New draft Compact to be published today

Consultation period reduced to six weeks because of October's comprehensive spending review

Simon Blake: Compact Voice chair
Simon Blake: Compact Voice chair

A draft new version of the Compact will be published on Monday.

The document, which governs relationships between the public and voluntary sectors, is being renewed urgently because of October’s comprehensive spending review.

It is hoped the new version will contain measures that prevent government departments treating charities unfairly when spending cuts take effect.

The draft version will be the subject of a six-week consultation and is then expected to be ratified in November - less than a year after the publication of a refreshed version.

Compact Voice, which represents the voluntary sector on Compact issues, announced the renewal today.

It said the change of government necessitated the move and that the threat of severe public sector cuts justified the consultation period being reduced from the usual 12 weeks.

"A new government with a new agenda wants to ensure the Compact fits with its approach," said Simon Blake, chair of Compact Voice.

Blake said the renewed Compact would be accompanied by "associated accountability measures" that would give the agreement "the teeth the voluntary and community sector has been asking for, especially at this critical time". No details of these measures are available yet.

Interested parties can comment on the draft document on the Compact Voice website. A series of consultation events will also be held.

The Commission for the Compact, which led the refresh, is not directly involved in the renewal. The commission’s future will be determined after the government’s review of quangos.

Richard Corden, chief executive of the Commission for the Compact, said it would advise the government and Compact Voice whether the new document would work in practice and would improve relations between government and the third sector.

Asked if the renewal was necessary, Corden said: "Whether or nor it is necessary, it is politically inevitable. The refreshed Compact is a legacy of the previous government. It doesn’t resonate with the language and vocabulary of the big society programme."

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