Voluntary Organisations should consider publishing Gender Pay Gap data (NVCO)

Voluntary organisations should consider publishing information about the differences in pay between men and women even if they have less than 250 employees, an umbrella body has recommended.

New rules introduced in April 2017 mean that all private and voluntary-sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with 250 or more employees are required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women on an annual basis from 2017.

Although it employs only around 100 staff, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which represents more than 13,000 charities in England, has voluntarily published its own gender pay gap data in a bid to increase transparency and encourage other charities and social enterprises to do the same.

While paying men and women for the same work at different rates has been illegal for decades, the data required by the new rules also captures pay inequalities resulting from differences in the types of jobs performed by men and women.

The charity umbrella body recommends that organisations should consider collating and publishing the data regardless of size, as a way to reflect on any gender pay differences and to demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Charities that have a small number of employees will have to decide whether publishing their data is meaningful, and strike a delicate balance between being transparent and protecting individuals’ data.

Susan Cordingley, director of planning and resources at NCVO, said:

The new rules on gender pay gap data are a good opportunity for organisations of all sizes to stop and think about any gender inequality that may be revealed by the data and if they are doing enough to address it.

This is not only the right thing to do and a valuable tool to think harder about how to maximise talent in the workplace, but it is also a way of moving towards increased transparency, which promotes public trust and confidence in charities.

Many voluntary organisations’ gender pay gap data will be characterised by their employing more women than men, and the same is true for NCVO. Our own data highlights that, while we pay men and women on the same grades identical salaries, there are proportionately more women than men in lower grades and in part-time roles.

Organisations can address this through a range of family-friendly and flexible working policies designed to support women who are still more likely to take time off work to care for children and family, which can hinder their career progress.

NCVO encourages remote working and provides enhanced maternity pay, flexible working hours and enhanced shared parental pay, and our staff survey shows that these are highly valued. But we are always looking for more ways to promote equality in the workplace and strongly encourage other organisations to do the same.

Voluntary sector will play leading role in Cheshire and Merseyside STP

VSNW convened a roundtable last week with the head of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, Louise Shepherd, and VCSE sector representatives from across the region. The STP is the strategic plan for health and social care across the whole of Merseyside, Cheshire and Warrington from 2017 to 2021, building on NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. The plan aims to develop out of hospital care and improve prevention, increase the quality of hospital care, reduce costs and improve partnership working to deliver transformation.

It was clear at the roundtable that there are several ways that the sector can offer answers to improving health and wellbeing, including leadership and co-design opportunities, educating people about the depth and breadth of VCFSE expertise, effecting cultural change, and supporting sector involvement in the Integrated Care Partnership. Warren Escadale attended the inaugural meeting of the System Leadership Board.

“Closer engagement with the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector is positive in itself and could have broader benefits. This is an opportunity for the VCFSE sector and the local health and social care system to develop answers that improve outcomes.

If we’re going to transform our health system, we need a new working relationship with communities and residents and the sector offers an important means to make this happen.“

— Louise Shepherd, Head of Cheshire and Merseyside STP

For more information on the Strategic Plan for Health and Social Care Click Here.

Third Sector Trends in the North West of England research report

Tony Chapman, honorary professor at the University of Durham, has produced a report in partnership with IPPR North regarding third sector trends across the North and the North West of England.

The statistics produced from the report showed that across the North West, 133,000 people are in full-time employment combined with 430,000 volunteers contributing 30 million hours (per annum), worth between £475m and £816m. The total GVA from these figures equates to £2.5bn.

Across the north as a whole, statistics showed that 233,000 people are in full-time employment combined with 930,000 volunteers contributing 66 million hours (per annum) with a total GVA of £5.4bn.

Number of full-time employees and volunteers working in the voluntary sector



Source: Third Sector Trends in the North of England (IPPR North, 2017)

Not only does the data highlight the number of people involved within the sector; it also indicates the contribution from the North West to the region as a whole. These figures highlight the value and importance of the voluntary sector across the North not only at a fiscal level, but also in showing the amount of hours that volunteers invest over the year.

As the report concludes, one of the main strengths of the sector is its sheer size as a whole; as well as the strength of the positive relationships between organisations (both formal and informal), between TSOs and with the public and private sector; and the crucial role of volunteers in sustaining third sector activity.

It is because of these strengths that the sector continues to show great resilience and the capacity to adapt in the face of a stagnating economy, increasing demand, and the continuation of the government’s austerity agenda.

The full report is available here

VSNW and infrastructure partners in the North West have supported the research conducted by and thank groups who contributed towards the project.

VSNW and Health Education England (HEE) announce joint learning initiative ‘Learning Matters’

The search is on for people and projects where individual and organisational learning is driving development and transforming the health and care sector in the North West.

Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW) and Health Education England (HEE) are proud to announce a new joint regional award programme and learning campaign, Learning Matters, to celebrate all kinds of learning across the health and care sector. You can nominate people: colleagues, volunteers or patients where their learning is really making a difference; or projects which are applying learning in any given context. Nominations will showcase the impact of learning on people and organisations in order to inspire others. They will importantly, acknowledge and say thank you to those who go that extra mile. Show your support by taking the time to nominate. Help us tell people why Learning Matters so much to everyone.

