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
- Firstly, you need to inform the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations with the intent of the Organisation. Send an email on email@example.com that includes the following:
- Executive summary (what does the organisation stand for)
- Organisation mission statement (what does the organisation want to achieve including the objective/s and purpose/s)
- Target Audience
- Summary of Finances (initial finance capital or how the organisation will be sustained financially)
- Name and Surname including the ID cards numbers of President, Treasurer and Secretary.
- The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations will review the documents submitted and access accordingly. If the Commissioner does not need any further clarifications, you can then proceed with the pre-enrolment phase.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Annual Returns and Annual Accounts Form (Voluntary Organisation)
What you’ll get
How to apply
Category 1 (5K – 50K Euros):
i) Voluntary Organisations must have their Annual Returns and Annual Accounts authenticated in blue ink by two administrators.
ii) Voluntary Organisations whose statute indicates that the Annual Returns and Annual Accounts must be authenticated by a certified public accountant. In this case, there are three options:
-They can either fill in the form, print it and scan it again this time authenticated in blue ink by a certified public accountant and at least 2 administrators; OR
-Submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by the certified public accountant and authenticated in blue link by at least 2 administrators; OR
-Fill in the form, print it and scan it again this time authenticated in blue ink by least 2 administrators and submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by the certified public accountant.
iii) Voluntary Organisations whose statute indicates that the Annual Returns and Annual Accounts must be audited: -In this case, VOs must submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by and authenticated in blue ink by a certified public auditor. There must the CPA number and the stamp of the Certified Public Auditor.
Category 2 (50K – 250K Euros):
i) Case B Accounts for Category 2:
-In case of a category 2 VO, there are two options. Applicants can either fill in the form, print it and scan it again this time authenticated in blue ink by a certified public accountant along with a balance sheet; OR
-Submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by the certified public accountant. In both cases, there must the CPA number and the stamp of the Certified Public Accountant on all documents.
ii) Category 2 VOs whose statute indicates that the Accounts must be audited.
-In this case, VOs must submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by and authenticated in blue ink by a certified public auditor. The report must include also the CPA number and the stamp of the Certified Public Auditor.
Category 3 (250K Euros and over):
i) Case C Accounts for Category 3:
-Category 3 VOs must submit a scanned copy of the report compiled by and authenticated in blue ink by a certified public auditor. The report must include also the CPA number and the stamp of the Certified Public Auditor.
Filled in forms are to be sent via email on:
email@example.com This form cannot be submitted online due to the requirement of an original signature.
5. 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)