Charities should sign up to the Compact, says Sir Bert Massie

Commissioner for the Compact calls for more visible support for the agreement

Sir Bert Massie, Commissioner for the Compact, wants third sector organisations to pledge publicly to follow Compact principles and help to raise the profile of the agreement.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Compact at London Zoo, Massie said the agreement, which sets out how public bodies and third sector organisations should treat each other, would be strengthened if voluntary sector bodies publicly promised to follow it.

He said some public bodies had privately expressed frustrations to him that third sector organisations were keen to criticise public bodies' breaches of the Compact, but would sometimes not keep to their own side of the deal.

He suggested that sector umbrella bodies should be among the first to sign up.

Massie also said he was disappointed at the response to a survey about awareness of the Compact among government departments and non-departmental public bodies.

The commission was hoping to receive at least 325 responses to the poll, carried out by researchers nfpSynergy, but received only 143. The results are expected at the end of March.

Nick Carey, a policy officer at Acevo, said the chief executives body fully supported the principles of the agreement but would be unable to force its members to follow it.

"We would publicise it to our members," he said. "But we will not be forcing our members to follow it because obviously that would be up to them."

Third sector minister Angela Smith sent a recorded message to delegates at the meeting, in which she apologised for not being able to attend because of her opposition to animals being kept in captivity. She remained fully committed to the principles of the Compact, she said.

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