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European Solidarity Corps Quality Label

Information about the process of awarding Quality Label for volunteering organisations in the countries of Eastern Partnership and in 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 ESC Volunteering and ensures common quality standards. It does not automatically lead to a project grant though.

WHEN to apply?

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.

By WHO?

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 external experts.

HOW to apply?

First of all interested organisations must register in the Unique Registration Facility (URF) of the European Commission's Participant Portal. Once the registration in the Participant Portal is completed, the organisation will obtain a nine-digit PIC number. The PIC is a unique identifier which enables the organisation to take advantage of on-line application forms. Please remember that the organisation must add in URF portal the following documents in electronic versions (scans):

  • 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").
  • the Financial Identification form in English. Please fill in the form relating to the country in which your bank account is located, even if your organisation is officially registered in another country. This form can be downloaded from the European Commission’s website.
  • an extract of registration (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.

Detailed information how to register in URF Participants' Portal and obtain PIC number is provided in ESC Guide, page 63. Further information on Quality Label one can find on page 16.

Next, the organisation is invited to fill in the electronic 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. The organisation is invited to add recommendation letters from their local partners. The .pdf file might not work with web-browser or other software, make sure you open it with the newest version of Adobe Reader (it is freeware).

HOW does it go?

First the application will be assessed against the formal criteria. If it is not met, the organisation will receive e-mail with description of ineligible / missing documents or elements of the Application.

Next, accreditor(s) who have been appointed by SALTO EECA to carry out the accreditation (either external experts or SALTO EECA / National Agency officer) will assess submitted documents and contact organisation to plan an on-spot visit.

After the visit, organisation might receive requests to provide additional information, clarifications or assurances regarding their Application (coaching phase) and suggestions for improvements. When the accreditors receive answers from the applicant, the organisation will be finally assessed, and soon the organisation will receive official decision on granting ESC Quality Label from SALTO EECA.

In order to facilitate partner-finding, profiles of all organisations holding a Quality Label are published in a database of Quality Label organisations. Additionally, as soon as the Quality Label has been awarded, organisations have access to the European Solidarity Corps Portal where they are invited to advertise their volunteering activity when they are looking for participants. Organisations have to make use of the European Solidarity Corps Portal's database to search and select participants. Information in the database is published as it is formulated in the Quality Label application form. It is therefore crucial that organisations write clearly so that potential participants and partner organisations can get a good impression of the organisation and its involvement in the European Solidarity Corps

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 that will replace the previous one.

WHAT to prepare?

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.

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.

IMPORTANT

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.

HOW can Quality Label end?

EXPIRATION

Quality Label expires with the end of Euroepan 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.

SUSPENTION AND WITHDRAWAL

In case organisation will not follow the limitations 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.

In case the organisation will break basic principles of the ESC volunteering 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.

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