Compact principles 'should be written into contracts'

Charity Law Association's response to Compact consultation also says agreement should be renamed

The Government should tell local authorities to incorporate the terms of the Compact into all their contracts with voluntary sector organisations, according to a Charity Law Association working party.

The recommendation came in the CLA's response, made public this week, to the Commission for the Compact's consultation on refreshing the Compact, which ended in October.   

The working party, chaired by Stephen Ravenscroft, a partner at law firm Stone King Sewell, ruled out giving the Compact any statutory force.

Its response says the Compact is best seen as a code of conduct and that the best way to ensure it is implemented beyond central government would be to direct local authorities and primary care trusts to write its terms into their contracts with sector organisations.

It says the recommendation is based on experience in other areas where compliance with a code, such as the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Workforce Matters in Public Sector Service Contracts, has been secured by writing it into contracts.

The working party says widespread ignorance and indifference about the Compact should be addressed by making it more "succinct and user-friendly".

It says the Compact should be relaunched with an awareness campaign and a new name that more clearly describes its purpose. Phrases such as 'partnership agreement' or 'memorandum of understanding' are far more readily understood in the sector, it says.

An updated version of the Compact, which sets out how public and third sector organisations should treat each other, is due to be unveiled on 16 December.


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