The national committee on volunteering was established on 21 November 2000 as provided for in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness with the dual tasks of marking the 2001 UN International Year of the Volunteer in Ireland and devising strategies and actions for supporting volunteering. As part of its terms of reference the committee was asked to examine and make recommendations and report to Government on: the possibilities for recognition and accreditation for voluntary work and for training undertaken as a volunteer; measures to widen the pool of volunteers; and the range of supports needed in order to promote, sustain and develop volunteering. The national committee published its report Tipping the Balance on 16 October 2002.
Tipping the Balance is an extremely detailed and comprehensive report covering many aspects of volunteering. The report contains wide-ranging recommendations which impact on many state and other bodies. Its major recommendations relate to the development of a national policy on volunteering and the establishment of a volunteering support and development infrastructure.
Given the complexity of issues covered in Tipping the Balance and the wide-reaching implications associated with its recommendations, a thorough examination of the report is required. The process of examination and consideration is now under way in my Department.