It's each claimant's choice to volunteer, isn't it?

17 February 2017

DWP are working with Scotland’s third sector to clarify each claimant's choice to volunteer. Volunteer Scotland support this work and look forward to the guidance that will back each individual's immutable right and free choice to volunteer.

VAS_Volunteering In A Fairer Scotland 1 EG 15.02.17_345The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - Office of the Scotland Work Services Director - is working with Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) and local Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) to ensure that social security claimants, local benefits office staff and local volunteer advisors are clear about the rules concerning volunteering.

(The image shows Denise Horsfall, Director, Work Services Directorate (Scotland), DWP and Allan Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Scotland). 

A new partnership agreement and up to date DWP guidance aim to synchronise the local support and information provided to people (by Third Sector Interfaces and Job Centre Plus offices) about volunteering.

The guidance will be published on 23rd February, at the Gathering 2017 during the workshop: Volunteering and DWP welfare benefits in sync

At a time of on-going UK welfare reform implementation and the devolution of some social security powers to the Scottish Parliament, it is increasingly important that guidance and support for claimants is up to date, clear and consistent. 

People contribute to society and the economy in different ways. In Scotland people choose to donate their time and skills at an estimated value of £2.6 billion every year. And all the research evidence demonstrates that people who volunteer are happier, healthier and more employable. But people living with issues of poverty volunteer significantly less.
 

"it is important that the information and advice available to everyone is clear and that everyone who wants to do so has the chance to participate"

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:“Millions of people across Scotland make vital contributions every day – to their families, communities and society as a whole – giving up their time without fanfare or reward but because they believe in a fair and equal society.  That is why it is important that the information and advice available to everyone is clear and that everyone who wants to do so has the chance to participate and make a difference.”
 

"(volunteering) can boost confidence and build skills and it can also prove invaluable particularly for those furthest removed from the labour market" 

Denise Horsfall, Director, Work Services Directorate (Scotland), DWP said,“We are delighted to be working with VAS and the TSIs on updated customer guidance because we have a clear, shared belief that volunteering can have a very positive impact on people’s employability. It can boost confidence and build skills and it can also prove invaluable particularly for those furthest removed from the labour market, demonstrating personal values, commitment, initiative, skills, work experience and providing up-to-date references.” 

 

"We must ensure that employment and social security policies do not undermine our shared efforts to empower communities and support volunteering"

Allan Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Scotland, said,“If we want to achieve a fairer Scotland it is imperative that public policies support all the contributions that people make to society and to our communities. We must ensure that employment and social security policies do not undermine our shared efforts to empower communities and support volunteering.  We are determined to listen and respond effectively to people’s experiences of welfare benefits.”

 

Volunteer Scotland support this important clarification and look forward to reviewing this guidance.