Keep Volunteering Voluntary

Many of you will know that the government’s latest mandatory work-for-benefits scheme – ‘Community Work Placements’ – comes into force today, 28th April. This will force long term unemployed people to work without pay for 30 hours a week for up to 26 weeks in “placements that are of benefit to the community”. The DWP and their contractors will be relying heavily on charities, voluntary organisations and community groups to provide the settings for these placements. Claimants who fail to start or participate in this programme will have their benefits stopped.

Whatever your views about getting people into work, let’s be clear: this scheme is forced labour which leads to destitution if people do not participate. It makes a mockery of the principles and practice of volunteering and the charitable purposes of alleviating poverty. It is shameful. You and your group can stop it.

NCIA is working with Boycott Workfare ( to campaign against participation in this scheme. We have today (28th April) launched a campaign to ask voluntary groups to sign up to the following statement:

Keep Volunteering Voluntary

As charities and voluntary organisations we know the value of volunteering.

Volunteering means people independently choosing to give their time freely to help others and make the world a better place. 

Workfare schemes force unemployed people to carry out unpaid work or face benefit sanctions that can cause hardship and destitution. 

We believe in keeping volunteering voluntary and will not participate in government workfare schemes.”

If you agree with the statement, sign up at and get other groups to do the same. More than 70 groups have already signed, from the largest to the smallest: Oxfam, Children England, NAVCA, Derman, 42nd Street, Hackney Refugee Forum, SCVO, Adur Voluntary Action…….

And if you’re not convinced, check out the site for reasons why you should be!

National Coalition for Independent Action