22 Dec 2017
Public services in Wales are changing due to a range of factors including the need to meet increased demand with reduced resources. This change presents a number of opportunities and challenges, and offers the potential to re-imagine the role of volunteering and social action within public service delivery.
Volunteers already play an important
role in delivering public services, and with the right planning and
support, there is scope to achieve more. Early planning for
volunteering, based on strong leadership from Welsh Government,
Public Sector and Third Sector leaders can enable a transformation
in the way we approach public service delivery.
The benefits of increased volunteer involvement are far ranging,
including; improved outcomes for those receiving services; health
and well being benefits for volunteers; better designed services
due to increased citizen engagement; improved local recruitment and
retention of staff as a result of volunteers entering employment,
and many more besides.
There are challenges to be overcome and potential threats to be
mitigated, for example the perception amongst staff and the public
that volunteering may be used as a cover for budget cuts. Much is
known however about what already works, and this paper includes a
series of recommendations about how to make public service
volunteering successful and of maximum benefit.
There are questions to be put to decision makers, including on how
they will support and fund innovative approaches to volunteer
involvement and partnership working between the Third and Public
The Volunteering Wales Network (VWN) has been exploring what the
role of volunteering might be in public services in the future. It
has drafted a paper which sets out a vision for alternative models
of public service delivery in Wales that include properly scoped
and supported volunteering.
The paper will be presented at the Gofod 3 event on 8 March as
part of a panel discussion session.
The draft paper has been circulated to the Network membership and
is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org to anyone
who would like to contribute to the discussion. Comments are called
for by 12 January along with examples of innovative involvement of
volunteers in public services, and in particular where successful
partnerships between Third and Public sector organisations have