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Volunteering for All – Scotland’s national framework


Mandy Andrew ,

Health And Social Care Alliance, Scotland, GB
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Alan Stevenson,

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Natalie Masterson

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Volunteering for All: national framework was developed by the Scottish Government jointly with partners from the volunteer and community sector, local government, NHS, and with volunteers.


The objective of the Framework is to:

•           provide a coherent and compelling narrative for volunteering;

•           Define the key outcomes desired for volunteering over the next ten years;

•           Identify the key data and evidence to inform, indicate and drive performance; and

•           to inform the optimal combination of programmes, investments and interventions.


Scottish Government convened a group, November 2020, of stakeholders to discuss the creation of the Volunteering Action Plan based on this high level ‘framework'.

Aims Objectives Theory or Methods

The overall vision is Scotland where everyone can volunteer, more often, and throughout their lives.

The Volunteering Action Plan provides practical ‘actions on the ground’ achieved through co-production, learning and a spirit of reciprocity involving volunteers, communities and public and private sectors at all development stages.

The Plan’s development is modelled on the Human Learning Systems (HLS) which is a response to complexity developed by Dr Toby Lowe and Collaborate CIC  and involves utilising various methods and tools.

Highlights or Results or Key Findings

The aim is to co-produce ‘The Plan’ through a group and individual ‘HLS’ learning journey:

•           Explore the HLS methodology and reflect upon its implications (be part of a learning community)

•           Enquire through considering evidence and introducing ‘lived experience’

•           Understand the system, the existing state and the ‘ideal’; what a purpose and vision should be.

•           Change the system. In this action planning context this is about scoping activity but it’s also about experimentation.

Within the timeframe of one year we’ll translate five outcome areas into specific actions. The Plan will be a ‘living document’ which will continue to be reviewed, updated and enhanced over the next decade.

As important, participants will learn about their role within a complex system and a very different approach to enacting change (i.e. learning, building relationships and experimentation). This is a competing approach to the dominant paradigm; new public management  (Shalock & Bonham, 2003).


This Plan process is transformational, recognising outcomes are achieved by systems rather than organisations. This process is innovative and inclusive, involving volunteers, communities and organisations. Important outputs are a ‘living document’ for the next decade and a more resilient sector, able to adapt and change, relevant in 2021 and beyond.

Implications for applicability/transferability sustainability and limitations

A range of materials will be generated: an online toolkit and process evaluation. This Plan process can be repeated by other cohorts; a ‘live’ plan is a national ‘test and learn’ programme.

This provides important learning for HLS applied to other contexts as part of an international HLS learning community.

How to Cite: Andrew M, Stevenson A, Masterson N. Volunteering for All – Scotland’s national framework. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S2):163. DOI:
Published on 16 May 2022.


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