According to the Voluntary Organisations Act, a Voluntary Organisation is an organisation which is created or established:
- for any lawful purpose;
- as non-profit making; and
- is voluntary
The law also establishes a procedure for the enrolment of Voluntary Organisations in a ‘Register of Voluntary Organisations’. Enrolment requires the fulfilment of a number of requirements, including the submission of annual accounts and identification of the administrators of the organisation. It should be noted that it is not enrolment which confers the status of ‘Voluntary Organisation’. Any organisation that fulfils the above criteria is a Voluntary Organisation. However, enrolment confers a number of important advantages to the organisation which are worthy of note.
Through the Voluntary Organizations Act of 2007 Maltese law regulates and protects Voluntary and Charitable institutions. The Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations was set up by this Act with the remit to fortify the voluntary sector through various initiatives with the specific aim of promoting the work of voluntary organisations (VOs) as well as encouraging their role as partners with the government in various initiatives. The crucial task of the Commissioner’s office is to give more visibility to the voluntary sector as well as to guarantee transparency and accountability of the organizations that compose it. To this effect, the Office of the Commissioner is also the regulatory authority responsible for this area with the goal of watching and supervising the activities of these organizations as well as supporting them.