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Volunteering and DWP Welfare Benefits

photo of Allan - VAS - and Denise - DWP - signing Partnership agreementThere hasn’t been DWP guidance on volunteering for all welfare benefit claimants published in a single document since October 2010.  We believe this has caused unnecessary confusion and fear, preventing many people from volunteering.

Volunteer Glasgow has been working with our partners on the city’s Poverty Leadership Panel, with Trust Volunteering Inverclyde, Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure that social security claimants, local benefits office staff and local volunteering advisors in Scotland’s Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) are clear about the rules concerning volunteering.

Up to date DWP guidance will be published on 23rd February, at the Gathering 2017 during a workshop, “Volunteering and DWP welfare benefits in sync”.  The guidance has been co-designed with people with experience of volunteering and of claiming benefits and we’d like to thank everyone that has contributed to this work including the policy team at Citizens Advice Scotland for their comments on the final draft.  It should provide clear, concise answers to people’s questions about where they stand.

At a time of on-going UK welfare reform implementation and the devolution of some social security powers to the Scottish Parliament, it is increasingly important that guidance and support for claimants is up to date, clear and consistent. A new partnership agreement between VAS, DWP and the TSIs (including Volunteer Glasgow) aims to synchronise the local support and information provided to people about volunteering within the framework provided by the publication of the DWP guidance.

Pictured above signing the Partnership agreement are Denise Horsfall, Director, Work Services Directorate (Scotland), DWP and Allan Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Scotland.  Allan said that, “If we want to achieve a fairer Scotland it is imperative that public policies support all the contributions that people make to society and to our communities. We must ensure that employment and social security policies do not undermine our shared efforts to empower communities and support volunteering.”

Denise said, “We are delighted to be working with VAS and the TSIs on updated customer guidance because we have a clear, shared belief that volunteering can have a very positive impact on people’s employability. It can boost confidence and build skills and it can also prove invaluable particularly for those furthest removed from the labour market, demonstrating personal values, commitment, initiative, skills, work experience and providing up-to-date references.”

At the time of writing, some free places were still available at the workshop (Thursday 23rd February, 3.00-4.00pm, SECC Glasgow): click here to find out more and to book a place on the Gathering 2017 web site.

Click here for more information on the work of Glasgow’s Poverty Leadership Panel and our shared aims for volunteering.

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