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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.10 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 28 November 2023

Tackling over-regulation (‘regulitis') in voluntary engagement of young people

The Flemish government wants to recognise, appreciate and stimulate the social commitment of children and young people – based on voluntary engagement. In doing so, the government wants to identify barriers associated with over-regulation and administrative pressure, and provide effective solution strategies. In the light of this objective, the Department of Culture, Youth and Media commissioned a study on the over-regulation with respect to volunteering of young people. Within this research project, the central focus was on the one hand on the experiences surrounding regulitis among young volunteers and the barriers that these experiences do or do not pose for taking up voluntary commitment. On the other hand, the focus was also on what can be learned from local good practices that have dealt with these issues, in order to help local authorities in turn create a framework that supports and strengthens, but certainly does not stifle, the commitment of young volunteers.The study has been published in March 2023 (report in Dutch)

Mandatory criminal record certificate for volunteers and professionals except for youth work

From 1 February 2023, organizations must request and check the extract of criminal records for every new employee and also volunteer who comes into direct contact with minors. This decree is one of the 70 actions included in the Flemish action plan to combat sexual violence. The new obligation applies to organizations that offer an activity that falls under 'education, psycho-medical-social guidance, assistance to youth, child protection, entertainment or guidance of minors'. The aim of the new regulations is to better protect the physical, psychological and sexual safety and integrity of minors. For youth work, the minister has chosen to allow an exception for volunteers.