Cross-Government Volunteering Policy Group

About the Cross-Government Volunteering Policy Group

The Cross Government Volunteering Policy group was established in October 2022. The group connects policy leads about volunteering in their respective areas.

Meetings have brought together colleagues from a policy areas across the Scottish Government including Equalities (Faith and Belief, Disability, Age Equality and Older People), Social Isolation and Loneliness, Culture, Mental Health and Wellbeing and Health and Social Care plus many others.

The aim of the group is to raise the profile of volunteering in both society and in policy making and to ensure volunteering is considered in policy making maximising the opportunity for cross government action/ coordination around volunteering.

Meetings have helped us to reflect on some of the big volunteering issues such as the impact of cost of living crisis where volunteer shortages are causing concern at a time of increased demand for services. 

The group have also discussed the Volunteering Action Plan and its new structures as well as the Volunteer Charter.  We explained that volunteers should complement paid professionals in place to deliver any event or service – not replace them.   They all received a link to the Volunteer Charter.

In addition we have promoted the Scottish Government’s Volunteering Leave policy which allows staff to take 6 days of volunteering leave each year.

This group has helped to strengthen policy links between the Scottish Government and the Third Sector. At our last meeting we had two guest speakers, Sarah Latto, Policy Officer from Volunteer Scotland and Lynn Williams, Development Co-ordinator for the TSI Scotland Network. Sarah talked about the Policy Champions Network and cross over between the SG group and the Policy Champions Network. Lynn explained her role and talked about the role of Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs). The group welcomed the opportunity to hear from the sector and helped to contribute to our VAP commitment to increase visibility of volunteering and improve policy impact of volunteering.

We also gave an update on the VAP Policy review calendar which is being developed to help co-ordinate Scottish Government policies. This will help support timely engagement across policy areas and lead to better informed policy making.