The Ministry of Civil Affairs responds to questions of volunteer services records

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Volunteer service records are direct reflections of volunteers’ participation in charitable activities. On the 25th of January, 2020, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Civil Affairs introduced new regulations to make sure each volunteer’s participation records are well documented.

The Measures for Issuing Volunteer Service Records and Certificates (for Trial Implementation) was passed at the Ministry of Civil Affairs meeting on the 26th of November 2020 and has come into force since the 1st of February 2020. Li Bo, the first-class inspector of the Department of Philanthropy Promotion and Social Work of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, explained the Measures is drafted in response to three new changes of volunteer services in China.

First of all, new emphases have been put on volunteer services by the Party Central Committee and the State Council. The establishment of more volunteer platforms is required to increase volunteer engagement, and to mobilise the sector’s support and resources.

Secondly, the Volunteer Service Regulations, published in 2017 and implemented since, has put forward new requirements to issue volunteer service records and certificates. According to the new regulations, records and certificates of volunteers are warranted by the Civil Affairs Department of the State Council in conjunction with relevant units.

Thirdly, existing volunteer services records and certification systems have been unable to fully guarantee the accuracy and consistency of documentation in recent years, a trend which may discourage the public away from volunteering. Inaccurate and inconsistent volunteer records are not beneficial for protecting volunteers’ civil rights.

According to the Measures, volunteer service records are documentations of volunteers’ participation handled by volunteer service organisations. As an important way to affirm volunteers’ participation and contributions, documentations can be made by volunteer service organisations, charities, grassroots civil autonomous organisations and public service organisations. The Measures also stipulates detailed regulations in seven different aspects which are related to records of volunteers’ information.

  • Records of volunteer services should be considered as a statutory obligation of organisations that carry out volunteer activities. Records of information must be genuine, accurate, complete, free of charge and timely. In particular, it mentions records have to be completed within ten working days after the end of the volunteer service activity.
  • Information in the records should include volunteers’ basic personal information, volunteer service status, training status, professional skills, activity information (name, date, location, contents, service time and organisers), award information and evaluations of services.
  • Volunteers have the right to enquire their volunteer service records. Volunteers can keep track of their service records at any time and check if recorded information is genuine, accurate and complete.
  • A mechanism for correcting mistakes must be provided. If volunteers find errors or omissions in their volunteer service records, they should be able to report to relevant volunteer service organisations and organisations need to correct the information in a timely manner.
  • The information collection mechanism is clarified in the Measures. Different forms of records will be collected in the volunteer service information system designated by the Civil Affairs Department of the State Council to form a complete record of all the volunteer service information.
  • A supervision mechanism is required to be established. Reports should be made to civil affairs departments once any organistaion or individual finds out any illegal conduct in recording. Meanwhile, civil affairs departments will make spot checks of the information and results of checking will be released to the public.
  • Legal responsibilities of volunteer service recording are clarified in the Measures, too. Volunteer service organisations that fail to record volunteer service information in accordance with the law shall be warned by the civil affairs department and ordered to make corrections within a time limit. If corrections are not made within the time limit, they shall be ordered to stop all activities.