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In the Czech Republic, we can observe a nondirective approach to the management of formal volunteering. Formal voluntary activities fall within the scope of the Act On voluntary service (see Chapter 2.1); in detail, it concerns the condition that they take place in organisations that were accredited by the Ministry of the Interior (MI). In these cases, the responsible authority is MI, the Department of Security Policy and Crime Prevention.
Volunteering in the Czech Republic, however, takes place mainly in non-accredited organisations and therefore it is not regulated by any specific law, and this is true also in cases that are officially marked as formal volunteering. Methodologically, in some cases, organisations are supported with materials from various ministries in a specific field. Also, organisations themselves try to regulate voluntary activities through their own documents.
Production of methodological materials in the field of social work, health care and emergencies:
- The Act On social services (Act no. 108/2006 Sb. as amended) refers to the Act on voluntary services, while rules for voluntary activities in social services are governed by the Standard of quality of social services.
- The position of volunteers is similar to that of other employees of organisations providing social services.
The Ministry of Health (MH) refers to the Act on voluntary service. It also defines specificities of volunteering in health care through methodological recommendations. These recommendations deal with various aspects of volunteering in medical facilities, from the introduction of voluntary programmes to their evaluation.
Methodological material concerning volunteering in emergencies:
- Published by the Ministry of the Interior in accordance with the Act on voluntary service.
- The document provides an overview of the legal framework of volunteering in emergencies and a set of practical steps to be followed in emergencies to involve volunteers securely and effectively.
One specific possibility of state volunteering is in the Army Reserves:
- Aktivní zálohy (Army Reserves) is created based on the Act no. 585/2004 Sb. on Army Obligations and its Arrangement (Army Law) and Act no. 45/2016 Sb. on the service of soldiers in reserve valid since 1st of July 2016.
- According to the legislation, a soldier in Reserve is a citizen who has reached at least 18 years of age and who voluntarily assumes the military obligation and successfully passes a six-week military training.
- For the voluntary service persons can gain a reward in the amount of 18 000 CZK (ca 700 EUR) a year. Higher Education Students can gain a bonus of 6000 CZK (ca 230 EUR) in the first year of voluntary service.
No other binding or methodological documents on volunteering can be found at a ministerial level.
The main responsible authority in the volunteering field is the Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for implementation of the Act on voluntary service.
Other areas can be found where other actors (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA), Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports) are engaged.
These cases are clearly identifiable efforts to influence voluntary activity governed by the Act on voluntary service, but also voluntary activity that takes place outside of the scope of the Act (especially in cases of methodological materials).
It necessary to add that in the case of cross-border volunteering (e.g. Evropská dobrovolná služba/European Voluntary Service) the responsible authority is MEYS's sponsored organisation Dům zahraniční spolupráce (The Centre for International Cooperation in Education).
Also in the field of volunteering not governed by the Act on voluntary service, we can see efforts of individual organisations to undertake a coordinated approach by creating their own codices or directives for work and definition of volunteers' statutes. These are based on self-regulation and fall under the Civil Law.
Ministry of the Interior
Is responsible for the legal regulation of voluntary service.
Until 2017, the Ministry was working on a new law that would define volunteering in its broader sense, see also Chapter 2.8. (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports were engaged in the process of preparation).
However, the initiative was abolished due to the different perspectives of various Ministries and sectors.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
Supports youth volunteering and volunteering for youth as one of the priorities in the last state Youth Strategy 2014 - 2020 (Strategical Goal Nr. 9 'To create favourable conditions for volunteering for young people, including valuation and recognition of voluntary activities'). The support to volunteering of young people is mentioned also in the Education 2030+ Strategy.
A semi-budgetary organisation established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Administrates the programme Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps.
Other non-state actors influencing youth volunteering
In February 2018, 3 695 non-governmental organisations active in the field of organising activities for Children and Youth (CZ-NACE code 94 991, NKU 2018 acc. to ARES 2018). 2219 were associations (60,05 %), 1386 were adjacent associations (37,51 %). The rest covers other legal forms as foundations (0,05 %), Funds (0,11 %), Church legal entities (0,03 %) and others.
