New free legal guide for volunteering sector

Justice Connect’s newly launched National Volunteer Guide, written in close consultation with Volunteering Australia, provides an overview of the key legal obligations organisations have to their volunteers.

This free resource aims to help community groups better manage their relationship with their volunteers, and in turn, will help volunteers feel supported.

The Guide is divided into six parts and covers the following key issues:

  • Glossary of common terms and overview (Part 1)
  • Understanding the legal differences between a volunteer, employee and independent contractor (Part 2)
  • Understanding your organisation’s legal obligations in relation to the safety of its volunteers (Part 3)
  • Protecting volunteers and other people your volunteers are interacting with from unlawful workplace behaviour (Part 4)
  • Recruiting, inducting, managing performance and ending the volunteer relationship (Part 5), and
  • Organisational issues applicable to volunteers (Part 6).

The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services funded the project, and Volunteering Tasmania supports it wholeheartedly.

You can find the Guide at  www.nfplaw.org.au/volunteers.

New free legal guide for volunteering sector 2018-11-07T12:09:47+00:00

Clarence Community Volunteer Service launches humorous video to promote service

The Clarence Community Volunteer Service connects volunteers with people 18 to 64 with a disability and people 65 or older (or those 50 years or older and identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) who need support to live independently in the City of Clarence.

This year they ran some focus groups to gather information on how best to move forward with new promotional material.

During this process Journey Film Studios, from Mosaic Support Services, took up the challenge to produce a video that could be used to promote the service. After researching other advertisements they decided that they would use humour to capture people’s attention.

Judy Smith, the Coordinator for the Clarence Community Volunteer Service, recalls how everyone banded together to create a story that was both filmed and produced locally and featured community members:

“It was great fun to make, and we were delighted to keep it as close to home as possible.  The result is a great example of the benefits of partnering with others in our community and we look forward to future opportunities to work together”, said Ms Smith.

The end result was a collaboration between CCVS clients and volunteers, Mosaic Support Service’s Journey Film Studio, Evolución Media and Edge Radio 99.3 FM.

To view their video on Facebook click here or scroll down for embedded version (if there is no sound click the speaker icon in the bottom right corner to un-mute).

ABOUT THE CLARENCE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER SERVICE:

The Clarence Community Volunteer Service partner with Clarence City Council to provide volunteer-based services to the frail, aged and younger people who live with a disability, including mental illness, in the City of Clarence. This service aims to assist clients to stay in their own homes and connect to their local community.

Services provided include:

  • Befriending
  • Shopping assistance
  • Transport
  • Light gardening
  • Telephone support
  • Social support

If you would like to spend time with someone, get to know them well, and help them stay connected to their local community, call them on 6217 9630 or email ccvs@ccc.tas.gov.au or visit the Clarence City Council website.

Clarence Community Volunteer Service is a valued member of Volunteering Tasmania.

 

Today we launched the new brochure and video clip for the Clarence Community Volunteer Service. This service connects volunteers with people 18+ with a disability or people 65+ needing support, to live independently in our city. Volunteers help with shopping, social support, transport and gardening. Check out the video below. To find out more contact 6217 9630 or ccvs@ccc.tas.gov.au

Posted by Clarence City Council on Thursday, 12 July 2018

Clarence Community Volunteer Service launches humorous video to promote service 2018-11-13T10:25:10+00:00

Advocacy Tasmania volunteers provide support at Mental Health Tribunal hearings 

Advocacy Tasmania is about supporting people to speak up, have their say and to make sure that their rights are protected.  Their advocacy services are free, confidential and available across Tasmania.   Their advocates support clients to have their voices heard on issues that, due to their age, disability, mental illness or drug use, stop them from exercising their right to choice and control.

Advocacy Tasmania also coordinates a special group of volunteers dedicated to helping people living with a mental illness.

Under Tasmanian law, the Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) is responsible for issuing mental health treatment orders, which can require people to remain in hospital and receive involuntary treatment.  Advocacy Tasmania identified that people required to attend a Hearing were often unrepresented at a time when major decisions about their liberty and life choices were being decided.

In response to this, Advocacy Tasmania developed the Mental Health Tribunal Representation Scheme (MHTRS).  Since 2003 a group of dedicated volunteers has operated statewide supporting people through the MHT process.  Some feedback from those who have been assisted include:

“It was nice to have someone to just sit with me at the Hearing. I have nobody else who can help me to understand what is going on. Thank you.”

“The person you sent to go with me to my Hearing was wonderful. I was so nervous and I just don’t think I could have done it without her. If I have to go again will you please send someone along.”

