European Solidarity Corps Quality Label

Information about the process of awarding ESC Quality Label for organisations from Eastern Partnership and Russia.

On 10th of August 2018 the European Commission launched a new programme called European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The volunteering part of this programme replaces volunteering projects within KA1 of Erasmus+ programme. Simultanously European Solidarity Corps Quality Label replaces Erasmus+ accreditations.

WHY our organisation needs Quality Label?

Any organisation from Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and Russia wishing to be involved into ESC Volunteering Projects as supporting or receiving organisation must receive Quality Label.

The organisations holding valid Erasmus+ accreditations, do not need to apply for Quality Label. The accreditation for sending organisations will be considered as a Quality Label for volunteering, for the supporting role; the accreditation for receiving organisations will be considered as a Quality Label for volunteering for the host role.

Quality Label allows access to the European Solidarity Corps programme and ensures common quality standards. It does not automatically lead to a project grant though.

WHEN to apply for Quality Label?

Interested organisations can apply for Quality Label at any time. Ideally, accreditation will be carried out within 2-3 months after receipt of formally eligible Quality Label Application. Due to the large geographical scope as well as support offered within accreditation (coaching phase) this period can be prolonged if needed.

PLEASE NOTE: Every year the European Commission publishes a new application form. If you complete your application, but do not send it by the end of December, it may be not possible to submit it in January the next year any more.

WHO conducts the accreditation process?

The process of awarding Quality Label in Eastern Partnership countries and Russia is carried out by the SALTO Eastern Europe and Caucasus (EECA) Resource Centre with support of Pool of accreditors.

HOW to apply for Quality Label?

1) Create an account in the EU Login System. If you already have the account in the EU Login you can go to the second step.

2) Register in the Organisation Registration System (ORS). Once the registration in ORS is completed, the organisation will obtain an Organisation ID number (OID). The OID  a unique identifier which enables the organisation to take advantage of on-line application forms. If you need help, please visit the ORS Guide. In case of serious problems with the system feel free to contact SALTO EECA.

3) Upload in ORS portal the following documents (with electronic signatures or scans of original documents with signatures):

  • the Legal Entity form in English. This form can be downloaded from the European Commission’s website. (hint: if your organisation is an association or foundation run as NGO then choose "private company", if your organisation is managed by government or authorities then choose "public entity").
  • an extract from the registry (or its equivalent) clearly indicating the name of the organisation, the address of the head office, its registration number and a legal representative (or, if applicable, a document authorizing another person to sign legal documents on behalf of organisation) with certified English translation

This official documents should have been issued recently and in any case no more than 6 months ago.

At the moment when you submit your application for Quality Label the above mentioned documents will be verified by SALTO EECA. Without them the accreditation process cannot start.

4) Complete the electronic  Quality Label Application Form.

There are two types of form available: standard and for umbrella organisation. The first form is for organisations that wish to apply directly for Quality Label for themselves. The second one is for organisation that applies on behalf of organisations linked to it by legal or capital links as affiliated entities (more information on p. 16 of ESC Guide).

  • The application should be filled in English language.
  • Answer all the questions as comprehensively as possible. Bear in mind the Award Criteria listed in the Programme Guide (p.21) and in the section HOW to prepare for accreditation below.
  • Do not forget to attach to the application: the declaration of honour and, in case you are applying for a hosting role, a timetable of activities for volunteer.
  • For hosting role: List ALL the Locations* you are going to host volunteers in [*Location is a venue that belongs to your institution and has no separate legal entity; the venue of a work camp is also a location]
  • For hosting role: Describe aALL the Activities the hosted volunteers will be involved in

5) Submit the Quality Label Application Form to Foundation for the Development of the Educational System (PL01).

HOW does the accreditation process look like?

1) Formal verification: your application, as well as the documents you uploaded in ORS, is assessed against the eligibility criteria (see the European Solidarity Corps Guide, p.20). SALTO EECA will contact you to inform you about the results of the verification OR to ask you for clarification and additional documents,

2) Contact with accreditor: SALTO EECA appoints an expert from its Pool of Accreditors to carry out the accreditation. This person (or persons) will assess the submitted documents and contact you to plan an on the spot visit.

