But Cabinet Office says third sector minister is '100 per cent committed to the refreshed Compact' despite declining to go the a Compact meeting at London Zoo
Third sector minister Angela Smith's failure to attend today's Compact annual meeting could be interpreted as a lack of commitment to the agreement, according to Compact Voice.
Smith is due to speak at the social enterprise conference Voice10 in Cardiff but had nevertheless ruled out attending the Compact event because it is being held at London Zoo. She is a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society, which wants zoos abolished.
Tom Elkins, manager of Compact Voice, which represents the voluntary sector on Compact matters, said: "While we respect Angela Smith's reluctance to attend personally due to her involvement with the Captive Animals' Protection Society, we're aware that some may consider this an indication of a lack of commitment to the Compact.
"We hope that Government will assuage these concerns by taking this opportunity to publicly restate its commitment to the refreshed Compact, and to detail how these principles will be implemented, embedded and strengthened in Government practice."
Smith was strongly criticised last November for breaching the Compact, the 12-year-old agreement that outlines how the public and voluntary sectors should behave towards each other, when she scrapped the Campaigning Research Programme, withdrawing grants to 32 voluntary organisations without consultation and transferring the money to the Hardship Fund.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said Smith was "completely, 100 per cent committed to the refreshed Compact".
He said Dawn Butler, minister for young citizens and youth engagement, who is attending the Compact meeting instead of Smith, would focus on "outlining the next steps in ensuring the refreshed Compact is properly implemented, embedded and strengthened".