Third sector minister Kevin Brennan has reacted favourably to plans to give the Commission for the Compact statutory powers.
Brennan told yesterday's Compact annual meeting in London that the idea "makes sense".
"We need to look at what vehicles we have available to achieve it because it requires legislation," he said. However, it is understood that no legislation to put the commission on a statutory footing will be contained in today's Queen's Speech.
Brennan said the Compact - the agreement between the public and voluntary sectors over how they should behave towards each other - needed more traction rather than more bite. "But there is also a desire that in gaining that traction it doesn't put people off wanting to be a part of it," he added.
Sir Bert Massie, Commissioner for the Compact, has asked Brennan to give the commission powers to investigate breaches of the Compact, demand information relevant to inquiries and make recommendations based on its findings (Third Sector Online, 2 December).
But he has ruled out trying to make the document itself a statutory requirement.
The Office of the Third Sector, which instigated a consultation into the future of the Compact, will now develop an action plan responding to Massie's recommendations, which also include rewriting the Compact and its codes and putting them into a single document.