Mechanisms for monitoring the quality of voluntary activities (September 2019)
Quality assurance: quality standards and monitoring mechanisms
To ensure that volunteers invest their time and resources in projects that are fitting their talents and expectations, and conducted in safe conditions, it is essential that the quality of the activities organised by voluntary organisations is overseen. This is why the European Solidarity Corps require organisations offering volunteering placements to obtain a Quality Label.
All countries have – to varying extent – identified general quality criteria for the voluntary activities offered by civil society organisations. Criteria usually cover the rights and obligations of volunteers and voluntary organisations, the conditions upon which voluntary work can be conducted, and the safety rules to be applied.
Formal mechanisms for monitoring the application of those quality standards exist in about half of European countries. Usually monitoring is conducted on organisations that receive public funding for their projects, be it in the framework of a national volunteering programme or independently. In the first case, monitoring is an essential element of the official accreditation of the organisations as suppliers of volunteering placements within the national scheme (see for example the cases of Malta and Germany).
Public authorities can carry out inspections (for example in Luxembourg), require organisations to submit periodic reports on their activities (as is the case in Austria and Croatia), or conduct audits (as it happens in Germany and Portugal) to verify the compliance with the regulations in place.
Non-compliance typically means withdrawal of public funding (for instance in Slovenia and Finland) and/or cessation of the projects run by organisations.