Four-fifths of members said they would like to do more to support the communities in which they operated but were prevented from doing so by legal barriers, such as Criminal Records Bureau checks or rules which prevent welfare claimants taking part in longer work placements.
Many of the executives surveyed also called for the provision of ‘brokers’ – who could be seconded from local firms – to put companies who wanted to help in touch with projects which needed support. This would prove more efficient than dealing with requests for help on an ad hoc basis, they said.
It is certainly pleasing to see companies demonstrating such a sense of corporate responsibility and although it can never be guaranteed that good intentions will translate into improvements on the ground, there is certainly little for the government to lose by making it as easy as possible for the business community to put its aims into action.
David Cameron has pledged to tackle the issues raised ‘head on’, so it will be interesting to see whether making these changes will have the desired effect. For Mr Cameron to succeed in his plan for the voluntary sector to fill the gap filled by a shrinking state, he needs businesses to play their part.
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