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Voluntary engagement has a central place in the Government’s policy platform and is an integral component of almost all policy areas. Furthermore, it has issued a letter of intent on interaction with the voluntary sector [Frivillighetserklæringen].
Voluntary organizations are supported through state grant schemes which are administered though the relevant ministry according to sector, or on behalf of the relevant ministry by underlying government agencies or civil society organizations. The Ministry of Culture has published a cross-ministerial guide [Veileder: Forenkling av statlige tilskuddsordninger for frivillige organisasjoner] to make it easy for voluntary organizations to apply for and report on state grants. The Ministry of Children and Families provides basic support to voluntary youth organizations. Grants to youth organizations are administered by the Grant Allocation Committee, whose secretariat is at the Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. The grants are regulated by the Regulations concerning grants to voluntary youth organizations of 29 November 2007, amended on 15 September 2009.
Most municipalities and counties have funds to which local volunteer organizations, foundations, ad-hoc groups and individuals can apply for funding.
The value added tax compensation scheme [momskompensasjon for frivillige organisasjoner] aims to promote voluntary activities. The scheme is intended to compensate for costs that voluntary organizations incur for VAT when purchasing goods and services.
There is a Public Registry for Voluntary Activity [Frivillighetsregisteret] established by law [Lov 29. juni 2007 nr. 88 om register for frivillig virksomhet (frivillighetsregisterloven)]
The purpose of the registry is to
- Strengthen the knowledge base regarding the voluntary sector in Norway.
- Simplify the dialogue between voluntary organizations and the government.
- Lay the foundation for policy development.
Organizations, foundations, or actors who receive funding from the National Lottery [Norsk Tipping] are obliged to register with the Public Registry for Voluntary Activity. Organizations, foundations, or actors who register may also apply for VAT deduction through the value added tax compensation scheme.
The main non-public actors taking part in the development of policies that have a bearing on youth volunteering are:
- The association of NGOs in Norway [Frivillighet Norge] which is an umbrella organization for more than 300 member organizations that together have more than 50,000 local branches throughout Norway. Many of the member organizations are youth organizations. The mission of the Association is to coordinate the voluntary sector’s dialogue with the authorities on issues that are common to the voluntary sector, and to voice the voluntary sector’s opinions to the public and the authorities. Another important task is to produce information and give advice to the member organizations.
- The Norwegian Children and Youth Council [Landsrådet for Noregs barne- og ungdomsorganisasjoner (LNU)] is an umbrella organization representing just under one hundred Norwegian children and youth organizations. As mentioned earlier in this chapter the organization administers the project support scheme Mangfold og inkludering [Diversity and Inclusion] on behalf of the Ministry of Children and Families.
- The Norwegian association of youth with disabilities [Unge Funksjonshemmede] is an umbrella organization representing 37 organizations for children and youth with disabilities or chronic disease.
The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities [KS – Kommunenes sentralforbund] and the Association of NGOs in Norway [Frivillighet Norge] have signed a joint platform defining principles and actions to strengthen the relationship between the public and voluntary sectors in Norway. Local organizations, municipalities and county municipalities are encouraged to establish similar collaborative platforms at the local level.
Volunteer centres [Frivillighetssentraler] are local meeting places that link individuals and organizations together to create a good voluntary environment and activities. This is done in collaboration with local public authorities. There are currently 463 volunteer centres in operation in Norway, distributed among 307 municipalities. The volunteer centres have received operating grants through the national budget but as of 2017, the responsibility for allocating funds to the volunteer centres has been transferred from state to municipality.
The letter of intent on interaction between the government and the voluntary sector [Frivillighetserklæringen] described earlier in this chapter sets the framework for dialogue and interaction with the voluntary sector, regardless of ministry, directorate or agency, and shall contribute to a comprehensive and cross-sectoral volunteer policy.