Angus Council defends treatment of volunteers

Angus Council has hit back at suggestions there are numerous problems related to volunteering within its social work and health department — by pinpointing a new report which praises management within the service.

The study, which was undertaken by the local authority in partnership with Volunteer Centre Angus, focuses on the impact of volunteering both on the service user and the volunteer.

It follows the publication of the annual report on volunteering within social work and health, which identified various areas for improvement — including communication, the processing of expenses and training.

The latest report, also commissioned by department director Robert Peat, states the management support and resources for volunteering are “commendable to the extent that the robust guidance and practices within social work and health have been used by other council departments, agencies and services.”

It also states that the high numbers of volunteers in the county helped the council to reach many more people, particularly those who faced disadvantage and exclusion.

The findings were welcomed both by Gary Malone, manager of Volunteer Centre Angus, and convener of the health and social work committee, Councillor Alison Andrews.

Mrs Andrews said, “We value our volunteers and will build on the long-established relationship with the Volunteer Centre Angus to create and enhance other partnerships.

“We will include the report’s recommendations in our action plan for the forthcoming year.”

However, the report also identified several areas for “essential” improvement, further to those outlined in the annual health and social work report.

While Mr Peat thought it “commendable” that the department aimed to recruit to reflect equality and diversity, he argued that more could be done to involve people with additional support needs, those from ethnic minority groups and the migrant worker communities which have lately become prominent in Angus.

He also suggested participation by young people should be encouraged, by appealing to their talents and interests.