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The voluntary contribution to UK childhood bereavement services : locating the place and experiences of unpaid staff.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2008
Issue number3
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)258-281
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper describes the unpaid contribution to UK childhood bereavement service provision. Data on staffing was gained through a national postal survey and eight organizational case studies. Compared to volunteers in specialist palliative care and hospice settings, unpaid staff were drawn from a younger age range, were more likely to be in full or part-time employment, and had more personal experience of a close bereavement. Whilst services were located in both the statutory and non-statutory sector, the use of unpaid staff was not so clearly differentiated. Three types of staffing arrangements were identified: services run solely by paid staff (11%), solely by unpaid staff (14%), or by a mixture of both (73%). The study highlighted the ambiguity in defining “voluntary,” and the difference in the use of unpaid staff, both within and between services. The terms “operational” and “non-operational” staff, and “core” and “support” operational activities, were introduced to reflect more fully the diversity, levels of responsibility, and extent to which services rely on unpaid staffing to deliver their core work. The changing nature of the UK non-statutory sector and the increasing pressure to bureaucratize services creates additional complexity that will need to be addressed in the near future.