This joint campaign led by VSNW, recognises the contribution that adult learning makes to individual, community and economic wellbeing. It will emphasise the importance the awards’ partnership places on the need to develop and harness all talent. It will highlight what can be done to enable the health and care system to support people to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to play an active role in managing their own health; and how to work effectively with communities and their assets. Learning Matters will also demonstrate the fundamental role of learning in reducing health inequalities and how the sector can use leverage to add social value.

Warren Escadale, CEO VSNW said, ’Together with HEE we will be jointly celebrating and promoting Learning Matters because we believe learning is good for people, the sector and the region. But we need your help to identify staff and volunteers, working in and across the whole of the health and care sector, who have been transformed by learning and who can inspire others to give learning a go. We’d also like to hear about projects and activity where learning is shared and it is changing the way we think and what we do in the sector.’

The Learning Matters awards launch on Friday 03 February 2017. They will recognise people and projects in public, voluntary or private sector organisations; in all kinds of job roles not just those with direct care responsibility. This includes those working in an unpaid and volunteer capacity. These awards will reflect the diversity of learning and the range of responsibilities across the whole of the health and care sector. The award categories themselves will include a celebration of the role and value of apprenticeships for all ages. They will highlight important first steps into the sector. They will spotlight regional talent and shout about career development and progression. And they will provide an insight into how people in the sector support each other.

The Learning Matters team is also pleased to announce a number of sponsored awards which will celebrate innovation and regional ingenuity. These awards will have an eye on underlining the importance of supporting new care models, driving adoption of innovation, innovative community asset based development, patient, carer and public engagement, widening participation in healthcare education, prevention, digital health, personalised care and social prescribing. Your nominations will tell us how.

Nominations are open from 03 February until 12 noon on Monday 10 April 2017

For full details on all these awards and how to get nominating simply follow the link below.


CLINKS: Has probation been transformed? The voluntary sector’s story

Nathan Dick – 27th May 2016. (Full article here)

“Fifteen months after the launch of new probation services and the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation – what has changed? Today we launch our new report Change and challenge‘ that summarises the voluntary sector’s experience and makes seven recommendations for change.

The probation service has undergone radical change, with Probation Trusts split in 2014 into a public sector National Probation Service (NPS) and 21 new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) owned since February 2015 by eight, primarily private, providers. The NPS advises courts on the sentencing of all offenders and manages those presenting higher risk of serious harm to the public, while CRCs supervise offenders presenting a low and medium risk of harm.

These reforms have had a lot of recent attention, with the National Audit Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation recently publishing reports into Transforming Rehabilitation. There is a growing body of evidence as to how new services are bedding in, which we hope this new Clinks report will add to in a constructive and informed way.”

The voluntary sector’s story

When the new CRC providers were announced, the Ministry of Justice stated that ‘75% of the 300 subcontractors named in the successful bids are voluntary sector or mutual organisations‘ and that the voluntary sector would be ‘at the frontline of offender rehabilitation‘. However, since that announcement it has been almost impossible to gauge what role the sector has been playing, with no official information in the public domain about the voluntary setor’s involvement in supply chains, what they are delivering, where, or how much they’re funded to deliver it.

Over the last fifteen months since new probation services were launched, the voluntary sector has taken the time and energy to work with Clinks and lay out their experiences; for that we are very grateful. We have received over 300 survey responses accross two surveys, over 90 attendees at a consultation event, and various meetings and phone calls to help guide us through our understanding of the ‘on the ground’ reality.

There are concerns out there in the voluntary sector, some of which need immediate attention. The transformation of probation has been slow. Local voluntary organisations are struggling to find the investment that might keep them alive, yet their vital rehabilitation and resettlement services continue to get frequent referrals; 50% still receive and accept referrals from probation, and over two thirds receive referrals from prisons. These organisations support people to reform and their closure could have serious consequences for communities, families and people who desperately need the right assistance to change their lives.

We have closed our referral system as we can’t manage our services without additional resource”. – Survey respondent

Only ¼ of the 151 voluntary organisations surveyed were being funded by a new Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), and only 1 had direct funding from the National Probation Service (NPS). Of those that are being funded 70% are delivering pre-existing services, delivering the status quo rather than transformation. Those that did receive funding were disproportionately larger voluntary sector organisations, with very few smaller or medium sized organisations represented.

We have been told the premise of Transforming Rehabilitation was the meaningful involvement of small and local organisations. In reality, the exact opposite to that has happened”. – Survey respondent

Many voluntary sector organisations could not say whether Transforming Rehabilitation had negatively or positively impacted on services or service users, possibly because of the slow pace of change. But those that had seen a change were more likely to report it as negative rather than positive; in some cases considerably more likely. Only 3 in 10 organisations felt that the level of funding provided by CRCs allowed them to deliver a high quality service.

“…seeing more people for less money impacts upon quality. Good offender work always has been built on strong relationships.– Survey respondent

The voluntary sector’s relationship with probation is being negatively affected by a lack of communication, with many being left in the dark as to what is happening. This has led to reports of confusion and uncertainty about what services are being offered, where, and by who.

Since TR we have very little (almost none) direct contact with senior CRC managers. We are left to ‘paddle our own canoe’. Communication is a one way street. ” – Survey respondent