Key facts from the consultation on the draft renewed Compact

From 20 September to 29 October 2010, Compact Voice actively sought feedback from the community and voluntary sector on the draft text of the renewed Compact. Through the support of Compact Champions, Regional Leaders and Compact colleagues, Compact Voice received 129 written responses, attended 47 events across the nine regions of England and engaged with approximately 1500 individuals.

Responses were received from national and local CVS', community groups, individuals, Compact implementation groups, infrastructure organisations, campaigning groups, social enterprises and unions.

Having received an impressive number of responses to our consultation on the draft renewed Compact (PDF 74KB), we will be negotiating with the Office for Civil Society over the next couple of weeks to ensure the best deal for the sector based on the input we received.

We have been enormously encouraged by both the volume and the high quality of responses, despite the short consultation period which was needed to ensure we can deliver a renewed Compact in time to be used in decision making processes following the spending review.

KEY THEMES

Responses welcomed:

Local Compact conference papersThe shorter document - Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about the length of the draft renewed Compact. It was felt that a shorter, more concise Compact would be accessible to a wider audience and would enjoy a higher profile as a result.

Social Value - Enshrining social value at the heart of service design and performance monitoring has received clear support in the responses we have received. However, some respondents wanted the term to be more clearly defined in the text.

Free CRB checks - The undertaking by government to keep Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) registration free to volunteers was welcomed by many of the responses.

Responses were concerned about:

Sub-contracting and European Funding - Points 3.9 (“Ensure that prime and sub-contractors … commit to working within the Compact”) and 3.10 (“apply the Compact when distributing European funding”) of the draft renewed Compact were supported.  These points are listed as being “under review within government” and respondents felt strongly that they should be retained in the final document.

No reference to infrastructure - Many responses expressed concerns that the draft renewed Compact fails to mention national and local infrastructure organisations. The need for infrastructure to be adequately resourced was seen as important in supporting a thriving sector.  However there were a minority of responses which questioned the need for infrastructure organisations to be singled out for support. 

CSOs - A significant number of responses raised concerns about the use of the term Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Whilst some simply wanted the term to be more clearly defined, others noted the term could encompass wider organisations such as trade unions and political parties which have not been previously covered by the Compact. Some responses expressed concern that the term had been introduced by government without their support or engagement, preferring ‘voluntary and community sector’ to describe them.

Accountability measures – While a majority of responses welcomed the announcement that new accountability mechanisms would be introduced, there was a clear preference to have been able to see what these measures were during the consultation period itself. Others stated that whatever the accountability mechanisms introduced, they needed to be supported at both national and local level in order for them to be taken seriously.  There was also a lot of discussion about the wider link between national and local Compacts. 

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