Thank you for attending our AGM and networking event. We have now transitioned into London Plus. If you would like to find out what happened at the event take a look at our new website.
Is austerity ending?
In the lead up to Monday’s budget, there seemed to be one question that everyone wanted to know the answer to: will the Chancellor confirm what the Prime Minister signalled earlier in the month, that austerity was coming to an end? In short, the answer is yes and no. In light of higher tax receipts and improved growth since the March update, there will be real terms increases in overall day to day departmental spending per person between this year and 2022/23.
But most of that extra spending will go to the NHS. In fact, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed the following day, there will be “flat real spending available for all other departments ”. And as Resolution Foundation (RF) budget analysis shows, when you take into account the big spending commitment to the NHS and protected areas (aid and defence), spending on local government and further education is likely to still see reductions . So for many, it will feel like nothing has changed.
A fuller assessment of the government’s pledge to end austerity won’t be known until next year’s Spending Review. In any case, the issue of austerity is a rather abstract one, when all the economic and social problems London’s voluntary organisations encounter and attempt to tackle, are anything but. So perhaps the best way to really judge this year’s budget, is to ask – what difference will it make in the fight against poverty in London?
Ending in work poverty and low pay
Firstly, let’s look at pay for the lowest earners. Positively, the government has listened to charities supporting people on Universal Credit (UC) and reinstated some of the cuts to the Work Allowance (the amount you can earn before your UC starts to be withdrawn). The budget announced that in April 2019, the Work Allowance will increase by £1,000, which will see 2.4 million households benefit nationally and keep an extra £630 each year .
However, three-quarters of the benefit cuts announced in 2015 still remain in place and the cash freeze in working-age benefits is to set continue next year, which the RF said will cost “a couple with children in the bottom half of the income distribution £200 on average ”.
Encouragingly, the budget document says the “government’s aspiration is to end low pay”, and that they soon plan to consult on the remit of the Low Pay Commission beyond 2020 . With this newly declared goal, perhaps one initial step could be to rename the pay advisory body to the ‘Ending Low Pay Commission’. Just a thought.
The government also confirmed that the National Living Wage (NLW) will be increasing next April to £8.21, which is a welcome step. But that is still 22% below the Real London Living Wage (set to increase further next Monday) which is based on the actual cost of living that Londoners face. The increase in the NLW will also only benefit those aged 25 and over, and the apprentice rate next year will rise but only to £3.90. If the government genuinely wants to end low pay for all and create a vocational system on par with the academic pathway for young people, then surely it’s now time to end these hugely unequal wage differentials?
Skills development and progression
There were though some helpful changes to apprenticeships funding. Levy paying employers will be able to transfer up to 25% of their funds to pay for apprenticeship training in their supply chains and SMEs will see their required co-investment for apprenticeship training halved to 5% (the government will pay the other 95%). It was initially thought this change would take place next April, but the government now appears less sure .
Pay progression and moving into better jobs relies on people being able to develop their skills, so it’s positive that the government is continuing to develop the National Retraining Scheme (NRS), which will first focus on offering a “new careers guidance service with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area, and state-of-the-art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to develop key transferable skills .” Job specific retraining will be developed in phase two.
But with in-work poverty in the capital soaring and a record number of people stuck on temporary contracts, it is difficult to see how a small national commitment of £100 million, will make a tangible difference to these Londoners’ working lives and aspirations . And despite the NRS, the Chancellor gave no indication in his budget that further education and skills will be protected from more cuts (let alone see any increases!) in the years ahead, so the sector will have to come out fighting hard as the Spending Review inches ever closer.
To sum up, this budget offers some of the poorest earners a lifeline by increasing the Work Allowance for UC claimants and the NLW next April. But the majority of benefit cuts remain in place (which overwhelmingly impact women) and despite the laudable goal of the government wanting to end low pay, there is little to suggest they have the plan or resources in place to achieve it.
Employment and Skills Policy Lead, London Plus
We are currently working to put together the Data and Intelligence strategy for London Plus. A large part of this strategy will be to develop original research on the state of the Civil Society sector in London.
As a first step we have been using data from the Community Life Survey to explore how many people have been involved in Civil Society in London over time. The Community Life Survey is a questionnaire sent out to people across England, with participants chosen to be representative of the population as a whole.
People were asked whether they had given any unpaid help to anyone who is not a relative, either informally, or formally through a voluntary agency. This could include help directly to an individual or involvement with groups or events.