The MHTRS relies on its committed and state-wide volunteers to provide this invaluable support. Volunteers complete a comprehensive online training program covering, but not limited to, Tasmania’s Mental Health Act, facts and myths about mental illness, stigma and discrimination, consumer and carer rights, capacity and consent and the Mental Health Tribunal. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer representative, you can contact their MHTRS Manager on 1800 005 131 or by email at mhrep@advocacytasmania.org.au.

If you want to learn more about how the Mental Health Act operates in Tasmania, you can complete their online training package here.

Advocacy Tasmania also work with people with disability and mental illness, people who use alcohol or drugs and older people. They can also assist people with the NDIS, including access, planning, reviews, appeals and complaints. More information on the scope of their Individual Advocacy service is available on their website. www.advocacytasmania.org.au.

Advocacy Tasmania volunteers provide support at Mental Health Tribunal hearings  2018-09-26T16:28:44+00:00

Meals on Wheels Tasmania

Meals on Wheels Tasmania is a service that makes it possible for many Tasmanians to stay living in their home for longer, maintaining their independence.

A driving force of care within the community, this service has been in operation for over 50 years. In just 12 months, 14.8 million meals are delivered by more than 78,800 volunteers to approximately 53,000 recipients located within Australian cities, regional and rural areas.

Funded under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home and Community Care (HACC), Volunteering Tasmania provides resources, advice and support to this service.

Volunteers are essential to the operation of Meals on Wheels Tasmania.

There are many opportunities for volunteer involvement:

  • Delivery of meals using own vehicle, or partnering with someone else that is doing this
  • Serve on the management committee
  • Dependent on which service, volunteers can also assist with transporting clients to a community centre to enjoy a social meal and activities
  • Helping with office duties
  • Participate in coordination of social programs

Meals on Wheels welcomes enquiries from potential volunteers, who will be offered a one-on-one interview to discuss opportunities and availability.  Volunteers who join the program will need to complete a National Police Check and participate in a Meals on Wheels induction.  Volunteer tasks depend on your available time and can be tailored to suit, anything from one hour a month or a full day each week – this is driven by your capacity to be involved.

To find out more about Meals on Wheels Tasmania go to their website or call their State Office on 1800 696 325.

 

What is HACC & CHSP?

The Tasmanian Home and Community Care Programme provides funding for basic community care services that support persons under the age of 65 years, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged less than 50 years living with disabling conditions and their carers. HACC services are targeted towards people who live in the community and whose capacity for independent living is at risk, or those who are risk of early or inappropriate admission to long term residential care.

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme was introduced by the Australian Government in 2015 to the aged care system to help older people stay independent and in their homes and communities for longer. CHSP provides entry-level home support for older people who need assistance to keep living independently.

 

How we help

Volunteering Tasmania is funded to deliver services, training and resources to all HACC/CHSP funded organisations. Each month we will showcase the many wonderful happenings that exist due to the contribution of volunteers, capturing the services that are offered to the community from HACC/CHSP funding.

Meals on Wheels Tasmania 2018-08-14T16:35:26+00:00

The 2018 National Volunteering Conference

The National Volunteering Conference is Australia’s premier volunteering leadership event. The three-day program provided a forum for managers of volunteers, researchers, policy contributors, not for profit leaders, VIO’s, officials from all levels of government to come together to strengthen the volunteering sector through knowledge sharing and discussion.

The Conference welcomed 650 delegates from across Australia. It was wonderful to see a large number of Tasmanian organisations represented from across Emergency Services, corporate volunteering and a substantial mix of large and small volunteer involving organisations. The Conference was a special experience with a diverse range of individuals and organisations coming together to share and learn.

The Conference ignited, invigorated and inspired delegates addressing challenges, harnessing opportunities to inform the national volunteering agenda. The program was packed with world class speakers, workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses on topic including:

• Event Volunteering
• Volunteer Risk Management
• Volunteering Support Services Workshop
• Emergency Management Opening Address
• Attraction, Support and Retention of Emergency Sector Volunteers
• Volunteering in Education
• Volunteer Rights
• Volunteering Support Services Workshop
• Emergency Management Discussion Session
• Leadership – Volunteering and the SDGs
• Innovation – Engaging Diverse Groups
• Knowledge – Research for Impact
• Professionalising Volunteer Management
• Young Volunteers Forum
• The Future of Volunteering
• Leadership – Change Management
• Innovation – Volunteer Management Technology
• Enhancing Community Resilience through Planning For and Supporting Spontaneous Volunteers

Volunteering Tasmania looks forward to sharing some of the key learnings in upcoming Network Meetings and Member events.

