Passport for portable volunteers

In August, the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) launched an initiative to reduce barriers to volunteer movement across South Australian council areas.

LGASA Executive Director Wendy Campana said the Local Government Passport System is a web based software system for the registration and management of volunteers across the Local Government sector. She said it has a particular emphasis on volunteers undertaking emergency recovery support.

“There are around 10,000 volunteers registered with South Australia’s 68 councils, but until now there has been no central database,” Wendy Campana said. “Because of occupational health and safety and insurance purposes it is important that volunteers are registered and inducted. Councils can’t just take people off the street and send them out to fill sand bags. Councils have been doing a lot of work themselves, but this LGASA initiative funded by the Federal Government and the LGA Research and Development Scheme presents a coordinated approach to this vital support service.”

Wendy Campana said there is a massive need for volunteers in emergency situations, particularly when volunteers in a council area are hit with an emergency and would be unlikely to be able to assist in recovery because they would be actively going through their own recovery process.

“In these situations it is sensible that volunteers from another area are brought in to help with the cleanup,” she said. “Currently each council has had its own registration and induction processes and it can take up to two hours to process paperwork, including police checks.

“Under the new passport system, while volunteers would still have to register with each council, their details would already be in the system and the process will be streamlined.”

Volunteers will still need to undergo induction processes in each council. Wendy Campana said Memorandums of Understanding may be instituted between councils, in the future, which will further simplify the process.