HC Deb 23 July 2004 vol 424 cc879-80W
Mr. Alan Duncan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to encourage voluntary activity among(a) senior civil servants and (b) members of the Cabinet. [185081]

Fiona Mactaggart

[holding answer 19 July 2004]: Volunteering within the Home Office is encouraged at all levels including senior civil servants particularly through a new scheme called the "Out of Office Experience," which has been running for the last 12 months. As part of this initiative staff are encouraged to apply for up to five days Special Annual Leave per year, with pay, to undertake voluntary work. The initiative encourages volunteering and enables staff to see Home Office policies being delivered at the front line.

There is no specific initiative in place to encourage volunteering among Cabinet members, but all ministers witness at first hand the dedication of many volunteers and the valuable contribution their activity makes in many areas of life when they undertake official visits to agencies that use volunteers.