Rates of volunteering were similar across London and the rest of the country. The majority of Londoners do give up their time to help others, with 63% of people volunteering in the last 12 months in the year 2016-17. This has also remained relatively steady over the years, with a small decrease in volunteering in London in the year 2015-16.
Hours spent volunteering were also similar inside and outside London. For those who did engage in volunteering in the last four weeks, people spent an average 10 hours on formal volunteering and 7 hours on informal volunteering. Time spent volunteering ranged from 1 hour a month, up to 250 hours in a month.
 This chart combines responses from 2013-2017 to calculate averages. Hours spent volunteering across these time periods was relatively stable.
People were also asked about their civic participation. This was defined as the extent that they are involved in local affairs, including online participation and community decision making through formal roles or groups.
As with volunteering, rates of civic participation were similar both within and outside of London. A rising proportion of people have been involved in civic participation from 2013-2017, with 44% of Londoners reporting some involvement in the last 12 months in the most recent survey. Regular involvement was much less common, with just 6% of Londoners reporting civic participation in the last four weeks.
We have a number of questions remaining about Civil Society in London that we are aiming to explore in our research programme. These include:
- Who is involved in civil participation and volunteering in London, and do they represent the diversity of London as a whole?
- What areas of work are they involved in, and how far does this complement the needs of local areas?
- What are the drivers (and barriers) to engagement?
- How can we demonstrate the positive impacts of Civil Society on Londoners lives?
If you have any questions, recommendations for research we could be doing, or for how best to use data and intelligence to support Civil Society in London, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcoming Margaret Cooney as our new CEO
We are delighted to announce the appointment of our new CEO, Margaret Cooney.
Margaret joins GLV at a pivotal time in the organisation’s transition toward the creation of a ‘hub for London’, a new Civil Society infrastructure body that will have Londoners’ needs at the heart of all its activities. Having previously made substantial impact with V-Inspired and The Big Lottery, Margaret brings a wealth of experience, skill and knowledge with her to this new role.
For the City of London press release see here.
For more information about our staff and Trustees please see here.
Consulting the London VCSE sector on the Mayor of London’s Skills Strategy
28 November, 12–5pm
Ort House Conference Centre, 126 Albert Street,
London NW1 7NE
Join GLV’s Employment and Skills network members to feed into the drafting of the Mayor of London’s Skills Strategy proposals, including the role of the VCSE sector in delivering them.
For more information and to book your place please see here.
Employment and Skills project joins GLV
We are pleased to announce that on 1st October Jonathan Slater, our new Employment and Skills Policy & Project Manager was transferred over from London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) to Greater London Volunteering (GLV) as part of our transition to a new Hub for Civil Society in London.
Jonathan’s post will continue thanks to Trust for London’s continued funding of the Employment and Skills project. From now on Jonathan can be contacted at his new email address email@example.com. Jonathan’s direct number – 020 7832 5823, as well as his twitter address @Jonathan_LVSC will remain the same, as will his postal address (with the exception of working for GLV), as Jonathan will still be based on the 2nd floor, 200a Pentonville Rd N1 9JP for the next few months.
For an overview of the project please see https://greaterlondonvolunteering.org.uk/london-hub/employment-and-skills/
The Way Ahead – an update on the London Hub from our Chair
We are delighted to let you know that City Bridge Trust have confirmed a grant to Greater London Volunteering (GLV) to set up the London Hub, a key part of the delivery of the Way Ahead.
This milestone bid was developed in partnership with a wide cross-sector network of key agencies and stakeholders and the funding will enable us to set up a new Charity for every Londoner. We are excited to be working with London Funders, LVSC, City Bridge Trust and wider partners to make this vision a reality.
London needs a vibrant civil society in order to prosper. But we know these are unprecedented economic times for London’s communities. The voluntary sector, for example, is experiencing ever greater calls on its services whilst at the same time facing reduced funding. London’s local government has taken a 33% real cut in service funding from Central Government between 2009/10 and 2013/14 whilst deeper public sector funding cuts will come during 2017/18 and beyond.
Going forward, we want to ensure that civil society in the capital is fully supported, in order to continue to optimise its positive impact on Londoners. Alongside of the Hub there is a wider System Change Delivery plan being implemented and as ever we will continue to make sure that volunteering is represented at every level.
