The Office of the Commissioner
1. Mission and Purpose
The Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations was set up by the Voluntary Organisations Act 2007 with the task to strengthen the voluntary sector through various initiatives with the specific aim of promoting the work of VOs as well as encouraging their role as partners with the government in various initiatives. Cap. 23 of 2007 Voluntary Organisations Act came into force in November 2007 with the appointment of the first Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations (CVO) Prof. Kenneth Wain.
The ultimate mission of the Commissioner’s office is to give more visibility to the voluntary sector as well as to guarantee transparency and accountability of the organisations that compose it in the carrying out of their important work. In view of this, the Office of the Commissioner is also the regulatory authority responsible for this sector with the aim of monitoring and supervising the activities of these organisations as well as supporting them.
2. Service Information
The office of the CVO started functioning early in 2008. Its first task was to start the process of setting up the register of voluntary organisations as stipulated by law. An application form was drawn up for this purpose together with notes intended to aid organisations to fill it in (see below).
Although VOs are not legally obliged to enrol with the Office of the CVO, enrolment is important and beneficial since through registration organisations qualify for a number of benefits which are not otherwise available to them. In the first place, the certificate issued by this office certifies the organisation officially as a bona fide “voluntary”. Besides, registered organisations may benefit from the following measures which are aimed at assisting VOs in the execution of their work.
Definition of a Voluntary Organisation from Cap. 492, Voluntary Organisations Act, (Part 1 Preliminary, Article 2):
“voluntary” in the context of a voluntary organisation means the existence of one or more of the following elements:
- (a) the overall control of the organisation is exercised by administrators who do not receive any remuneration for their services for carrying on functions of administrators except as hereunder permitted;
- (b) the organisation is created by the endowment of voluntary and gratuitous grants and the organisation’s affairs are supported, at least in part, by such voluntary or gratuitous grants or by services rendered on a voluntary basis;
- (c) subject to limitations due to the nature or size of the organisation and subject to any discretion which may be exercised in terms of the statute of an organisation by the administrators or a membership committee, any person can join the organisation or participate in the activities of the organisation; and
- (d) every participant in the organisation has the right to freely leave the organisation: Provided that:
- (i) unless the statute provides otherwise, administrators may receive a reasonable honorarium for services rendered insofar as the payment of such honorarium does not materially prejudice the achievement of the purposes of the voluntary organisation;
- (ii) the remuneration of persons who are employed to carry out management, executive or fundraising functions in a voluntary organisation shall not be such as to materially prejudice the achievement of the purposes of the voluntary organisation; and
- (iii) the organisation may refund reasonable expenses to administrators, managers, executives, volunteers and other persons supporting the purposes of the organisation;
- “voluntary organisation” means a foundation, a trust, an association of persons or a temporary organisation which is independent and autonomous and which qualifies under article 3;
3. Procedure for enrolment with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations
In order to apply for enrolment with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, an organisation has to supply the below information/documentation:
- Application Form can be downloaded from the Commissioner’s. We recommend that the “Notes to Assist VOs in Filling up the Form” are downloaded as well. (These are also found on the website in the same section as the application form)
- Statute / Deed (Authenticated) The statute / deed must be in line with the Voluntary Organisations Act (Act XXII of 2007 and The Second Schedule of the Civil Code (Act XIII of 2007). To qualify for enrolment the organisation has to be –
- That no part of the income, capital or property of the organisation shall be available directly or in directly to any promoter, member, administrator, donor or other private interest.
- Dissolution clause: (That upon winding up the organisation any remaining assets should be applied in favour of another organisation/s with similar aims).
- Resolution letter to enrol the organisation with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations.(Eg: During the committee meeting (Date) it was resolved to enrol the organisation (Name of the Organisation) with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations). This has to be signed by all Committee / Board members and should include their Name, Surname, ID Card Number and their Designation.
- Written consent has to be signed by all committee / Board members. (Letter needs to be dated) (Eg: We the undersigned committee members of (Name of the Organisation) consent to hold office after enrolment with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations).
- This has to be signed by all committee members and should include their Name, Surname, ID Card Number, their Address and their Designation.NB: (No. 3 and No. 4 can be done on one document just as long that it is signed by the whole Committee / Board, together with ID Card Number, Address and Designation).
- Annual Accounts (Authenticated by at least 2 authorised persons)
- Annual Report (Administration Report) – (Authenticated by at least 1 authorised person) NB: (If the organisation is new (established during the current year) and no annual accounts and annual reports are available, then a statement to this effect, signed by the president or any authorised person must be provided.)
- Application Fee (40 Euro) (payable only once) – Cash or Cheque addressed to the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations – An Enrolled organisation will then have to submit the Annual Returns / Accounts on a yearly basis in order to remain enrolled with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations.
- In the case of a foreign organisation the following documents must also be supplied –
- The appointment of a person resident in Malta to act as a local representative;
- The acceptance by the appointed person to act as local representative.
- A photocopy of the passports of the administrators
- If the organisation runs a commercial outlet (for example a bar or shop etc) then:
- A signed statement stating that the commercial outlet is used solely by its members must be submitted; OR
- The latest contract for the leasing of the commercial outlet must be provided if it is opened to the general public; OR
- Document showing that the organisation has established a legal entity to run the outlet.
4. The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations
The CVO is appointed by the Minister responsible for Social Policy in consultation with the Social Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives (Cap. 492, Part III, Article 5). The responsibilities related to his office include:
- (a) providing enrollment facilities for organisations which are eligible for enrollment in terms of this Act;
- (b) monitoring the activities of VOs in order to ensure observance of the provisions of this Act and any regulations made thereunder;
- (c) providing VOs with information about the benefits and responsibilities deriving from registration as legal persons in terms of the Second Schedule to the Civil Code and enrollment in terms of this Act;
- (d) providing information and guidelines to persons performing voluntary work and to members of VOs, for the better performance of their role and for the better achievement of the objectives of the VOs in which they serve;
- (e) making recommendations to the Minister on legislation and policies in support of VOs, volunteers and voluntary work;
(f) assisting Government, government departments, public agencies and entities controlled by the Government in preparing and reviewing policies in support of VOs and the voluntary sector in general;
- (g) investigating any complaints relating to VOs or persons or organisations purporting to be VOs and their activities, and to take such action as is in his power to redress any justified grievance that may come to his notice;
- (h) monitoring the promotion of VOs and the behaviour of administrators of such organisations to ensure the observance of high standards of accountability and transparency and compliance with law;
- (i) co-ordinating and communicating with the Registrar for Legal Persons in terms of the Second Schedule to the Civil Code with a view to facilitating registration and enrollment processes for VOs;
- (j) co-operating with and supporting the Council to develop policies which will be of benefit to the voluntary sector in general or categories thereof;
- (k) performing any other function or duty that is assigned to him under this Act and any regulations made thereunder as well as such other functions as may be assigned to him under any other law. (Cap. 492, Part III, Article 7)
For more information visit the website of the Commissioner https://socialdialogue.gov.mt/en/vo_home/Pages/vo_home.aspx for VO’s or facebook on https://www.facebook.com/voluntary.commissioner.