Value Our Volunteers Motion by Cllr Davey

For those not familiar with the council process a Motion is a request made by a Councillor for an issue to be discussed at a Council Meeting and for a decision to be made.

We can bring a motion to full council and the idea is Councillors say what they think about the subject and vote.

Predictably, the Tories on mass, with the exception of Cllr Stimson who abstained, said NO to my motion.

To my logical way of looking at it, the Tories (Nationally) want volunteers to do all the work and then invite companies that are good at writing tenders (many of whom donate to the Tory party) to sweep up Government Funding and push those that do things with love to the back of the room.

It was probably every thus but that doesn’t mean it is the right way to do things. So I went looking for change… here is my Motion in bold and my speech…

Motion a)  By Councillor Davey

This Council respects the value of its volunteers and charity leaders and will pay a fair consultancy rate to the relevant charity when one of their employees, volunteers or trustees are invited to meetings where their knowledge is sought by RBWM and partner organisations who may go on to use that information for their own financial gain.

I’m not going to share specifics in public as I fear for the potential backlash to the organisation that told me how they shared information and then watched as a third party contractor made money from their insight. 

I have experienced this personally, in the noughties I ran a very successful business network called “Business in Berkshire” and helped drive business owners to Business Link workshops not realising the business model arrangement they had with the Government until much further down the line.

We increasingly keep hearing about using volunteers when we should really be funding professionals. If RBWM can’t afford to pay them immediately, if funding should land from their consultancy then they should be given the opportunity to be paid to deliver the service.

My extensive experience of volunteers tells me that most are doing what they do through personal experience that feeds their desire to help as best they can. So being asked questions around something they know, by people they trust, then they are likely to want to be of assistance and share information freely in the meeting.

For this info to be used by a third party “listening in” with an eye on a tender for Government funding to my mind is ethically wrong.

But why let ethics get in the way of “good business”?

So please, moving forward, can we start paying a fair consultancy rate, when feasible, to the relevant charity when one of their employees, volunteers or trustees are asked for insight into how things work.

Thank you.


Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

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