06 June 2008
A panel of MPs and experts has called on the government to recognise volunteering as a legitimate job-seeking activity.
The Morgan Inquiry report, published on June 2, says one of the biggest deterrents to volunteering is inflexible unemployment benefit rules. It calls on the Department for Work & Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to do more to lift the barriers and cut bureaucracy to encourage young people to volunteer.
The cross-party panel also urged employers to introduce a day off work a year to encourage volunteering and an 'industry award' scheme to recognise skills gained.
Baroness Morgan of Huyton, who chaired the inquiry, said: 'Everyone says volunteering is a good thing. But it is not always straightforward to get involved and there are real and perceived obstacles which act as barriers to many young adults.
'I hope our recommendations will make a difference in clearing the way for young adults to make the most of volunteering. The benefits gained through volunteering for both young adults and society have been widely documented.'
Rather than calling for mandatory time off, the report recommends the development of an accredited opt-in scheme for employers and academic institutions, to give them greater flexibility in releasing young people and to instil good volunteering practice at a corporate level.