Press release

Government and voluntary sector agree new Compact

A renewed Compact - an agreement governing relations between government and civil society organisations in England has been published.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


A renewed Compact - the agreement which governs relations between the government and civil society organisations in England - has been published today by government and Compact Voice, the organisation which represents civil society organisations on the Compact.

Read the Compact.

The new agreement is shorter and more focused and aims to create the right environment for partnership working. It is backed by a set of accountability and transparency measures outlined in a new guide which has also been published today.

In addition, the National Audit Office will carry out a one-off study into the operation of the Compact across government which will be reported to parliament.

This unprecedented level of scrutiny aims to enhance adherence to the Compact and provide a strong platform for the Cabinet Office and Compact Voice to work together to embed the agreement in day to day relations between government and civil society. 

Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd said:

The renewed Compact is more relevant to current priorities, it’s shorter, clearer and is backed by full Parliamentary accountability. Charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises have a critical role to play in public service reform, community empowerment and social action - the 3 streams of the Big Society.

It is more important than ever that the public sector and civil society act with respect for each other as we tackle social challenges together. That’s why I’m very pleased the National Audit Office will bring a new level of accountability by reporting to Parliament on the operation of the Compact in government.

Simon Blake, Chair of Compact Voice, said:

The sector has wanted a Compact with teeth for a long time. This new Compact with greater accountability provides just that. With major changes in relationships and funding across the country, more than ever both parties need to know, and stick by, the ‘rules of the game’. I call on the voluntary and community sector, and government to get behind and use this Compact now as a compass for effective partnership.

Notes to editors

  1. Compact Voice is the key representative body for the voluntary sector on Compact matters. It is the co-signatory to the national Compact, which it developed in partnership with the Office for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office in 2010. Compact Voice is a membership organisation whose members represent more than 20,000 civil society organisations.

  2. The role of promoting the Compact has been managed by the Commission for the Compact which will close following a government review of non-departmental public bodies. This role will be taken on jointly by the Cabinet Office and Compact Voice.

  3. For more information about the Compact renewal, the accountability measures or the work of Compact Voice, contact Dugald McNaughtan, Communications Officer, Compact Voice (NCVO), on 020 7520 2486.

Published 14 December 2010