§ Mr. John Ellis
asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the future co-ordination 95W arrangements for the British Volunteer Programme.
§ Mrs. Hart
The Council for Volunteers Overseas, under the chairmanship of Lord Hunt, CBE, DSO, and the British Volunteer Programme (BVP) Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. Peter Mason, MBE, support and co-ordinate the work of the four societies which recruit volunteers for service in developing countries—namely, the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), International Voluntary Service (IVS), the United Nations Association (UNA), and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
The arrangement were reviewed in 1973 by a committee under Lord Hunt. As a result, the council in its present form is to be discontinued and its members invited to become Friends of the BVP. It will be succeeded by a new BVP Council which will consist of representatives from the four societies, four returned volunteers, 10 additional members appointed for their personal interest in volunteering and the contribution they can make to aspects of development, with representation from the Ministry of Overseas Development and the British Council. The main function of the new council will be to advise on how volunteers can best contribute to the development needs of overseas countries, and to raise financial and other support for the programme. The chairman will be elected from the council members.
A new BVP committee will undertake general co-ordination of the work of the societies and formulate policy for the advancement of the programme. It will comprise a representative from each society and from the Ministry of Overseas Development, the British Council, and Returned Volunteer Action. The member societies will provide the chairman in rotation for periods of two years. The BVP secretariat will continue to be serviced by the National Council of Social Service.
I am glad to concur in these arrangements. I take the opportunity of paying tribute to the valuable public work carried out by the Council for Volunteers Overseas and by all others concerned with the British Volunteer Programme during the past decade.