Compact in action: North West Regional Compact

The Government Office for the North West wants views on how to avoid duplication in its draft Compact for the region

Ten years after the Compact was created, hardly a town or city isn't covered by a local agreement as well as the national one. But some places are now also developing regional Compacts to cover wider areas.

Yorkshire and the Humber, the south west, the south east and eastern regions already have regional Compacts. Now the north west, which has 64,000 paid third sector staff, is following suit.

A draft North West Regional Compact, written by the Government Office for the North West, is out for consultation until the end of the month.

Jacquie O'Neill, head of diversity, community cohesion and the third sector at GONW, says the regional Compact will help voluntary groups influence GONW policies and the wider regional agenda.

"They would, for instance, be able to get more involved in how the region could respond to the economic downturn," she says.

The draft North West Regional Compact says it is "not designed to supersede local arrangements", but O'Neill acknowledges there are concerns that creating a new document will cause confusion. "That's a risk we've identified," she says. "We want to get views from organisations about how we might avoid duplication."

A working group established to implement the regional Compact is dominated by regional statutory sector bodies, such as the North West Learning and Skills Council, NHS North West and the Northwest Regional Development Agency, as well as GONW. Voluntary Sector North West is the sole charity representative.

Warren Escadale, policy and communications officer at Voluntary Sector North West, says the regional Compact will support the public sector's commitment to the voluntary sector and strengthen the sector's contribution to the region. "Effective partnership working is key, but a regional Compact is especially timely given the trend towards a more regional political structure in the north west," he says.

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