The department wrote to selected large national infrastructure organisations on 30 November. It offered funding to support front-line voluntary sector organisations wishing to secure contracts under the National Offender Management Service. But applicants were told to indicate their interest by 10 December.
Saskia Daggett, Compact manager at Compact Voice, said that the short response time could be in breach of the Compact.
"Section 3.8 of the funding code says that organisations should have enough time to respond," she said. "It does not give a specific timeline, but potentially there is an issue there because it does seem a bit short."
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said that it believed the time given to respond was sufficient. She said: "We felt it was adequate for a short pre-qualification questionnaire that shouldn't have been too resource-intensive to complete."
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, last week announced details of the launch of the Ministry of Justice's third sector network and third sector strategy.