2.6 Quality assurance
There is no uniform framework programme for youth volunteering in Austria. Therefore, there is no uniform quality assurance (QA) system in this field.
The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is mainly responsible for QA of voluntary activities. In general, however, the voluntary organisations are responsible for evaluating technical and practical supervision and educational guidance.
Quality management in volunteering has become a central concern for many institutions and organisations working with volunteers and is also a topic of professional discourse between organisations. Many NPOs have already developed quality management systems that are based on a dynamic design and improvement process and pursue a comprehensive range of quality objectives (Löffler 2015:102). Every three years or by request, volunteer organisations and institutions have to present their QA reports to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection. The Health and Safety Executive investigates all organisations.
The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection in co-operation with the Austrian Volunteer Council (Österreichischer Freiwilligenrat) periodically draws up a report on the status and development of a commitment to voluntary work in Austria. Three reports (Freiwilligenberichte) have been published so far.
In addition to the Volunteer Reports, the internet portal (www.freiwilligenweb.at) of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection serves as a central Austrian information and networking medium - thus contributing to the networking of the Austrian voluntary sector with the various regional and local initiatives.
There is no common feedback mechanism for young volunteers.
Q&A for Youth Volunteer Programs in Austria and Abroad
The Voluntary Social Year in Austria, governed by the §11 Volunteer Act, requires recognized providers (zugelassene Träger) to undergo a rigorous admission process and regular evaluations. Umbrella organizations of social insurance institutions report volunteer information to the Ministry. Providers categorize assistance activities (§7 Volunteer Act) and submit reports to the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research every three years. These measures ensure quality assurance and identify areas for improvement.
Organizations participating in volunteer programs abroad, like European Voluntary Service (EVS) and European Solidarity Corps (ESC), must have valid accreditation or collaborate with an accredited intermediary organization (Voraussetzungen für Qualitätssiegel). Austria's accreditation can be obtained through the Austrian National Agency (OeAD), with regional offices providing guidance to participants and organizations involved in these programs (Spreitzer 2019:50f.).