Less than a fifth of voluntary organisations in England feel that statutory bodies are actively engaged with their local Compact, according to a new study.
The Annual Local Compact Survey 2012: Results, produced by Compact Voice, which represents the voluntary sector on the Compact, shows that whereas 47 per cent of statutory sector feels it is actively engaged with the Compact, only 18 per cent of the voluntary sector agrees with this view.
The survey’s 354 participants, from both statutory bodies and voluntary sector organisations, were asked if they felt that statutory bodies were actively involved in the Compact, the agreement that sets out how public and voluntary sector organisations should relate to each other.
The responses, covering 77 per cent of local Compact agreements, show that 30 per cent of respondents believe the Compact-compliant notice period before changes to funding are made is observed only "some of the time" or "not at all".
And only 19 per cent say consultations have "always" been open for a Compact-compliant period of at least 12 weeks over the past year.
Only 38 per cent of voluntary sector respondents agree that those working in the statutory sector know about their local Compact, compared with 47 per cent last year. However, 71 per cent of statutory sector respondents say they know about it, up from 64 per cent last year.
But 82 per cent of respondents agree that the Compact is important and that "effort needs to be made to implement it in full".
Tom Elkins, manager of Compact Voice, said the survey showed high levels of support for the Compact. "However, we are noticing a trend that suggests there is a widening gap in how successfully different sectors think their local Compact is being used," he said.
"On one hand it may be that leadership from central government in the past year has raised the profile of the Compact within public sector organisations, leading public sector respondents to feel more optimistic about their local Compact.
"On the other hand, the tough economic outlook for the voluntary and community sector may be causing a general malaise among voluntary and community sector respondents that is affecting their perceptions of the Compact."