Czech Council of Children and Youth (Česká rada dětí a mládeže, CRDM)
- Is an umbrella organisation of Children and Youth associations in the Czech Republic and the official National Youth Council.
- In 2020 CRDM has 97 member organizations. In 2018 194 youth organizations were also members of the Regional Youth Councils within the CRDM.
- CRDM comments on a regular basis on relevant political processes and is one of the non-state proponents of the new Act on volunteering.
- Within the European Year of Volunteering in 2011, CRDM served as a leader of the working group dealing with volunteering for young people.
- CRDM supports awareness on volunteering among young people through various projects such as ADAM or 72 hours for volunteering.
- Methodologically supports social, economic and political conditions for volunteering for young people, e.g. through the SAFE project which in the Czech context implemented the measurement of voluntary work by the International Labour Organisation, or Roads to recognition to support validation of educational outcomes gained by volunteering and others.
Associations of Children and Youth
- Concerns the performance of youth volunteering.
- Majority of them are associated within the CRDM and regional youth council's structure.
- The overall list of CRDM member organisations can be found on ČRDM webpages.
- In practice, each member who is more than 15 years old has his/her own voluntary role within the organisation – either regular in the form of any function, or occasionally, mainly in summer camps and other events throughout the year.
National Association for Volunteering, z.s (Národní asociace Dobrovolnictví)
- It is a voluntary member association for organisations dealing with volunteering and voluntary programmes.
- Main activities focus on the 5P volunteer programme dedicated to school-age children and supporting the social-legal protection of children.
Volunteering in sport:
- Based on Ministry of Education best practices report from 2011, there are around 200 000 of organised volunteers in the sport in the Czech Republic who ensure, nationwide, various activities necessary for the existence of organised sport. By the end of 2018, there will be filled by the data new Register for sports bringing more accurate information.
- It concerns both highly professional work (trainers, instructors) that demands certain education, and work that does not require professional competencies (organising, transport, maintenance etc.).
- Without volunteers' contribution, sport would become more unavailable.
A number of smaller organisations implement youth voluntary programmes not only on a national level but also abroad, such as INEX-SDA, AIESEC, AFS Mezikulturní programy (AFS Intercultural Programmes) and others.
General distribution of responsibilities
There is no binding distribution of responsibilities between top-level and regional and local Authorities in the field of volunteering.
However, there are specific initiatives of the Ministry of the Interior to support the development of volunteering at a local level, especially with the EU-funded project 'Concept of volunteering development in the Czech Republic with an emphasis on ensuring the regional and professional availability of volunteering in the form of volunteer centres' which is focused on supporting regional volunteering centres and creating guidelines for their operation in years 2016-2021. Part of the project is to create a national strategy for volunteering development. However, this is mostly in social services and public administration. There is also proposal of Concept of volunteering development in the Czech Republic 2019-202.
Another initiative of the Ministry of the Interior funded by EU funds to support volunteering at the local level in the area of security was a project called 'Security Volunteer' (2014-2017), providing financial support to municipalities to introduce volunteering to improve safety and security at a local level. There is a manual for municipalities on how to run such activities.
As there is no youth voluntary scheme or regulation directly on youth volunteering, there is also no specific cross-sectoral cooperation on the issue.
There were structures during and after the European Year of Volunteering in 2011 when there were an Inter-sectorial coordination committee and 11 thematic working groups. One of them was dedicated to volunteering regarding work with Children and Youth. The Group is not formally active anymore, but informally the representatives are in touch, and they have been involved for example in the preparation of the Act on supporting volunteering when it was relevant. Some other thematic groups are still working in social or health issues. Some of them have thus found other task, some finished, such as the thematic group on culture when the guidelines for volunteering in culture were created.
Cross-sectoral cooperation is thus up to the needs of respective sectors and policy domain. Ministry of Interior is dealing with the issue.