AVM response to the Ministry of Justice’s Third Sector Strategy

The Association of Volunteer Managers is an independent body that aims to support, represent and champion people who manage volunteers in England regardless of field, discipline or sector. It was set up by and for people who manage and involve volunteers in the work of their organisations.

The Association of Volunteer Managers works to:

  • campaign and speak out on issues that are key to people who manage volunteers;
  • facilitate and support effective peer-to-peer networking of those involved in volunteer management locally, regionally and nationally; and
  • develop information and good practice resources on volunteer management.

The Association of Volunteer Managers defines volunteer managers as: ‘People who, directly or indirectly, oversee, manage, co-ordinate or administer volunteers or volunteer programmes. Volunteer managers operate in all sectors and at all levels.’ We recognise that other terms can and are used to describe volunteer managers, that volunteer management may only be part of a volunteer manager’s role and that volunteer managers are both paid and unpaid.

1. The Association of Volunteer Managers welcomes the recognition by the Ministry of Justice of the role volunteers can play in supporting its work. However if the Ministry wishes to develop volunteering effectively and sustainably it must recognise the vital role volunteer managers play in delivering that and the need to ensure that volunteer managers are supported to carry out their work.

This support needs to encompass:

  • cross-organisational and cross-sectoral understanding, recognition and support of the role of the volunteer manager;
  • funding to ensure that all volunteer managers have the capacity and resources to effectively manage their volunteers and volunteering programmes;
  • funding and opportunities for volunteer managers to develop their skills and knowledge through training;
  • funding and opportunities for volunteer managers to develop their skills and knowledge through peer support, peer mentoring and networking; and
  • appropriate supervision, external if necessary, from someone who can advise and support in relation to volunteer management.

2. We note that the consultation refers to addressing the priority for 'shaping central government and ministerial priorities and objectives to help influence local practices and Local Area Agreements'.

Whilst there is a national indicator for volunteering in Local Area Agreements it is only a measure of the quantity of volunteering and not the quality nor the impact.

We would suggest the Ministry considers how volunteering can contribute to all the priorities and objectives it seeks to shape and influence, both locally and nationally.

3. As a final point we would like to amend the Ministry's use of the phrase 'employee volunteering' as it should be 'employer-supported volunteering'.

We would be happy to meet with the Ministry of Justice to discuss any aspect of our response or work further.

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