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Hidden Workforce Report - Skills for Health

Hidden Workforce Report - Skills for Health

‘The

‘The Hidden Workforce’- Volunteers in the Health Sector in England 1.13 Helping Out (2007) reports a national survey of volunteering and charitable giving, based on interviews with 2,705 people and carried out for the Office of the Third Sector within the Cabinet Office. As it covers the whole of society, not just healthcare, it provides some context for findings which relate solely to the healthcare sector. 1.14 The Office of the Third Sector has appointed Baroness Julia Neuberger, as a ‘volunteering champion’ and the first of her sector reports was published as Volunteering in the Public Sector: Health and Social Care (2008). The report provides an excellent summary of the key issues, and some inspiring examples of what has been achieved. 1.15 In 2006, Volunteering England published Volunteers across the NHS: improving the patient experience and creating a patient-led service. Department of Health Minister Liam Byrne explains in the introduction that the purpose of the guide is “to help ensure that the NHS uses volunteers well”, because “there is often inconsistency in the way that volunteers are managed and reimbursed”. This document offers practical guidance, for example on how to structure a volunteering policy, how to manage expenses, how to write a volunteer agreement, recruitment, induction, training, support and supervision, and so on, all supported by detailed appendices. 1.16 Volunteering England has also done pioneering research to measure the impact of volunteering within the NHS, and published a summary report as In Good Health: assessing the impact of volunteering in the NHS (2008). Over an 18-month period, an Institute of Volunteering Research (IVR) team evaluated the impact of volunteering within six NHS Trusts. Five individual reports were published, with this summary report, and a companion toolkit. Stephen Ramsden, Chief Executive of the Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust, one of those participating, describes the project in his Foreword as “ a hugely valuable experience”, adding: Volunteers have massive potential to enable us to provide more flexible, patient focused healthcare. They are a resource we cannot afford to waste. 1.17 The Department of Health is giving high priority to volunteering, and has been consulting on the matter, publishing Towards a strategy to support volunteering in health and social care in 2008, and its response to the consultation in 2009. 6

‘The Hidden Workforce’- Volunteers in the Health Sector in England 1.18 Within the Skills for Business Network, Skills Third Sector, the emerging Sector Skills Strategic Body for the Third Sector has links to many pieces of research. Though contextually valuable much of this research relates to third sector bodies and not volunteers, so contributes little to our research. This report 1.19 Our findings are summarised into the following categories: • how big is the volunteer workforce? • what do volunteers do? • what do volunteers contribute? • workforce development issues • recent developments • implications for Skills for Health. 1.20 To keep the report free of unnecessary footnotes, we introduce key documents fully at their first mention, but do not reference every use of them. Full details of each are in the Bibliography. 7

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