Sector quango heads lament closure decisions

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 14 October 2010

Commissioner for the Compact Sir Bert Massie

Commissioner for the Compact Sir Bert Massie

Senior figures from Capacitybuilders, the Commission for the Compact and the Office for Civil Society Advisory Body say the sector will suffer from their loss

The voluntary sector will miss out on advice and support as a result of the abolition of Capacitybuilders, the Commission for the Compact and the Office for Civil Society Advisory Body by March 2011 unless their functions are carried out by other organisations, senior figures from the groups have warned.

The Cabinet Office announced yesterday that the organisations would be abolished, as part of a review that will result in 192 quangos closing down.

Sir Bert Massie, the Commissioner for the Compact, said he was disappointed at the decision to abolish his organisation, which works to promote the agreement between central government and the voluntary sector.

"The commission has been very effective over the past three years in renewing the Compact, raising its profile and showing how it could be better implemented," he said. "We are disappointed that the government has decided to close it.

"We hope that the Minister for Civil Society will soon announce what future arrangements he is putting in place to make sure that the government is accountable for meeting its Compact commitments."

Stephen Dunmore, the chair of the infrastructure body Capacitybuilders, said: "I regret that we will not now have the opportunity to build on the very significant improvements we have made in the development and delivery of our programmes over the past three years."

Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, the chair of the Office for Civil Society Advisory Body, told Third Sector she was not surprised the body had been abolished because its members' contracts were due to expire in March 2011.

"Our time has run out," she said. "And with the way things are going, I wouldn't have expected anything else. I hope the government will use other sources of advice from across the sector."

Capacitybuilders has 50 staff, including seven paid non-executive directors and a paid chair. The Commission for the Compact has 15 staff and the OCS Advisory Body has 11 paid members.

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