2.10 Current debates and reforms
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A policy process existed to prepare new Draft law of the New Act on volunteering, however it failed. The aims of the process were:
- eliminate legal barriers and support volunteering system development
- introduce a new definition of volunteering and volunteers
- define forms of volunteering (as there is only an insufficient definition in the Act on voluntary service)
The Government Legislative Council approved the factual intention of the Government on September 10th 2015. Subsequently, the Government accepted it as well and assigned the Ministry of the Interior the task of submitting a draft of the Act on volunteering until June 30th 2016.
The Ministry of the Interior asked to postpone the deadline until autumn 2016 and as a reason stated the fact that it is necessary to resolve the situation whereby an Act on public beneficiary that is a follow-up law of the new Civil Code still does not exist.
During 2016 when the inter-sectorial comment procedure was closed, the Ministry of the Interior decided to propose to the Government to withdraw the proposal, because the level of regulation was not favourable to the voluntary organisations - so it was against the primary goal.
However, there are specific initiatives of the Ministry of the Interior to support 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 in the years 2016-2020 focus on supporting regional volunteering centres and creating guidelines for their operation. Part of the project is to create a national Strategy for volunteering development, however mostly in social services and public administration. Youth is not the main target of these initiatives.
Outcomes of the project are publically available on the website of the Ministry of Interior including the draft of the new Draft of the State Concept on the Volunteering development 2019 - 2025. It awaits approval by the Ministry.
Longer lasting public and expert discussion within volunteering is a question of How to measure the financial value of volunteering? It is linked to the practical issue of how to project the value of volunteering into an organisation's accountancy. The point is how to determine the value of voluntary work per hour to be accurate and usable for co-financing projects by voluntary work.
One solution offered by the SAFE project:
- The median of wages published by the Czech Statistical Office for the year 2014 (the most recent) in individual classification categories of the NACE occupation, was used for calculation of financial expression of the value of voluntary work. This way, an average wage of 143.76 CZK was calculated ( using the weighted average methodology). The Ministry of the Interior uses its own calculations and set a value of 71 CZK (as expressed in the Draft law of the prepared Act on volunteering).
An important negotiation has taken place between the Czech Statistical Office and the Ministry of the Interior on specialised survey aiming at volunteering. Following debates on details with researchers of the Czech Statistical Office, this survey should be done in 2023 according to the ILO Manual on the measurement of volunteer work. This means that the results would be comparable with other countries.
The national centre for volunteering together with The College of Polytechnics Jihlava prepared thanks to public support from the Technological Agency of the Czech Republic an application called "Dobrometer" (A Goodwill meter") focused on the evidence of the value of volunteering and voluntary work. The application was presented in 2021 and is freely available to interested NGOs and other parties.
Volunteering in general, and of young people as well, enjoyed a wide boom during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Many youth organizations and other NGOs prepared a vide range of voluntary activities and possibilities how young people can help others.
Due to the nature of the state subsidy system for the youth work for NGOs a discussion started about better definition and criteria for supporting voluntary youth work in contrast to commercial youth work activities in order to provide effective support to youth volunteering and voluntary youth work.