Compact Voice will back 'refreshed' version of the agreement

But third sector minister Angela Smith has not given the assurance it wanted that the Government will not break the Compact again

Compact Voice has given its backing for the Compact refresh, due to be launched tomorrow, after previously questioning whether it should go ahead.

The organisation, which represents the voluntary sector on Compact issues, this month called on third sector minister Angela Smith to give "concrete and demonstrable assurances" that she would not breach the Compact again before it would back the refresh.

Smith has apologised for breaching the agreement, which sets out the principles of the relationship between the public and voluntary sectors, by scrapping grants that had been promised to 32 campaigning organisations last month, without consultation. But she has not guaranteed it will not happen again.

A statement from Compact Voice said Smith had told its chair, Simon Blake, that she would present "clear actions" at the next Compact annual meeting on 1 February on how the Government could implement and champion the refreshed Compact.

These included better and more credible reporting methods from the Government on implementation, with annual reviews of progress.

The statement also said Smith, who has signed the refreshed Compact, had agreed to try to find a legislative vehicle for giving the Commission for the Compact statutory powers as soon as possible, although this is unlikely to happen before next year's general election.

A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector confirmed the contents of the Compact Voice statement.

Blake commented in the statement: "The minister offered assurances that this was a one-off breach of the Compact and that she remains committed to its implementation.

"While the minister's recent decision was regrettable, it is important that the sector regains confidence in her support for the Compact, and continues to recognise its value."

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