks, and that takes money to organise," she said.

She added that the Government should set targets for citizen engagement in public services.

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