This week the spotlight is on legal developments in Dubai, where the Emirate’s Ruler has issued a Law to regulate volunteering in the Emirate. Dubai Law No 5/2018 will regulate volunteering activities and it is hoped will also promote social responsibility, stimulate positive social engagement and encourage people to serve their communities. Under the Law, Dubai’s Community Development Authority will establish, implement and oversee the plans and policies required to regulate volunteering in the Emirate. They will also encourage the public and private sectors to sponsor volunteering programmes and conduct awareness programmes about the importance of volunteering in community development.
In addition, the Authority will coordinate volunteering programmes, establish a volunteer’s database in the Emirate, issue identification cards for volunteers and participation certificates for volunteers. They will help entities attract volunteers for their initiatives and nominate volunteers to participate in volunteering initiatives based on their skills and qualifications. Entities sponsoring or conducting volunteering initiatives will have to be authorised by the Authority. Volunteers will be able to form teams to participate collectively in volunteering programmes in the Emirate on the condition the team has registered itself in the Authority’s database and obtained all of the necessary permits from the Authority. The volunteer teams will not be allowed to conduct any fundraising activities, including advertising through any kind of media, unless they are approved by the Authority. Public and private entities engaged in volunteering activities will have to define the standards and regulations governing their volunteering activities and provide a copy of these standards and regulations to the Authority. They should also specify the category and nature of the volunteering activity and if necessary train volunteers to perform the work. The entities must maintain a record with the volunteers’ names, personal information, the nature of work they have done and the hours of volunteering work they have done. They should also register this information in the Authority’s database. They must also provide all required tools and safety equipment necessary for the volunteers to perform their activities. In addition, the entities must provide insurance coverage against injuries, contagion and civil liabilities. All volunteers must sign the volunteering agreement issued by the Authority and this agreement must detail the relationship between the volunteer and the entity.
Under the Law, the volunteer must be over 18. Volunteers under 18 must be approved by their legal guardian. The volunteer must have a record of good conduct, be physically fit and be registered as a volunteer with the Authority. Volunteers must commit to their obligations according to the volunteering agreement and respect confidentiality. The sponsoring entity is responsible for all volunteering activities and efforts carried out by the volunteers. The Authority’s Director-General will form a Volunteers Affairs Committee to look into any complaints or litigation related to volunteering agreements. All sponsoring entities, volunteer teams and individuals must comply with the Law. The Law will be published in the Official Gazette and will come into effect on its published date.