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NCVO and ACEVO launch working group on flexible working

Melanie May | 12 August 2021 | News

Launched by NCVO and ACEVO with support from executive search firm Starfish Search, the working group will address some of the barriers and stigma about flexible working as well as sharing examples of good practice across the sector.

It will be chaired by Becky Hewitt, former CEO of Changing Faces, with up to ten members from across the voluntary sector. The group will report their findings later this year, which will include signposting to key resources on flexible working to support voluntary organisations.

NCVO and ACEVO are looking for people to join the group, which they want to reflect a wide diversity of reasons people look for flexibility, and experience of barriers to being offered flexible roles, organisational roles, position or expertise. 


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Working group members will be asked to: 

Anyone interested in applying is invited to send an application of no more than 150 words covering their name, position / organisation, motivation for joining the group and what they would hope to contribute, by Friday 10 September to Jo*********@nc**.uk

Becky Hewitt, Chair of the Flexible Working Group, said:

“When I first started thinking about becoming a CEO – my single biggest anxiety was that conversation about flexible working. While I did work a four-day week, I heard from so many in the sector who were concerned about balancing work with their role as parents, as carers, or with supporting their own physical or mental health.


At a time when we need a diverse pool of exceptional, motivated, passionate leaders more than ever, we urgently need to change our attitude to flexible working. The pandemic has shown that people can work flexibly effectively but we have to learn from people’s experiences and encourage employers to embed flexible working in a way that works for everyone.”

Sarah Vibert, Interim Chief Executive, NCVO, said:

“I know from personal experience home-schooling two young children while in a charity leadership role during the pandemic, how important flexibility at work can be. Genuinely flexible working arrangements that respond to individual circumstances such as those who have caring responsibilities, physical or mental health conditions or to support staff wellbeing more broadly brings huge benefits to individuals and organisations. Flexibility is central to inclusion.


“We are now at a key moment when many NCVO members are telling us they want to make permanent changes to working arrangements. I hope the work of this new group will encourage organisations to engage staff openly in conversations around formalising flexible working and how we can move beyond well-intended policies to make it work in practice.


“But flexible working can’t just be about individual employers. It is important that a wider culture across the voluntary sector embraces the opportunities that flexible working can bring.”

April’s Future of Work Report 2021 from Blackbaud Europe in partnership with The Resource Alliance found that 90% of charity professionals wanted flexible working to continue long-term, and 43% said that they would never apply for a job that was entirely office-based. Yet, the research also raised concerns, with 72% admitting they worked longer hours at home and that boundaries between home and work were a challenge.