Home Secretary pushes for more voluntary work

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Secretary David Blunkett has called on employers to take a more active role in
building a civil society by allowing staff to do more volunteer work.

Speaking
at the annual general meeting of the CBI, he urged organisations to work with
the Government to develop more ways of volunteering for community work.

He
also said he wanted to encourage people to use the transition from work to
retirement as a way into the Experience Corps, a not-for-profit company for
volunteers over 50.

Blunkett
said it was also important that business helped to fight crime and that it was
particularly important to see more employees becoming police specials:
"Building a safer society based on strong communities is in the interests
of business as well as government. That’s why I would like employers to
consider releasing their employees more often and giving them paid leave to
work, for example, as a special constable," he said.

"Business
can also gain from the skills its employees can develop by participating
actively in civic life, such as serving as a magistrate, a school governor, or
a special. These roles help employees develop self-confidence as well as
management and problem solving skills – all of which will benefit their
employer."

The
Home Secretary also hinted that employers might be compensated for allowing
staff to play a greater role in society through a range of financial incentives
to be discussed later this year: "We don’t expect business to do this
without support. Later this year, the Chancellor and I will publish a joint
discussion paper on fiscal and other changes we can make to promote community
service," he added.

By Ross Wigham

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