National Council for Voluntary Organisations

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National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Formation1919; 104 years ago (1919) (as the National Council of Social Services (NCSS))
Legal statuscharity and membership organisation
HeadquartersSociety Building, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL.
Region served
interim Chief Executive
Sarah Vibert

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England. It is a registered charity (no 225922).[2] NCVO works to support the voluntary and community sector and to create an environment in which an independent civil society can flourish. NCVO has a membership of more than 14,000 voluntary organisations.[1] These range from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level.


NCVO's headquarters are in the King's Cross, London area at Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL.


NCVO aims to:

  • champion volunteering and the voluntary sector
  • strengthen voluntary organisations
  • grow and enhance volunteering, wherever it takes place
  • connect people and organisations
  • be a sustainable and socially responsible organisation[3]


NCVO represents the views of its members, and the wider voluntary sector to government, the European Union and other bodies. It carries out research into, and analysis of, the voluntary and community sector. It campaigns on issues affecting the whole of the voluntary and community sector, such as the role of voluntary and community organisations in public service delivery and the future of local government. It provides information, advice and support to other organisations and individuals working in or with the voluntary and community sector. Many now well-established voluntary organisations started out as projects within NCVO, including Age Concern, Citizens Advice, the Charities Aid Foundation, the Black Environment Network, the Youth Hostel Association and the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs.

In July 2019, NCVO's charity tax commission, chaired by Nicholas Montagu, issued a report calling for the overhaul of tax reliefs to UK charities.[4][5]


NCVO started in 1919 as the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). NCSS was established in order to bring various voluntary bodies together and into closer relationships with government departments. Its foundation was made possible through a legacy from Edward Vivian Birchall, who had played a large part in the emergent voluntary sector before he was killed, aged 32, in France during the First World War.[6]

On 1 April 1980, just over 60 years since its foundation, the National Council of Social Service became the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

On 1 January 2013, NCVO merged with Volunteering England (which itself had recently merged with Student Volunteering England).[7]

The organisation's first headquarters (from 1928 to 1992) were at 26 Bedford Square, London WC1.

Previous Presidents[edit]


NCVO's President, since November 2017, is Baroness Jill Pitkeathley.[8]

Dr Priya Singh is NCVO's Chair.[8]

In late January 2021, Karl Wilding, who had succeeded Sir Stuart Etherington as Chief Executive in 2020, was replaced by Sarah Vibert on an interim basis.[9] Sarah Vibert was appointed on a permanent basis in March 2022. Etherington had succeeded Judy Weleminsky in 1994.

Sister organisations[edit]

The equivalent infrastructure bodies for voluntary organisations in the other UK countries are:


On 5 February 2021, the magazine Third Sector published details of an independent external review of the organisation's culture.[10] The review is reported to have found{{Blockquote|text="evidence of 'bullying and harassment' on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and disability happening 'with impunity' at all levels of the organisation, leaving members of minority groups there feeling 'unsafe at work'.[11]Following the revelations, NCVO announced a series of new strategic decisions including the closing of its searchable database for fundraisers, Funding Central.[12] Karl Wilding stepped down from the position of CEO in February 2021, citing the need for new leadership to bring about systemic cultural change at the organisation.[11]


  1. ^ a b "About Us: NCVO membership". NCVO. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Charity overview". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ "NCVO Strategy 2014–19". About Us. NCVO. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ Preston, Rob (17 July 2019). "Charity tax reliefs in need of 'urgent overhaul', says NCVO commission". Civil Society. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ McLoughlin, Beth (17 July 2019). "Charity tax reforms could unlock a wave of giving". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  6. ^ "History". NCVO. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Volunteering England trustees named for NCVO merger" (Press release). NCVO. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Our governance". NCVO. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Statements from Karl Wilding, chief executive, and Priya Singh, chair of trustees" (Press release). National Council for Voluntary Organisations. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  10. ^ Cooney, Rebecca (5 February 2021). "Bullying and harassment took place 'with impunity' at all levels of the NCVO, report concludes". Third Sector. Retrieved 21 November 2023.
  11. ^ a b Ricketts, Andy (26 January 2021). "Karl Wilding steps down as chief executive of the NCVO". Third Sector. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  12. ^ May, Melanie (2 February 2021). "NCVO's Funding Central to close end of March". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 4 April 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Coles, Kay (1993). National Council for Voluntary Organisations from 1919 to 1993: A Selective Summary of NCVO's Work and Origins, London: NCVO Publications. ISBN 0-7199-1360-8.

External links[edit]