No statutory powers for Compact Commissioner

Ed Miliband has ruled out giving the Compact Commissioner statutory powers in the near future but pledged to review the position in the long term.

Speaking at the official launch of the Commission for the Compact, the minister for the third sector told delegates that the question of whether the Compact should have statutory backing was "an interesting dilemma".

"You can see the attraction of people wanting extra statutory powers," he said. "However there is a sense that the breadth of the Compact would be hard to reflect in legal powers.

"This is something we will have to look at further down the road but I can see arguments on both sides. It is important that the Compact is seen in very broad terms not narrow terms."

Compact Commissioner John Stoker said: "You could have the Compact on a statutory footing and try to regulate the relationship of hundreds of partners and thousands of partnerships, but that is not terribly user friendly. There is no reset button that you can hit. I do not think that statutory powers are a simple answer to this."

Giving the Compact Commissioner powers to enforce the agreement could also stifle innovation, he warned. "If you have powers, as well as telling you what you can do, it also tells you what you can't do."

Stoker also pledged that the Commission for the Compact would produce a more concise version of the Compact's "lengthy" commitments in a bid to make them more accessible as part of a review of the overall document.

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