     

 

 

 

 

 

The 2018 National Volunteering Conference 2018-07-03T14:27:20+00:00

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018

Volunteering Tasmania would like to formally recognise and congratulate the following Tasmanians who received recognition at this years Queens Birthday Honours List 2018:   

Mrs Marion Jean COOPER Kettering Tas 7155 For service to the community through charitable organisations, and to sailing.

Mr Colin James DENNISON Glenorchy Tas 7010 For service to the preservation of local history.

The Honourable Justice Stephen Peter ESTCOURT South Hobart Tas 7004 For significant service to the judiciary as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, to legal education, and to professional law societies.

Mrs Jennifer Mary FRASER Norwood Tas 7250 For service to youth through public speaking organisations.

Mr Edward Anthony GAUDEN Carlton Tas 7173 For service to the community through social welfare programs.

Mrs Andrea Elizabeth GERRARD New Town Tas 7008 For service to veterans and their families.

Mr John GODFREY Tas For service to veterans and their families

Mrs Joan Beatrice LOUDON Mount Nelson Tas 7007 For service to education.

Mr William Joseph LOVERING Sorell Tas 7172 For service to the community.

Ms Helen Maree MANSER Bridgewater Tas 7030 For significant service to the community of Tasmania, particularly through the establishment and management of regional development initiatives.

Ms Cheryl Anne NORRIS Sandy Bay Tas 7005 For significant service to nursing, particularly to neonatal paediatrics, as a clinician and administrator, to education, and to the history of nursing in Tasmania.

Mr Robert Neil RAMSAY Acton Park Tas 7170 For service to veterans and their families.

Mr Damian Peter ROGERS Battery Point Tas 7004 For significant service to architecture, and to the building and construction industry, as a leader and administrator of professional organisations.

Mrs Leone SCRIVENER Sandy Bay Tas 7005 For service to seniors’ education, and to the community.

Mrs Elizabeth Jean SWAIN Launceston Tas 7250 For significant service to the mining industry as a metallurgist, as a role model for female engineers, and to the community of Tasmania.

Mr Anthony John WALCH Margate Tas 7054 For service to the community of Tasmania.

Mr Michael Alan WHITEHOUSE Kingston Tas 7050 For service to the community through a range of organisations.

Mr Raymond Cyril WILLIAMS Rosny Tas 7018 For service to veterans and their families.

Mr Barry Thomas WILSON Lauderdale Tas 7021 For service to people with a disability.

Mr Anthony John WALCH Margate Tas 7054 For service to the community of Tasmania.

Miss Merrilyn Lexie YOUNG Deloraine Tas 7304 For service to the community of Deloraine.

Dr Susan ZICHY-WOINARSKI Weymouth Tas 7252 For significant service to the community of Tasmania through a range of conservation and animal welfare organisations, and to women.

List Source:  © AAP 2018

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018 2018-06-27T14:28:22+00:00

Changes to Accounting Standards affecting Not-for-Profit Volunteer Involving Organisations

Volunteering Tasmania hosted 3 state-wide workshops in June 2018 to help organisations understand changes to the Australian Accounting Standard (AASB1058) for Not-for-Profit (NFP) entities that involve volunteers in the delivery of their services.

Volunteering Tasmania provides you with the information below as a snapshot summary of the information presented by Alison Flakemore, a Senior Partner of accounting firm Crowe Horwath.

It is advisable to discuss these changes and how they may affect your organisation with the relevant person within your organisation; and seek professional advice from your accountant/auditor.

 

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?

Basically the changes relate to:

  • Better matching income with expenditure
  • Recognising income when receiving something for significantly less than its fair value mainly to enable organisations to further its objectives

Additionally to this are changes to the lease standard:

  • “Right-of-use” asset will be treated as a financial lease – so these will be included as an asset (with the need to depreciate) as well as a liability (need to determine borrowing rate to calculate present value)

There are also changes to Volunteer Services:

  • The need to measure reliably – volunteers will need to “clock” on and off
  • Determine fair value of their services contributed
  • Would the services be purchased if they were not donated?
  • Currently, whether to include this is optional, however not for the public sector where it is compulsory to report on this.

And changes to Grant reporting:

  • Received by entity to further its objectives
  • Needs to be “sufficiently specific performance of obligations” and enforceable
    • If this is the case then can defer income to match when expenses incurred, otherwise must recognise income on the receipt of the grant.

