The Compact is the agreement between the government and the third sector (independent voluntary organisations, charities, community groups, etc.) which outlines a way of working that improves their relationship for mutual advantage. It is also accompanied with an Accountability and Transparency Guide, which outlines steps to take at national and local level, including dispute resolution, internal complaints procedures and ombudsmen functions.
What does it offer?
The Compact offers improved funding processes, clear consultation standards, enforceable rights, and an overall improvement in working relationships. So 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.
A diplomatic approach to challenging bad practice works best. If a government department or statutory body hasn’t followed Compact principles, asking them whether they are being Compact-compliant can make things right. If you continue to experience difficulties, contact Compact Advocacy.
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.
All councils in England have a Local Compact which improves their relationship with the sector and other local public bodies. Whilst some Compacts are proving successful, others are not being implemented, mostly because they have not been resourced.