3) On-the-spot visit: it should take place in the office of your organisation. The accreditor(s) will talk with you about your application, your plans to implement European Solidarity Corps projects, your knowledge of the programme, your current activities, the staff of the organisation, your local and international partners etc. In case you are applying for a hosting role, he or she will want to visit all the locations you are going to host a volunter in.

PLEASE NOTE: You may receive a requests from our accreditor to provide additional information, clarifications or assurances regarding your Application, as well as suggestions for improvements. This is still the accreditation process and very often the decision on awarding Quality Label to your organisation depends on your cooperation in this phase.

It may happen that you will be asked to submit a corrected Quality Label application (especially if you want to host volunteers in locations that were not listed in your first application).

4) Final decision: The accreditor prepares a report from the visit, which is sent to SALTO EECA. The final decision on awarding Quality Label is prepared by SALTO EECA and needs to be approved by the Evaluation Committee. Usually this part of the accreditation process takes about 4-6 weeks, so please, be patient.

Your Quality Label Decision will be sent to you via email with comments and recommendations.

HOW to prepare for accreditation?

Each organisation interested in obtaining ESC Quality Label should be well aware of:

  1. PART A - General information about the ESC (the whole section)
  2. PART B - Information about the Actions covered by this Guide (chapters called "Quality Label" and  "Volunteering")
  3. PART C - Information about Quality and Support Measures (the whole section)
  4. PART D - Information for applicants
  5. ANNEX I - Dissemination and exploitation of results.
  • European Solidarity Corps Info Kit

The organisations interested in Quality Label should meet the requirements prescribed in mentioned documents. In case the accreditor(s) will identify that volunteering coordinator is not aware of contents of those documents, there will be no possibility to receive positive decision on accreditation.

I have Quality Label - WHAT is next?

1) Looking for partners

2) Looking for volunteers

  • As soon as the Quality Label has been awarded, organisations have access to the PASS system, where they are invited to advertise their volunteering activity when they are looking for participants.
  • You can also promote your granted projects via European Youth Portal

HOW can Quality Label end?

1. EXPIRATION

Quality Label expires with the end of European Solidarity Corps programme on 31 December 2020. However, if an organisation is a partner in a project that finishes after this date, its Quality Label will be valid till the end of this ECS project.

2. REACCREDITATION

If organisation would like to make any changes in their current Quality Label (like adding supporting or host status, changing the limit of hosted volunteers, adding possibility to organise short-term volunteering group projects, changing general ideas for tasks of volunteers etc.), such organisation is invited to apply for a new Quality Label. In case the decision will be positive, the old Quality Label will be finalised.

3. SUSPENTION

In case organisation will not follow the hosting limits agreed in the accreditation process (regarding number of hosted volunteers etc.), SALTO EECA will be obliged to immediately suspend the organisation’s accreditation informing the network of National Agencies. The accreditation will be reactivated automatically when organisation informs SALTO EECA that the number of hosted volunteers drops down to agreed number. Anyway, if such situation repeats, SALTO EECA can take decision about withdrawing the Quality Label at all.

4. WITHDRAWAL

In case the organisation will break basic principles of the Programme and disrespect to other quality elements of volunteering projects will be observed, SALTO EECA will need to withdraw Quality Label. In such a case only reaccreditation can allow an organisation to implement ESC volunteering projects again.

Last but not least...

  • Awarding Quality Label is a process of overall assessment of organisation's capability and doesn't refer to concrete volunteering project. It is organisations, not a volunteering project being accredited!
  • Quality Label does not represent financial support, but is a pre-requisite for a later application for a concrete project.
  • The decision on awarding Quality Label might decide to suggest a change in maximum number of  volunteers the promoter can host at the same time. Bigger organisation wishing to host volunteers are recommended to have at least 1 coordinator per 10 planned volunteers and 1 mentor per 3-4 planned volunteers.

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