An advisory group for the Hub will be set up in the next month and we will continue to put out updates on progress and signpost you to ways in which you can get involved in its development. For more details contact Sharon Long who is leading on this work firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater London Volunteering
GLV members win the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
We are proud to extend a well deserved congratulations to two of our members, The Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) and Volunteer Centre Croydon, who have both been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This award is seen as the equivalent of an MBE for the voluntary sector and represents the highest accolade for any UK charity.
JVN has been connecting potential and existing volunteers to volunteering opportunities with Jewish and non-Jewish charities for the past 10 years. The Award reflects its achievements over the decade and is especially resonant as they celebrate their 10th anniversary this year. Read more about JVN’s award on their website here.
Volunteer Centre Croydon is an accredited Volunteer Centre and is part of Croydon Voluntary Action, the umbrella body for Croydon’s voluntary sector. The Volunteer Centre, based in Centrale Shopping Centre, promotes volunteering across Croydon, supporting various events including local community festivals, as well as running and hosting talks and presentations to various interested groups. You can read more about Volunteer Centre Croydon’s award on their website and you can see a video of the celebrations here.
Volunteer Achievement Awards from the Mayor of London
Now’s the time to nominate your volunteers for an award from the Mayor of London as part of the Team London 2017 Achievement Awards – nominations close on 21 July 2017.
Volunteers can be nominated across a broad range of categories that seek to capture the full diversity of London’s volunteering community, with awards for volunteers under 25, volunteers over 25, and people who volunteer in a team. The winners will be presented with their award at the prestigious ceremony at City Hall in the autumn.
The judges will be looking for volunteers who’ve shown outstanding enthusiasm and commitment, who’ve given exceptional service or contributed particular depth of experience, or who have achieved great impact through their volunteering.
If you’ve got volunteers you’d like to recognise then follow this link https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/volunteering/effective-community-engagement/team-london-awards-2017 for the online nomination form and more details about the awards. Good luck!
London Hub for Civil Society
At GLV we’ve been busy working with LVSC and others to explore what the proposed London Hub for civil society should look like, and are excited to be sharing the report produced by Steve Wyler (an experienced sector leader who has taken a fresh look at what’s needed, including feedback from GLV members and other stakeholders). We’re keen to get your input in the coming months as we go on this journey towards a new way of working at a regional level, to provide the support that volunteering and civil society needs, and we will have a session before our AGM to capture your thoughts on the report.
The London Sport Awards
The second annual London Sport Awards will take place on Thursday 19 January 2017 at Indigo at The O2.
The London Sport Awards celebrate and showcase the best of London’s fantastic work in grassroots physical activity and sport. Building on the success of the 2016 Awards at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the 2017 Awards will be bigger and better than ever before, with an exciting new location, more guests, greater visibility and a prestigious award for ‘Volunteer of the Year’.
London Sport will also be undertaking a major research project to explore what future volunteer programmes for London’s sports clubs needs to look like, and how their growth and development can be best supported. Read more here.
Looking Ahead to 2017
Happy new year from everyone here at Greater London Volunteering – we hope you’ve had a great start to 2017, and are looking forward to an exciting year of developing volunteering in London in the year ahead.
Please take the time to have a look at these links to videos that celebrate London’s year as European Capital of Volunteering 2016 and the International Volunteering Conference where the title for 2017 was handed over to Sligo.
We are looking forward to working with our members and partners to build on the success of last year, and to promote more good quality volunteering across London in 2017.
The Way Ahead – Working Groups
Following on from the event on 30 November to look at turning the recommendations of The Way Ahead into reality, we’ve now established five task-and-finish groups who will be reviewing existing knowledge and learning, seeking out data, research, best practice, effective models and expertise. They will propose practical plans for moving to a new system, identifying barriers to new ways of working and opportunities to overcome them. You can find out more about the background to the groups in the short thematic groups summary.
Each group is being coordinated by a sector leader with a strong track record in their field, but we and they are keen that these groups include a diverse range of experience and ideas to help make change happen.
If you’re interested in being involved in a group, or finding out more about what’s involved, you can get in touch with the thematic leads using their details below:
Pragmatic co-production – Jake Ferguson from Hackney CVS
Triage and Connect – Karen Chillman from Volunteer Centre Croydon
Voice and campaigning – Alison Navarro from Sutton CVS
Consistent commissioning and funding – Phillip Tulba from Locality