Compact in action: The Commission for the Compact

Preparations continue before the organisation is due to go fully operational later this year.

The Commission for the Compact was officially established in March, but it won't be fully up and running until the autumn at the earliest.

The organisation, which received £1.5m start-up funding from the Office of the Third Sector, still has no permanent staff apart from John Stoker, the commissioner. Angela Sibson, the commission's chief executive, has just resigned (<a href="http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/News/Article/665003/Compact-chief-executive-quits/">Third Sector Online</a>, 18 June).

The commission intends to recruit between 12 and 15 staff by October. In the meantime, three interim policy managers and an interim communications manager have been hired on six-month contracts. Two non-executive directors will work between 10 and 12 days a year on a daily rate of £250.

Besides Stoker, who spends most of his time in the capital, all the interim staff are based in Birmingham. They share the same building as Capacitybuilders and the two organisations combine some back-office functions. The main tasks of the interim staff include looking at ways of assessing the Compact's performance and creating a base of evidence to show what it can be used to achieve.

The commission unveiled its proposed business plan, which will shape what it does over the next three years, at its launch event. One aim is to create a shorter, more modern national Compact that takes into account recent developments, such as the establishment of the Office of the Third Sector.

The commission regards itself as an honest broker between public and voluntary sectors, rather than a body that will fight to support charities in one-off battles. That task is likely to remain the responsibility of the NCVO's Compact Advocacy Programme.

Richard Stone, the commission's interim communications manager, says the organisation intends to adopt a more thematic approach. "If the Compact Advocacy Programme had 25 cases on the same issue, the commission would look at that," he says. The commission has no formal powers, however, and it is unclear what impact it will have on Compact abusers.

Organisations and individuals have until the end of the month to submit their views on what they think the Compact should do before the plan is formally adopted.

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