Compact in action: London

Public and voluntary sector organisations in the capital have recommitted to the Compact.

According to the NCVO, 6 per cent of the London workforce is employed in the voluntary sector; the equivalent figure for the country as a whole is 2 per cent. In addition, about 23,000 registered charities are based in London. Clearly, the sector has a strong presence in the capital.

"It's not good politics to ignore the sector," says Elizabeth Balgobin, chief executive of the London Voluntary Service Council. "It represents many of the people who work in the city."

A robust Compact is vital if good relations between London's public and voluntary sectors are to be maintained. However, the size of the city and the public sector bodies that straddle it makes that difficult.

Many small public sector organisations have signed one of the Compacts that exist at borough level. But these do not apply across Greater London, which is why public and voluntary sector organisations got together on Monday during Compact Week to refresh their commitment to a London-wide Compact.

When the document was first published in 2003, Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, Transport for London, the London Development Agency and the LVSC were among the signatories. They were all due to renew their pledges to support the agreement this week. The Government Office for London, the Learning and Skills Council, local authority umbrella group London Councils, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority were due to sign for the first time.

Besides the LVSC, the Third Sector Alliance, which represents 225 voluntary networks in the capital, the Central London CVS Network and MiNet, which represents ethnic minority voluntary organisations in the city, were also due to attend. Dinah Cox, chief executive of think tank Race on the Agenda, was due to chair the event and Livingstone was expected to speak.

Balgobin says: "There is quite a lot happening with the Compact, but so much activity has been at borough level, and regional level has been ignored. Now is the time to concentrate on that. The event was aimed primarily at the statutory sector. Once they sign they won't be able to say they don't have a stake in the Compact in London."

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