Government departments pledge commitment to the Compact during difficult financial times

As the roll-out of recent spending cuts to public services continues, Compact Voice is pleased to learn that The Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) have both announced new initiatives to promote their commitment to the Compact.

Working alongside Compact Voice, CLG and DH have responded to concerns that many local voluntary and community sector organisations will be facing cuts to their funding without regard to the principles of the Compact (PDF 395KB).

Recent announcements about cuts to local authority funding have affected many organisations, with changes made to how front-line services are supported locally. Alarmingly, Compact Voice has been made aware of many examples across the country where cuts have been announced without following the principles of the Compact.

Recognising the challenges ahead for many organisations, CLG have committed to working alongside Compact Voice, the Office for Civil Society, and the Local Government Association to  help support the sharing of good practice, encourage discussion, and support the continued application of the principles of the Compact during any changes to spending agreements.

This trend echoes the announcement from Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, in his address to a conference in London last week that one priority for the new cross-departmental big society committee of ministers would be making sure the Compact was observed across Whitehall.

They will support and promote our webpage www.compactvoice.org.uk/cuts, which provides information to both public sector bodies and voluntary groups about the importance of the Compact when making spending cuts. They also stated that the positive outcomes the Compact can deliver should continue despite difficult spending decisions to be made by local authorities and government as a whole.

Compact Voice has also worked with the Department of Health in exploring new ways to promote changes to their grant application processes, which have been affected by the recent election.

Recognising that changes to application processes – not least in the context of wider spending cuts – might raise concerns in organisations who may have been considering applying, DH have indicated that they will continue to follow Compact principles when announcing new funding and grant opportunities to the Sector. DH have agreed to work with us to ensure that any changes take account of the sector's concerns; and to advise and support organisations in the sector to ensure they understand to any changes made.

Tom Elkins, Manager of Compact Voice said:

“That both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health recognise the importance of the Compact at this difficult time is welcome. By following the Compact they will be able to ensure the right decisions are taken and minimise the negative impact of the cuts, and we would encourage other departments to follow their example.”

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