National Council for Voluntary Organisations

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.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Formation1919, as the National Council of Social Services (NCSS)
Legal statuscharity and membership organisation
Region served
Chief Executive
Karl Wilding


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.


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.[4]

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 had recently merged itself with Student Volunteering England).[5]

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

Previous PresidentsEdit


NCVO's President, since November 2017, is Baroness Jill Pitkeathley.[6]

Anne Heal is NCVO's interim Chair.[6]

The Chief Executive is Karl Wilding, who succeeded Sir Stuart Etherington in 2020. Etherington succeeded Judy Weleminsky in 1994.

Sister organisationsEdit

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


  1. ^ a b "About Us: NCVO membership". NCVO. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Charity overview". Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ "NCVO Strategy 2014–19". About Us. NCVO. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ "History". NCVO. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Volunteering England trustees named for NCVO merger" (Press release). NCVO. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Our governance". NCVO. Retrieved 4 March 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • 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 linksEdit