TSI Scotland Network
Position Statement on Public & Third Sector Cuts and Volunteering (March 2023)
The TSI Scotland Network is a body of charities that support the third sector across Scotland. There are 32 TSIs – or Third Sector Interfaces in Scotland, one for each local authority area. TSIs also have a role in the local implementation of the national Volunteering Action Plan, including helping both public and third sector organisations to find the volunteers they need. The TSI Scotland Network is supported to carry out its main functions by the Third Sector Unit of Scottish Government.
We recognise that there are many pressures on public and third sector budgets at the moment, and that there may be cuts that impact on people volunteering. Where local authorities, for example, withdraw from delivering vital services, there is often the expectation that the community will step in and deliver services as volunteers.
The STUC/Volunteer Scotland Charter sets out the 10 key principles for assuring legitimacy and preventing exploitation of workers and volunteers. We recognise the principles of the Charter including, ”Volunteers should not carry out duties formerly carried out by paid workers nor should they be used to disguise the effects of non-filled vacancies or cuts in services.”
We also support the rights of local communities to respond as they see fit to cuts to local services.
Therefore, as a Network we will take the following position:
• We will not advertise volunteering opportunities that include any role/task previously undertaken by paid staff.
• We will, however, continue to offer volunteering best practice advice and guidance, governance support and capacity building support to the Third Sector on how to sustain a service in the context of the STUC/VS charter when the alternative might be service closure. We may review any decision not to help advertise for volunteers when alternative service delivery models are established.
• We will continue to challenge senior policy/decision-makers regarding such proposals specifically on the grounds of the STUC/VS charter alongside wider issues.
• We will continue to regard some roles as unsuitable for volunteering, such as those involving personal care, and will not advertise those as a matter of course.
For more information on what is happening in each local authority area, contact your local TSI. You can find a directory of TSIs at www.tsi.scot
The STUC/Volunteer Scotland Charter can be accessed at www.stuc.org.uk/fair-work-organising/Union-Reps/vds-volunteer-charter