Commitments

03.1 Supporting Volunteering

Country: Czech Republic
Action Plan: Czech Republic Action Plan 2016-2018
IRM Report: Czech Republic Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)
Year Action Plan: 2016
 |  End Date: 6/30/2018

From the Action Plan

 
3.1 Supporting Volunteering

STATE AND DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM TO BE ADDRESSED BY MAKING THE COMMITMENT Volunteering is an important opportunity for a large number of citizens to engage in activities beneficial to the public on their own free will, in their free time and without a claim to any remuneration or service in return. Currently there is no comprehensive concept for supporting and developing volunteering in the Czech Republic. The current legal regulation (Act No. 198/2002 Coll., on volunteer services, as amended) only applies to organizations that are accredited by the Ministry of the Interior and includes only a few of the total number of volunteers in the Czech Republic. MAIN OBJECTIVE Create conditions for maximizing the society-wide benefit of volunteering. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF COMMITMENT At both the legislative and non-legislative level, the aim is to create conditions to further support and develop volunteering in the Czech Republic. The new Act on Volunteering and its Support will regulate the conditions for all types of volunteering and the support will apply to voluntary organizations and volunteers in and outside the accredited regime. The new concept of development of volunteering will focus especially on practical support and development of volunteering in the Czech Republic and will be based on the summary of foreign and domestic experience and good practice examples. It will also contain recommendations for voluntary organizations and volunteer centres when working with volunteers.

Lead Institution: Ministry of the Interior


Support Institution: Non-profit organizations

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From the IRM Review

 

Year IRM Progress Report Published: 2018

4.3.1 Supporting Volunteering

Commitment Text:

Volunteering is an important opportunity for a large number of citizens to engage in activities beneficial to the public on their own free will, in their free time and without a claim to any remuneration or service in return. Currently there is no comprehensive concept for supporting and developing volunteering in the Czech Republic. The current legal regulation (Act No. 198/2002 Coll., on volunteer services, as amended) only applies to organizations that are accredited by the Ministry of the Interior and includes only a few of the total number of volunteers in the Czech Republic.

Main Objective: Create conditions for maximizing the society-wide benefit of volunteering. At both the legislative and non-legislative level, the aim is to create conditions to further support and develop volunteering in the Czech Republic. The new Act on Volunteering and its Support will regulate the conditions for all types of volunteering and the support will apply to voluntary organizations and volunteers in and outside the accredited regime. The new concept of development of volunteering will focus especially on practical support and development of volunteering in the Czech Republic and will be based on the summary of foreign and domestic experience and good practice examples. It will also contain recommendations for voluntary organizations and volunteer centres when working with volunteers.

Milestones:

1. Distribution of the proposed draft of the Act on Volunteering and Its Support for the interministerial comment procedure

2. Addressing the draft of the proposed Act on Volunteering and Its Support to the Government of the Czech Republic for consideration

3. Start of the analytical phase of drawing up the Concept of the Development of Volunteering

4. Drafting the Concept of the Development of Volunteering by the working group

5. Final version of the Concept of the Development of Volunteering

Responsible institution: Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic

Supporting institution(s): N/A

Commitment Overview

Specificity

OGP Value Relevance

Potential Impact

On Time?

Completion

None

Low

Medium

High

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Tech. and Innov. for Transparency and Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

 

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Complete

Overall

 

 

 

Unclear

 

 

 

No

 

 

 

                                   

Start date: 1 July 2016                                                                        End date: 30 June 2018

Context and Objectives

Efforts to improve the legal milieu for volunteering in the Czech Republic dates back to the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. The current Act on Volunteering (from 2002) does not provide a legal framework for all types of volunteering since it only facilitates accredited[Note122: The volunteer centers are accredited by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. See http://www.mvcr.cz/dobrovolnicka-sluzba.aspx.] volunteer centers. There is no declaratory recognition of volunteering and no legal provision for non-accredited CSOs that depend on volunteers (e.g., Scouts) that would allow them to benefit from state subsidies for volunteering or recognize the value of their volunteers' work as co-financing for their projects.[Note123: The European Commission recognizes the value of volunteer work as co-funding for EU projects. EU member states must introduce methodology setting the hourly value of the work in order for their national CSOs to be eligible for such co-funding. The Czech Republic has not adopted this methodology so far. ] There are also no official nation-wide volunteering statistics.[Note124: There is no budget at the moment to include volunteer questions on regular surveys. Volunteer questions are also missing on EUROSTAT surveys. The Czech Statistical Office uses estimates based on data from CSOs. The Czech Statistical Office, “Dobrovolnici v Cesku” (Mar. 2017), http://www.statistikaamy.cz/2017/03/dobrovolnici-v-cesku/.] Additionally, the civil society sector, and civic space and activities, have been under increasing verbal attack from President Milos Zeman, Senator Jan Veleba, and others.[Note125: Radko Hokovsky et al., 'Ceskem se siri kritika neziskovych organizaci; jsou jim vytykany politicke ambice a parazitovani na statnich penezich. Jak tato kritika ovlivni vasi cinnost?' (Respekt), https://www.respekt.cz/tydenik/2017/4/anketa.] There is a need to facilitate proper functioning of the civil society and civic activism.

