Compact in action: Wolverhampton Compact

From a relatively late start in 2005, the Wolverhampton Compact has won wide support and already enjoyed successes.

Compact Week, the annual awareness-raising initiative for the agreement, begins on Saturday. It will highlight good cross-sector partnerships over the past year, including the Wolverhampton Compact.

The city got its Compact relatively late, in 2005, but it has developed rapidly. The document, which includes six codes of practice and a conflict resolution procedure, is supported by the likes of Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton City Primary Care Trust, the Learning and Skills Council, the police and fire services and voluntary organisations.

Signatories are now using the document to create a single commissioning framework for everyone to abide by. The framework will adopt Compact principles, such as involving the voluntary sector at every stage of the commissioning process.

"The single framework will make it much easier for voluntary organisations to work with bodies such as the city council and the primary care trust," says Saffi Price, a Compact development officer employed by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council.

Price and Martha Cummings, senior voluntary and community sector officer at Wolverhampton City Council, are responsible for promoting the Compact. Last month, they organised a 'champions event' at which people from public and voluntary sector organisations vowed to champion the Compact to their colleagues.

They have already had successes: when the Learning and Skills Council breached its funding code, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council extracted £15,000 from it. The Local Strategic Partnership this year chose "an environment for a thriving third sector" as one of its national performance indicators and the Compact will be used to measure progress.

"When I came into post in February 2006, the Compact wasn't spoken about," says Price. "People now understand it is there and it has changed practice."

Wolverhampton Compact is on a shortlist of 12 finalists for the 2008 Compact Awards, organised by the Commission for the Compact.

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