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Volunteering in health and social care report

Volunteering in health and social care report

CABINET OFFICE News Release (CAB/026/08) issued by The Government News Network on 10 March 2008

Baroness Julia Neuberger, the Government's independent volunteering champion, today published her report, Volunteering in the Public Services: Health and Social Care. The report is the first in a series examining the role of volunteers and volunteering in public services. Through consultation with over 1000 volunteers and organisations it found much potential to expand volunteering in health and social care to build more people centred services.

The report identifies a largely untapped source of volunteers in service-users. It argues that they could make an enormous contribution as volunteers in health and social care because no one understands what it is like to have a condition like a person who has it themselves.

Baroness Julia Neuberger, the Government's independent volunteering champion, said:

'Volunteering can create a virtuous circle, improving levels of well being for volunteers, professional colleagues and most importantly the people that use the services. In health and social care I found some excellent examples of volunteers being involved in services as well as significant potential to increase levels of volunteering in the sector.'

Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson said:

'We welcome the publication of Baroness Neuberger's report. It is a powerful insight to volunteering in health and social care, provides a welcome boost to the profile of volunteering and represents a significant contribution to the strategic reform agenda.

'We will consider the recommendations in the report to inform the Department of Health's Volunteering Strategy for Health and Social Care which will drive forward and promote new and existing volunteering initiatives across the NHS, social care and in the third sector.'

The review's main recommendations are:
1) In-house 'volunteering hubs' should be established within government agencies to help mainstream volunteering in health and social care services.

2) When commissioning services, Government agencies should consider the social benefits and true costs of volunteering.

3) Employee volunteering schemes should become commonplace throughout health and social care services.

4) A programme board should be set up, with a remit to increase volunteering in health and social care and ensure that volunteers are properly managed.

5) Both the Government and charities need to make more of the huge, largely untapped, resource of service-users as volunteers.

6) NHS websites should signpost their users to peer group support websites, and to more general volunteering opportunities.

These findings will feed into a final report on volunteering in public services to be submitted to the Prime Minister towards the end of 2008 after which the Government will respond.

Notes to Editors
1. The Prime Minister appointed Baroness Neuberger to be the Government's independent volunteering champion in June 2007. Her report on volunteering in health and social care is available at:

2. Baroness Julia Neuberger: Born 27 February 1950, was educated at South Hampstead High School for Girls, Newnham College Cambridge and Leo Baeck College London. She is former Chief Executive of the Kings Fund - an independent charitable foundation aiming to improve health, especially in London. Baroness Julia Neuberger has previously been Chair of Camden and Islington CHS NHS Trust ('93-'97), Visiting Fellow Harkness Fellowship Harvard Medical School ('91-'92), Visiting Fellow Kings Fund Institute ('89-'91) and Rabbi, South London Liberal Synagogue ('77-'89). She has been a Civil Service Commissioner, Member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Chair of the Patients' Association, and holds Trusteeships of the British Council, Imperial War Museum and formerly Runnymede Trust amongst others. She is also a Vice President of the United Nations Association, has a number of honorary doctorates and is Patron of the North London Hospice, Patron of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund and Patron of the Memorial Arts Charity. Baroness Julia Neuberger chairs the independent Commission on the future of Volunteering. She is married with two children and lives in London.

3. The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) was established in May 2006 to drive forward the Government's role in supporting a thriving third sector, and join up sector related work across government.

Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH

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