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Public sector volunteering less satisfying than with charities

People volunteering with public services, such as hospital and library volunteers, police special constables, magistrates and school governors, are less satisfied with their experience than those giving their time to charities.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) undertook a YouGov survey of 10,000 volunteers which suggested that people are less attached to public service organisations and feel that they are too bureaucratic.

According to the survey, 94% of those volunteering in the public sector say that they were satisfied with their experience.

However, only 47% said they were ‘very satisfied’, compared to 58% among charities and community group volunteers, while only 76% said they would continue volunteering in the future compared to 83% among charity volunteers.

Public sector volunteers were also more likely than charity volunteers to plan to quit their volunteering, the research suggested.

The NVCO, which represents charities and volunteering, said that public sector volunteering holds ‘immense potential’ to make a difference and that public sector organisations should aim to meet the standards of the best charities when it comes to benefiting from the contribution of volunteers.

Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said: ‘Volunteers in public services do amazing work, sometimes in incredibly tough roles. We owe it to them to make the experience as positive as possible.

‘And getting public sector volunteering right holds the potential to make a really positive difference to services by harnessing people’s desire to help out in their communities.

‘Good volunteering programmes can deliver great returns for communities and public sector bodies, but they do require investment, both financially and in terms of a real commitment from organisations to truly understand volunteering.

‘There are some excellent volunteering programmes in the public sector and the question now is how we help all organisations match these examples.’

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