Smith Commission

Our response on further powers for the Scottish Parliament

As the national body for volunteering we welcomed the opportunity to participate in the deliberations of the Smith Commission. Our response gives voice to Scotland’s 1.3 million volunteers who undertake roles in every community, in all sectors and who bring about significant individual and community benefit to Scotland every day.

As Scotland works through the result of the independence referendum, it is clear that there is an eagerness for more powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and a public thirst to be engaged in this debate. These developments are taking place in an extraordinary new context of public involvement.

Volunteer Scotland is delighted that volunteers have been at the heart of our national debate and that through their energy and activities have brought about a renewed interest in the democratic process in Scotland. The United Nations has recognised that civic engagement and campaigning are key expressions of volunteering. Given that volunteers have made such a significant contribution to both the ‘Yes’ and ‘Better Together’ Campaigns we highlight the:

  • Critical role of volunteers in leading change
  • Critical role of volunteers in empowered communities
  • Need for public bodies across devolved and retained policy to recognise the value of engaging volunteers in the early stages of design and delivery of public services
  • Opportunity we have for growth in volunteering through a renewal that connects with the passions, interests and motivations of individuals that brings about public value

Our Submission 

The greatest untapped power in Scotland is our human capital. Volunteers are already bringing to incredible social and economic value to Scotland and beyond. As part of a renewal agenda for the nation we passionately believe that there needs to be a renewal agenda for volunteering. The key question we’re asking is: in what way might any increase in devolved power engage more people in volunteering? Based on own knowledge and expertise, as well as the views and experiences of volunteers and communities of volunteering which impact on a range of devolved and reserved policy areas in Scotland, we advocate for the following powers to be devolved:

  • Welfare
  • Local Government and Public Bodies
  • Employability and Economy
  • Equality and Human Rights
  • Immigration
  • Broadcasting
  • Energy Regulation

The extraordinary period we’re living in presents enormous opportunities for change that could ultimately make a highly significant difference for volunteering in Scotland.

Read our full submission here!