2.6 Quality assurance
Supervision of the implementation of the provisions of the Volunteering Act is in hands of different competent authorities: Ministry of Public Administration (inspectors), Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (inspectors), Information Commissioner.
There are no official documents defining quality standards in the field of youth volunteering in Slovenia. Minimum obligations of organisations when sending and receiving volunteers have been defined by the legislation within the Volunteering Act. Inter alia, the Volunteering Act regulates involvement of young people under age of 15 who can engage in voluntary activities only if these activities contribute to their educational and personal development, if they do not pose a threat to their health and do not prevent them to fulfil school obligations. In addition, Article 11 of the Volunteering Act advises voluntary organisation to place additional precautions when organising activities that involve people with special needs or vulnerable groups.
Monitoring of the implementation of the Volunteering Act, in accordance with its Article 49, is done by inspectors of the Ministry of Public Administrations. Information Commissioner of the Republic of Slovenia monitors the protection of personal data.
In 2006, the cooperation between various voluntary organisations resulted in the development of a Volunteering Ethics Code (Etični kodeks organiziranega prostovoljstva), which contains basic guidelines and minimum standards that volunteers and their organisations are encouraged to comply with. The Code gives basic instructions for voluntary work, applicable to all types of voluntary organisations and volunteers. By signing the Code, an organisation obtains the right to use the logo of Volunteering as a symbol of the quality of their work, which is awarded by the Centre for the Development and Promotion of Voluntary Work of the Slovene Philanthropy.
The Code of Ethics was developed with the assistance of a large number of different organisations and experts in the voluntary sector. The initiative benefitted from the support of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. As of 2 December 2019, 1453 organisations out of more than 1600 which are included in the volunteering network had signed the Code of Ethics.
Amongst other things, the Code emphasises the following:
- respect of confidentiality of personal data;
- working for the best interest of the user;
- no exploitation of power by a volunteer or an organisation;
- active participation of users;
- concern for the integrity, dignity and respect for all the involved (volunteers, users and organisations);
- concern for the reputation of voluntary work.
The Code also specifies that volunteers have the right:
- to be informed about their work and voluntary organisation;
- to be familiarised with the work;
- to get the support and acknowledgement of their work;
- to be provided with opportunities of learning and advancement at work;
- to be given the opportunity to say their opinion and participate in the decision-making;
- to be given the opportunity to participate in the organisation of voluntary work;
- to have expenses reimbursed;
- and to benefit from insurance.
There is a registry of organisations offering volunteering opportunities to volunteers. The legal basis for the registry is the Volunteering Act which in its Article 38 defines that all NGOs carrying out voluntary work have a right to enter the official registry. The electronic registry of voluntary organisations and organisations organising voluntary programmes contains the following information: registration number of a legal person and its data, the activity of a legal person and dates when an organisation entered the registry. Once a year the registered organisations need to submit a report on volunteering, including data on the number of volunteers by gender and age groups and the total number of volunteers’ hours depending on the type of volunteer work. Reports are submitted to the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services for the purpose of national statistics. Aggregated data on volunteer work in Slovenia are submitted to the Ministry of Public Administration, which prepares a yearly report on the situation of volunteering in Slovenia and sends it to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for its information.
The Ministry of Public Administration is mainly responsible for QA of voluntary activities. In general, the voluntary organisations under the provision of the Volunteering Act are obliged to provide training and tutoring if it is necessary due to the nature of voluntary work, or if the volunteer expressed the need for training. Voluntary organisations have no obligation to report about their quality assurance schemes to the competent ministries, unless their programmes are subject to co-financing from funds based on public calls for specific programmes.