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LAST MODIFIED ON: 28/06/2020
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Existence of a National Strategy
There is no strategy for youth volunteering in Wales. However, the Welsh Government has an all-age volunteering policy entitledVolunteering Policy: Supporting Communities, Changing Lives 2015.
Information on youth volunteering is available from the Wales Council for Voluntary Actionwebsite.
Other official documents containing guidelines on youth volunteering
Compliance with charity legislation
Most of the organisations providing volunteering opportunities for young people are charities. Charities must comply with duties placed on them by legislation. The key piece of legislation is theCharities Act 2011, which came into effect in March 2012. It sets out how all charities in England and Wales are registered and regulated, and replaces most of theCharities Act 1992,Charities Act 1993 andCharities Act 2006 and all of theRecreational Charities Act 1958. In particular, they must provide value for money and have a charitable purpose which must be for the public benefit. See the section onfinancial accountability in the article on funding for further details.
The Welsh Government maintains, uses and promotes a Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector (in an Annex to theThird Sector Scheme), which sets out the key principles that underpin Welsh Government funding for the Third Sector as well as what the Government expects from the Third Sector in return. The Code covers value for money, monitoring, evaluation and audit.
The organisations providing opportunities for youth volunteering must include safeguarding and safer recruitment in their governance and operational arrangements. This includes checking the suitability of those working with children and vulnerable adults. TheDisclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children, through its criminal record checking and barring functions.
It is the trustees of an organisation who have primary responsibility for safeguarding within their charity. This duty is set out in statutory guidance which was last updated in 2018, entitledWorking Together to Safeguard Children: a Guide to Interagency Working to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children. The Children England guidance,Everyone's Business: Safeguarding for Trustees sets out responsibilities for safeguarding and protecting children. While it was published by Children England, and contains a number of references to organisations or resources in England, the tips and tools apply equally to those organisations operating in Wales.
Health and safety of volunteers
Organisations / employers using volunteers have a duty of care towards them. Assessing and managing risk is a key part of this duty. The WCVA provides afactsheet on keeping volunteers safe.
Note that since the passing of theEducation Workforce Council (Registration of Youth Workers, Youth Support Workers and Work Based Learning Practitioner) Order 2016, individuals working in aspects of youth work in Wales, including on behalf of alocal authority, school or charity, must be registered with theGeneral Teaching Council for Wales. The Council, whose remit was expanded in 2014, is the independent regulator for teachers and support staff in maintained schools and further education institutions, as well as youth workers and individuals involved in work-based learning.
All public bodies are bound by equality legislation which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age; disability; sex; gender reassignment; race; religious belief; political opinion; and sexual orientation.
Scope and contents
The Welsh Government'sVolunteering Policy: Supporting Communities, Changing Lives sets out the actions that the Welsh Government and the Third Sector Infrastructure (see below) will take to continue and build support for volunteering. Although the policy does not specifically cover youth volunteering, it does mention that youth volunteering programmes in particular provide a good foundation for young people, acting as a stepping stone to lifelong volunteering activity.
The policy aims to:
- improve access to volunteering for peoples of all ages and from all parts of society
- encourage the more effective involvement of volunteers, including through appropriate training
- raise the status and improve the image of volunteering.
Volunteering is recognised by the Welsh Government and the Third Sector Partnership Council as a ‘good thing’ for Wales, to be supported and promoted. It has benefits for the individual, for organisations and movements in which they are involved, and for communities more widely.
The impetus for the volunteering policy is theThird Sector Scheme, published in January 2014. It sets out how the Welsh Government will promote the interests of relevant voluntary organisations and identifies four cross cutting themes which are important to underpin any activity arising from the Scheme. These are:
- sustainable development
- Welsh language
- quality and diversity
- tackling poverty.
Third Sector Support Wales consists of the:
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
- County Voluntary Councils (CVC) and Volunteer Centres in each county in Wales which provide advice and information to local voluntary and community groups on volunteering, funding sources and a range of other issues.
- Volunteering Wales, the digital volunteering platform that deals with recruitment and placement.
The Welsh Government, in partnership with Third Sector Support Wales, is responsible for the implementation of theThird Sector Scheme. The Welsh Council for Voluntary Action publishes anannual analysis of the third sector in Wales.
The lead third sector partner for youth volunteering opportunities is Volunteering Wales, previously GwirVol which was set up to take forward the recommendations of the Russell Commission (see the section onHistorical Developments in the article on the General Context), which were designed to bring about a step change in the numbers and diversity of young volunteers and to provide more and better quality volunteering opportunities. The digital volunteering platform now provides an integrated programme of volunteering support that aims to help more people get involved in volunteering (to benefit their community and for their own personal development), and to help volunteer-involving organisations to recruit and support their volunteers.