UK National Compact Under Review
22 September 2010 at 3:53 pm
The UK Coalition Government has embarked on a review of its relationship with the Not for Profit sector by releasing a renewed version of its National Compact.
The independent body representing the third sector in the Compact, called Compact Voice has described the review as the beginning of a new phase in the development of the Compact.
Compact Voice is made up of an autonomous alliance of leading third sector organisations with national, regional and local reach, providing the voice of the sector on Compact issues.
Compact Voice chair Simon Blake says senior figures in government, including the UK Prime Minister, have publicly stated their support for the Compact but that it needs to be strengthened. Compact Voice says it is therefore working with Government to ensure it is aligned with both the Coalition Government and the sector’s priorities and that it will have the teeth to increase its effectiveness.
The draft Compact, which is an agreement between the Not for Profit sector and the Government on how to better work together, has been cut back to 37 key principles compared to 95 in its current format.
Simon Blake says some key aspects have been agreed as vital to ensuring that the Compact remains a central document between the two sectors, reflecting priorities which have been identified by Compact Voice, the voluntary and community sector, and central and local government.
These are that it:
• – provides more effective accountability
• – is easier to use and understand
• – is aligned to the new policy initiatives such as the Big Society
• – remains relevant to challenges faced by the sector such as spending cuts and budget reductions
• – is used during major policy announcements or changes, such as the October Spending Review
Blake says he understands that some organisations may be concerned about potential changes to the Compact and frustrated that it is being renewed so soon after the last update.
The Compact which was drawn up in 1998 was 're-freshed' in December 2099.
However he says that it is in the best interests of the sector to undertake this renewal and the Sector will only sign up to the final document and associated accountability mechanisms if it ensures a good deal for the whole of the voluntary and community sector.
The draft maintains the UK government's commitment to providing three-year funding for voluntary groups.
However, the draft omits a promise to remove barriers that might prevent voluntary organisations from contributing to policy development.
A new commitment from the government to "reduce the bureaucratic burden" on the voluntary sector has been added to the document.
UK Not for Profits have been given until the end of October to comment on the Draft Compact.
In Australia a National Compact with the Not for Profit sector was signed in March, 2010. The National Compact agrees that Australian Government and the NFP will work together to improve social, cultural, civic, economic and environmental outcomes, building on the strengths of individuals and communities.
To find out more about Compact Voice Australia go to: http://compactvoiceaustralia.ning.com/
Find out more about the UK Review go to: www.compactvoice.org.uk