The Conservative Party sprung a surprise on the sector in the general election campaign by pledging to give employees of large organisations up to three days’ leave to volunteer.
The pledge was welcomed by many in the sector, but once the party was in government it became apparent that fulfilling it would not be easy because of the potential costs to businesses. The Daily Mail's consultant editor Andrew Pierce suspected that the pledge would be ditched, but the government maintained that it would go ahead with proposal.
The proportion of adults in England taking part in formal volunteering remained broadly the same at 27 per cent, according to the Cabinet Office’s annual Community Life survey. But, towards the end of the year, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations raised concerns about the future of survey, arguing that the Cabinet Office’s plans to overhaul it posed a risk to its usefulness.
Several organisations urged improvements to volunteering policy. In April, Citizens Advice called on volunteering organisations and the government to create a new form of "responsive volunteering", while the Scout Association warned that the sector could be losing out on more that 15.4 million hours of youth volunteering time.
There was good news for youth volunteeering in late November when the government announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review that it would expand the number of places on its National Citizen Service programme to 300,000 by 2019/2020, despite ongoing problems attracting participants.
The charity Community Service Volunteers changed its name to Volunteering Matters to make its mission clearer to the public.