The NCVCCO has 102 registered charities as members, with 253 nominated contacts across England. It is the umbrella organisation for children’s charities which share good practice, influence policy and fight for common causes.
History: The group was originally named the National Council of Associated Children’s Homes, and had seven members (four remain today: Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, NCH, and Shaftesbury). The name changed in 1965 to NCVCCO, and membership increased to include regional and local charities. As a member-led organisation it was not until 1983 that a full-time secretariat was set up. NCVCCO how has a staff of 10.
Members: Currently 102 registered charities are members, with 253 nominated contacts across England. At the recent AGM it was agreed that voluntary organisations which are not registered charities should be eligible for membership. Recognising that these are often very small with limited annual incomes, two new categories of membership have been created: associate members and regional associates.
Fees: The sliding scale of membership fees is related to members’ income.
Mission: To ensure the well-being and safeguarding of children and families through maximising the voluntary sector’s contribution to services.
Main activities: To promote the role of the children’s voluntary sector in providing innovative approaches to meeting the needs of children and young people to speak with a collective voice for the sector to advocate for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to campaign for children to remain at the top of the political agenda to support members’ campaigns (for example, against smacking and on issues of juvenile justice). NCVCCO also has two members sitting on the Children’s Workforce Development Council.
Regional Groups: There is a network of nine regional groups based on the areas covered by the different government offices. Chaired by a volunteer from a member organisation, each group brings together those working in the region (not necessarily based there) to share issues of concerns, exchange good practice, and increasingly to engage with statutory and other partners across the region to promote children’s best interests and to ensure the full engagement of the voluntary sector at all levels.
To capitalise on this work, part-time regional development managers in each region have been appointed, funded under the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Engage programme, led by the National Children’s Bureau.
Good Practice Examples: As well as running workshops, NCVCCO has produced a book, Positively Safe, for the Department for Education and Skills on safe recruitment for small organisations.
A series of conferences showcasing a comprehensive collection of parenting education materials can be seen at www.parentingeducationmaterials.co.uk. Responsibility for maintaining the collection and making I available was transferred to member organisation Parenting UK in April 2006.
The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and NCVCCO have been funded by the Office of the Third Sector to facilitate the engagement and influence of the voluntary children and youth sector in departments not traditionally seen as being their natural homes: the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Communities and Local Government.
“We have also been funded to develop our websites,” adds NCVCCO policy director Ian Vallender, “and create a new one, 0-25, where we will be able to share information more widely and where we will be able to bring the two memberships together”
This article appeared in the 17 May issue under the headline “How to maximise the voluntary sector’s input”