The objective of the commitment is to submit the new draft law on volunteering to the government and to design the Concept of the Development of Volunteering. The concept is an output of the Ministry of the Interior's project titled “The Concept of Development of Volunteering in the Czech Republic with an Emphasis on Regional and Professional Availability of Volunteering in Volunteer Centres.' The project was launched in September 2016 and is run by the Department of Security Policy and Crime Prevention of the Ministry of the Interior. It is funded from the EU Structural Fund (Operational Programme Employment) and co-funded from the state budget. The concept aims to propose non-legislative and/or legislative changes, based on relevant analysis, to a legal framework that would lead to the development of volunteer activities at the regional level (whether or not the volunteering is accredited), further development of accredited volunteer centers, and the educational aspect of volunteer work.

By implementing the commitment in line with a need to codify all forms of volunteering, the new law could improve the situation of volunteers and groups organizing or benefiting from the voluntary work of its members. As written, the commitment vaguely points in this direction. It mentions submitting the proposal to the government for consideration as a final action. However, there is no evidence that the project and its activities build on the previous statistical efforts for valuing volunteer work.[Note126: Czech Council of Children and Youth, 'Projects: SAFE” (2018), http://crdm.cz/projekty/safe/. This project operated 2013–2015. ] The results of an envisaged statistical-sociological survey implemented within the project are unclear; it seems to be merely a public opinion poll. For these reasons, the commitment´s potential impact is considered minor. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the commitment is relevant to OGP values. The commitment is listed under the OGP grand challenge Creating Safer Communities, however the link between the commitment and the challenge is not evident from the text. The commitment and milestones overall do not contain specific benchmarks but rather general indicators that cannot be checked against performance; for this reason the specificity is considered moderate. 

Completion

The level of completion of this commitment is limited. For Milestones 1 and 2, the Ministry of the Interior submitted an intent to draft a volunteering law to the consultation procedure within the 2015 legislative plan. The Ministry and civil society agree that the comments and amendments submitted within the procedure would have seriously hampered the final draft of the law and brought additional red tape and financial burden to volunteer organizations. At the request of the Ministry of the Interior, the government cancelled the legislative task in its resolution no. 942 of 24 October 2016.[Note127: The Office of Government, Government Resolution no. 942, “Usneseni vlady Ceske Republiky ke Zprave o plneni ukolu ulozenych vladou s terminem plneni od 1. cervence do 30. zari 2016” (24 Oct. 2016), https://apps.odok.cz/attachment/-/down/IHOAAF5G64CQ.] No further steps in the legislative area are currently envisaged.

Milestones 3, 4, and 5 are ongoing but experience delays due to various reasons, namely the new procedure for public procurement. The comparative analysis, opinion poll, and methodology development are to be subcontracted to external providers. The opening conference of the project took place in December 2016.[Note128: Ministry of the Interior, 'Konference o dobrovolnictvi v Ceske republice' (2018), http://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/konference-o-dobrovolnictvi-v-ceske-republice.aspx. ] Furthermore, wider consultations with CSOs were envisaged but according to one civil society representative, they were not held. According to a civil servant responsible for the project implementation, the expected start and end dates of Milestones 3, 4, and 5 have been pushed back a month later than those stated in the midterm self-assessment report.

 

Next Steps

Given the current tenuous link to OGP values, the commitment should not be carried forward in the next action plan, unless refocused on gathering and publishing volunteer data via the Czech Statistical Office and possibly EUROSTAT. In this regard, the following actions can be taken:

·       Published data should include the financial value of volunteer work;

·       A budget line for such an activity should be approved as well as a methodology setting up the formula for determining the value of volunteer work; and

·       Adoption and public dissemination of the official methodology should facilitate the possibility for the CSOs to use volunteer work value as a co-funding for their projects.

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Overview

Design

Specificity

Not Reviewed
None
Low
Medium
High

Relevant to OGP values

Potential Impact

Not Reviewed
None
Unclear
Minor
Moderate
Transformative

Implementation

Completion at Midterm

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Completion at End of Term

Not Reviewed
Unclear
Not Started
Limited
Substantial
Complete

Results

Did it Open Government?

Worsened
Did Not Change
Minor
Major
Outstanding


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