 

DO THE STANDARDS APPLY TO YOU?

It is recommended to treat all Accounting Standards as though they apply to your organisation.

Refer to the Associations and Incorporation Act 1964 and discuss with your accountant, auditor or finance team.

Your starting point is checking if they are relevant to your organisation.

While reading the summary of these changes, have in mind:

  • What does it mean for your organisation?
  • What do you need to do?

 

SNAPSHOT OF THE CHANGES:

The changes will impact the way Organisations currently report on the following:

  • Leases
  • Grant Funding reporting
  • Volunteer Services recognition
  • Revenue from contracts/clients

 

LEASES
Finance Lease: Is when you lease an asset i.e. photocopiers, phones, and buildings – so you are financing an asset purchase for a period of time – giving you ownership rights during this time.

Operating Lease: treated as rent, you are available to use that asset for the duration of the time within agreement.

The changes will be treating all leases as finance leases.

Meaning, the nature of how expense is recognised in a profit and loss (P&L) will change.
It will be now recognised as depreciation on the ‘right-of-use’ asset and an interest charge on the lease liability. This charge will be calculated using the effective interest method which will mean gradual reduction of interest expense over the lease term.

There are exemptions for low value items ($5,000 or less) – you are encouraged to know what these are and combined value if multiple items, for example, mobile phones, wireless internet devices.

An exemption also exists for leases of less than 12 months where no purchase option exists.

Peppercorn leases will also change in how they are disclosed.

A peppercorn lease is where an asset (building, property, facility) is under an agreement of use for generally 99 years at significantly less value than market rate. For example, $1 per year for 99 years.

The new standard will make not-for-profit organisations recognise these values within reporting as value in right-to-use the asset and not the value of the building/land/facility.

Your revenue will reflect the increased income in reporting this figure, showing extra value provided. This may deteriorate the overall bottom line.

The key message is to identify the leases you have currently and start articulating future impacts they may have. Understand what these are and how they are being disclosed.

 

GRANT FUNDING REPORTING

Currently, grants funding reporting can be flexible in aligning with funding agreements and the deliverables in when the money component is reflected in your financial reporting. Meaning Grants can be reported in whole when received or flexible.

The changes will see grant funding now needing to be reported within financials as true to date, or reflecting the income portion at the time of which the expense has been incurred (progressively with funding agreement milestones/timeline).

The introduction of recognition of measurements with grant funding will assist complying with the new standards.

 

VOLUNTEER SERVICES RECOGNITION

Recognising the value of a volunteer per hour for the services they are contributing and reflecting this in your financial reporting.

Determine the value of your volunteers by calculating the following:

VOLUNTEER HOURS x RATE VALUE = VALUE OF VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTION

Reflecting a value for your volunteer time as ‘income’ and reflecting the expense your organisation could face if were to provide these services with paid workers.

Currently this is optional for organisations, eventually it is unknown if this will be enforced, or remain the organisations choice. For the public sector this is compulsory to include in reporting.

This adds value to your organisation in other areas, signifying the contribution of value donated.

If electing to do this, your organisation needs to identify all volunteers (including voluntary Boards) when doing this.

 

REVENUE FROM CONTRACTS/CLIENTS

Financial reporting will be reflective of milestones at which the expense is incurred alongside the revenue being received on a transactional basis.

Example:  AGED CARE

An ongoing funding agreement for delivery of aged care services has contractual obligations on key deliverables of the service. Rather than starting with the total funding at the start within reporting, going forward you will report this in real time meaning the income will be included in reporting at the time of the expense being incurred.

For example; a client needs travel from A to B, the expenditure for the service is incurred, and therefore the income figure is then reflected in reporting from the funding agreement.

 

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

This next 12 months is the time to get ready! Be proactive with these changes, not reactive!

Anything you can do to seek further advice – do it!

Start practising these new standard changes now, this will assist when the new standard comes into effect in 2019/20 (dependent on your organisations financial year).

There will be added costs to organisations in complying with the new standards. Whilst in the optional phase (now), start weighing-up for your organisation the cost of implementation verses the benefit.

Talk to your accountant, auditor, finance team – they are the ones having to approve of depreciation rates and values!

Most annual financial reports (overview not full cash flow details) are public records, organisations, particularly NFPs are cross referencing other organisations to see trends.

Volunteering Tasmania welcomes your questions your organisation may have regarding this information on the changes, and we will consult with Alison Flakemore at Crowe Horwath to supply a response.

