The National Compact

What is the Compact?

At the national level, The Compact is the agreement between government and the voluntary and community sector (often referred to as civil society), which sets out a way of working that improves their relationship for mutual advantage. It considers areas such as involvement in policy design, service design and delivery, funding arrangements, promoting equality and strengthening independence.

The Compact has existed since 1998. The latest version of the Compact (often referred to as the renewed Compact) was published in December 2010, and reflects policy developments resulting from the change of government.

The Compact Accountability Guide outlines steps you can take at national and local level if Compact principles have been breached. It was produced to accompany the national Compact. These steps include dispute resolution, internal complaints procedures and ombudsmen functions.

As well as the national Compact, most areas in England also have a local Compact, developed to reflect local need. Local Compacts may cover different local government bodies, and can span district, county or regional areas. (See other pages in this section for details of the Shropshire Compact).

Who is responsible for overseeing the national Compact?

The Compact is overseen nationally by two organisations. Compact Voice represents the voluntary and community sector on the Compact.

Compact Voice is a co-signatory on the national Compact, and negotiated its content on behalf of the voluntary and community sector, based on the views and opinions of their members.

The Compact is supported across government by the Office for Civil Society, which is led by Nick Hurd MP, the Minister for Civil Society. The Office for Civil Society is based within the Cabinet Office.

Nick Hurd MP is one of the co-signatories on the national Compact, along with the Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP and Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Every government department is signed up to the Compact.

What does the Compact offer for VCSE organisations?

The Compact offers improved funding processes, clear consultation standards, enforceable rights, and an overall improvement in working relationships.

Don’t wait until things go wrong before using it. Take it to meetings, use it as a partnership tool and draw on it to improve funding relationships.

Strengthening your independence

The Compact safeguards the sector’s independence, including its right within the law to campaign and challenge Government policy and the right to manage its own affairs without undue interference.

An independent sector is vital for a healthy society but we often need to do more to ensure funding and relationships do not compromise our mission and values.

It’s crucial that the Sector’s voice is heard through fearless but responsible campaigning. Groups should also challenge attempts by funders to appoint themselves to Trustee boards or impose restrictive funding conditions and monitoring procedures.

Fair funding and good consultation

The Compact means fair and effective funding and commissioning processes, and for the sector to be involved in designing services. Funding should be allocated on a full cost recovery basis, for three or more years, with proportionate monitoring, a fair balance of risk and three months’ notice and reasons given when funding ends.

The Compact also sets standards for government to conduct proper consultations which are clearly defined, open and meaningful, and allow at least twelve weeks for responses and giving feedback.

What does the Compact offer Public Sector Commissioners?

The Compact offers improved funding processes, clear consultation standards, enforceable rights, and an overall improvement in working relationships across the sectors.

Don’t wait until things go wrong before using it. Take it to meetings, use it as a partnership tool and draw on it to improve funding relationships.

The Compact goes beyond being merely a list of activities – it signifies a sense of spirit and an approach which people can understand and respond to without ever needing to read a case study or action plan.

A Compact way of working is about not just doing things the right way, but committing to continue doing so. Our local Compact acts as a way of showing our partners that we take a collaborative approach to working together, and that we are a trustworthy partner.

For more information on The National Compact please visit the Compact Voice website for more details.

 

 

 

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