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Records of the Committee on Voluntary Organisations

Identifier: Coll-256

Scope and Contents

The collection includes notes for researchers and indexes. Included in the notes are the guidelines for giving evidence and answering the questionnaire which were sent out to organisations. There is an alphabetical list and numerical list (WE 1 - WE 267) of those organisations providing written evidence, a subject list in addition to the alphabetical and numerical lists, note covering the oral evidence, and alphabetical list and numerical list (OE 1 - OE 93) of those organisations providing oral evidence.


  • Creation: 1974-1978

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

In a note to researchers on conditions of access, signed by H. G. Croly (Secretary to the Wolfenden Committee on Voluntary Organisations) in January 1978, it was a condition of access that anyone wishing to publish an article based on evidence, or quoting from the evidence, should first obtain the Trustees' approval. Their addresses were given in 1978 as: Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust, Beverley House, Shipton Road, York YO3 6RB (This organisation was renamed the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 1990, at - Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Homestead, 40 Water End, York, North Yorkshire YO30 6WP; and, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, Comely Park House, 80 New Row, Dunfermline, Fife KY12 7EJ (address confirmed in 2001). At Edinburgh University Library the material is generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance and bear in mind the Trustees' conditions.

Biographical / Historical

The Committee on Voluntary Organisations was set up and jointly financed by the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust and the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust to review the role and functions of voluntary organisations in the UK over the remainder of the 20th century. The Committee was appointed on 1 October 1974 and was composed of members from all over the UK but with none 'carrying a banner, political, geographical or professional' (according to the published report, p.9). Members of the Committee, serving as individuals rather than as representatives of any bodies or organisations, set about gathering their evidence from both questionnaire and discussion. In response, over three hundred submissions of written evidence were received, and over ninety interviews were held. The records of the Committee were made available to researchers by the Trustees of both Trusts, and copies were deposited at both the British Library of Political and Economic Science (BLPES) in London and at Edinburgh University Library. The Committee on Voluntary Organisations ceased to exist after the report -The future of voluntary organisations- was published in 1978. Sir John Wolfenden (1906-1985), the Chair of the Committee, had also participated in the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, 1954-1957.


2 boxes

Physical Location

Gen. 2034-2035

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Secretary to the Committee on Voluntary Organisations, April 1978. Accession no. E78.11.


The report of the Wolfenden Committee was published in the form of: The future of voluntary organisations. Report of the Wolfenden Committee. London: Croom Helm, 1978.
Records of the Committee on Voluntary Organisations
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379