2.10 Current debates and reforms
Forthcoming policy developments
On a national level the main current debate on volunteering are the amendments to the Voluntary Organisations Act that are currently being scrutinised by the Parliament and will be enacted end 2018. One of the main amendments to the act is the fact that all voluntary organisations, including youth organisations, will be obliged to notify the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations of their existence. Moreover, those organisations that make public collections, receive Governments or sponsorships, or any organisation with an income of over €25,000 or had an income of over €5,000 for 3 consecutive years annually will be obliged to enrol with the Office of the Commissioner. The Commissioner will also be vested with the power of investigation on money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The amendments will also make possible for minors who attained the age of 16 to establish a Voluntary Organisation and also to vote in Annual General Meetings.
Also, the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector will be reorganised and shall have representatives from 6 sectors one of which is Youth. In this regard youth organisations will be having an elected representative on the Council.
The Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector has issued a discussion paper entitled – National Strategy on Volunteering 2018. This would be the first time Malta would have a volunteering strategy. This National Volunteer Strategy intends to provide connection and co-ordination across both National and Local Government to support better on all dimensions the volunteer sector and make better use of all available resources. The Strategy would focus on coordinating research, consultation with the sector and implementation of reforms to support the sector at an organisational and individual level. A truly national strategy must provide an opportunity for coordinated policy development and decision-making at the national and local levels that will be reflected in specific national and local actions. In this regard the Discussion paper is proposing a number of recommendations:
- That all levels of government make a commitment, in principle, to the development of a National Volunteer Strategy with a long term vision to strengthen volunteering in Malta;
- That an appropriate level of government funding be allocated to support the development and ongoing viability of a National Volunteer Strategy;
- That a National Volunteer Strategy be sector-driven with input and support from all stakeholders – community, government and business;
- That the development of a National Volunteer Strategy would serve to expand volunteering infrastructure of national, regional and local organisations avoiding duplication of resources in the creation of parallel infrastructure.
The current debate on Youth Volunteering circles around the newly introduced European Solidarity Corps through which young people will be able to do voluntary work both in-country and abroad. The current debate revolves around the issue of how such a programme will affect volunteering in Malta both as hosts and volunteers.