Local Compacts are hampered by falling resources, finds survey

Tom Elkins, manager of Compact Voice, says there is a high level of support for the Compact, but that reduced resources are a problem

Tom Elkins
Tom Elkins
Resources available to support local Compacts are falling, according to Compact Voice, the organisation set up to represent the voluntary sector on the Compact.

Compact Voice’s third annual survey of local Compacts, carried out in August this year, received 327 responses from people working across local authorities and voluntary sector organisations. The responses covered 85 per cent of the 165 local Compacts that currently exist in England.

It found that 80 per cent of local Compacts did not have sufficient resources to employ a paid member of staff and 78 per cent did not anticipate hiring anyone for the following 12 months.

In a statement, Compact Voice said the findings highlighted that "available resources for local Compacts are decreasing".

The Compact is the agreement established under the Labour government that sets out how voluntary and public sector organisations should relate with each other. Almost all council areas have local Compacts, which set out how the principles in the national agreement should be interpreted at a local level.

A spokeswoman for Compact Voice said that during interviews conducted with a number of key figures working on the Compact and in comments left on the survey itself, many respondents reported that there was a lack of resources available for local Compacts. 

The survey also found that 83 per cent of the 226 voluntary and community sector respondents who took part in the survey, and 47 per cent of the 86 respondents from local authorities, agreed with the statement that "cuts are disproportionately affecting the voluntary and community sector".

When asked about the future, 56 per cent of voluntary and community sector respondents said they expected to see a decrease in funding, and 90 per cent of local authority respondents expected to see a decrease in their revenue over the next 12 months.

But the survey also found that support for the Compact was high, with 89 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement that the Compact "is important and effort needs to be made to implement it in full".

Tom Elkins, Compact Voice manager, said: "While it is reassuring that there remain such high levels of support for the Compact, reduced resources are clearly a major issue. We will be working with local Compacts to see how best to ensure partnership principles continue to be championed in the context of limited funding."

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