Commission for the Compact rejects call to delay new version of Compact

Chief executive Richard Corden argues for big push to promote revised document in the new year

The Commission for the Compact has rejected a suggestion from Compact Voice that the publication of the refreshed Compact should be put on hold until third sector minister Angela Smith gives assurances that she will not breach the agreement again.

Smith broke the Compact, which outlines how the voluntary and public sectors should behave towards each other, when she withdrew grants that her office had offered to 32 campaigning groups last month.

Compact Voice, which represents the voluntary sector on Compact issues, has been seeking "concrete and demonstrable assurances" that it won't happen again.

Smith's failure to offer such a guarantee prompted the organisation to question whether it was sensible for the change to go ahead, particularly given that the minister is among the signatories.

Richard Corden, chief executive of the Commission for the Compact, said preparations for the change, which has been brought forward a day to 15 December, were continuing.

Corden said it would be ideal if the minister offered a guarantee to abide by the Compact in future. But he added: "I can't see any minister ever giving that absolute commitment. That would be impossible.

"It would be much easier for the minister to say ‘my department and I will conduct our relationship with the third sector in accordance with the spirit of the Compact'."

The change to the Compact will be a low-key occasion with no event planned.

"I'm not bothered about the actual launch," said Corden. "The main thing is to put a lot of effort into promoting the Compact from the new year onwards.

"One of the things that wasn't done with the original Compact was to promote and sell it to government.

"It was felt it would implement itself and it didn't. Next year is an important time to make a big splash."





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