Changes to Accounting Standards affecting Not-for-Profit Volunteer Involving Organisations 2018-06-20T13:19:50+00:00

CENTRELINK and MUTUAL OBLIGATION REQUIREMENT CHANGES

The Australian Senate passed several changes to the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017. This document highlights one of those amendments (to Schedule 9 of the Social Security Act 1991), which directly relates to volunteering and will impact your organisation if you’re involving volunteers through the Australian Government’s Mutual Obligation Requirement arrangements.  These changes come into effect on September 20, 2018.

What are the Mutual Obligation Requirements?

This is an existing arrangement where the Australian Government (through Centrelink) allows certain individuals who receive allowances, including the Newstart Allowance (income assistance for those looking for work) to continue receiving their fortnightly payments by being involved in a combination of volunteering and paid work (or actively searching for paid work). How old you are determines how many hours of volunteering you’re allowed to include.

The proposed change?

Last year, the Australian Senate proposed changing the number of volunteering hours allowed for Australians receiving Newstart Allowance aged between 55 and 59 years of age from 30 hours per fortnight to 15 hours.

This change would require any Australians receiving the Newstart Allowance within this age-group to reduce any existing volunteering hours from 30 hours a fortnight to 15, and replace these hours with either paid work, or attempts to find paid work.

What change was passed?

At the end of March the Senate passed the above changes. However, they amended the change to make it time limited. That is, they made the requirement necessary for the first 12 months of job searching. What this means is that after 12 months of job search, an individual who is 55 to 59 years old can return to 30 hours of volunteering if they are unable to find suitable paid employment and it is determined to best suit the individual’s circumstances.

Please note, that the Australian Government has confirmed that they will also retain a number of exemptions (or a reduction in the number of job searches required) for those who meet the required existing criteria.

What does this mean for you?

If you are involving volunteers through the Australian Government’s Mutual Obligation arrangements, we encourage you to consider if these changes will impact any of your volunteers and discuss these with them.

Mutual obligation requirement volunteers can, subject to approval, share the required work or seeking employment and volunteer times with more than one organisation and workplace if they wish.

Centrelink staff have access to a list of registered volunteer organisations, and can check for customers if an agency is registered.  This is not available for public use or access.  Agencies can call 131524 to determine if they are already registered.

More information can be found at here, scroll down to the section headed Stronger Participation Requirements.

CENTRELINK and MUTUAL OBLIGATION REQUIREMENT CHANGES 2018-06-19T15:38:00+00:00

News from the North West

It’s been a busy month across the North West of the state for Mark Shelton, our Community Engagement Officer (NW).

Mark, Rachel Freeman (Statewide Coordinator, Volunteer Services) and Volunteering Tasmania CEO Alison Lai traveled to Smithton on Friday 11 May to deliver an Information Session at the Wyndarra Centre for both Volunteer Involving Organisations and community members.

Topics covered were background checks for volunteers, dealing with conflict and grievances, and a round-table on all things volunteering in the Circular Head region. The session was well-attended and based on the feedback received, we will certainly be hosting more of these types of sessions in the future.  If your organisation is interested in being a hosting venue, please contact Mark via email at MarkS@volunteeringtas.org.au.

As part of our statewide National Volunteer Week celebrations, we “popped up” at the Makers Workshop in Burnie to thank and recognise their wonderful volunteers.  The Makers Workshop is a lively hub that has several volunteers that assist in delivering services across their range of programs; it’s a venue that offers fantastic facilities to tourists and locals alike.  Many thanks to the volunteers who agreed to be photographed with our ‘i volunteer’ heart during the event.

On Friday 25 May, Mark went to see the group at the Burnie Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY program), and presented an Introduction to Volunteering to their participants. The parents who attended were very excited to share their volunteering experiences as well as find out about new opportunities available in their local area. There was a strong focus and discussion around volunteering positions suitable for parents of young children and about how organisations can attract and retain volunteers if they offer a flexible approach for those with young families.

In June Mark will be delivering information sessions to the Burnie and Devonport Centrelink sites, plus will be assisting in hosting our Network Meetings and workshops. We look forward to meeting you all at the North West Network Meeting at Burnie Arts and Function Centre on Thursday 7 June.  To RSVP please email RachelF@volunteeringtas.org.au

News from the North West 2018-06-20T13:22:02+00:00

Training Workshop – for Home and Community Care and Home Support Programme organisations

 

To download or print a copy of the notice: Home and Community Care (HACC)Commonwealth home support programme (CHSP)

Training Workshop – for Home and Community Care and Home Support Programme organisations 2018-05-23T12:22:21+00:00