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Volume 546: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2012

5. What steps he is taking to reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that affects the number of people who volunteer. (110354)

We want to make it much easier to volunteer, so we are implementing most of the recommendations in Lord Hodgson’s excellent report, “Unshackling Good Neighbours”. To identify any remaining burdens, we have launched the civil society red tape challenge and have urged the sector and the public to contribute by visiting the challenge website.

In Sherwood, many people are put off volunteering by unnecessary Criminal Records Bureau checks. Will the Minister update the House on how we can reduce that burden?

That is a frustration felt in many constituencies. My hon. Friend will be aware that changes are under way. There are two major thrusts of change: many fewer people will require checks; and those who do will find it much easier to carry those checks around the system—the portability for which people have been asking for some time. Those changes will largely be in place by next spring, and I am sure that they will be as welcome in Sherwood as they will in Ruislip.

This issue has come up repeatedly. Does the Minister accept that in the coming years the red tape challenge will be judged on the numbers of people who are involved in volunteering and the verdict of those who want to volunteer?

All I know is that it is incumbent on Government to get out of the way as much as they can. Many areas of regulation are too intrusive and take up too much time and money that could be better used. I think that there is cross-party support for wanting to encourage more people to get involved, and if the Government can get out of the way, then we should.