Debates between Baroness Sater and Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay during the 2019 Parliament

Charities and Civil Society: Ministerial Responsibility

Debate between Baroness Sater and Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Tuesday 23rd November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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The Minister with responsibility for civil society is my honourable friend Nigel Huddleston, not my right honourable friend Michael Gove, though, as I say, all Ministers across government work with the third sector in the important work they do. I also point out that responsibility for the voluntary sector and volunteering in the Welsh Government is held by two people who combine that with responsibilities for welfare reform, fuel poverty, fire and rescue services, domestic abuse, youth justice, community safety and much else.

Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. As has been said, volunteers have always played an incredible role in British life. I think of the Olympics, the Paralympics, the ongoing Covid pandemic and the tireless efforts of millions of everyday people across the country. Does my noble friend agree that more can be done to harness and galvanise the spirit of volunteering by introducing a framework that links a volunteer’s voice within and across national and local government, and a volunteer champion to protect and recognise achievements, to stand up for their views and interests, and to help order the future functioning of volunteering? Will my noble friend therefore consider appointing a commissioner for volunteering to support the sector and give it the status that it so richly deserves?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, the Government highly value the contribution of volunteers across the whole of society. We witnessed the huge difference they can make during the pandemic, as well as in the examples my noble friend raised. Volunteers are represented in discussions with government by a variety of sector representatives and bodies, but I will take her interesting suggestion back to my honourable friend the Minister and discuss it. I have also pointed to the volunteering futures fund, which the Government have announced to support more people to volunteer and play their important role.