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New toolkit will help councils assess Compact savings

New toolkit will help councils assess Compact savings
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New toolkit will help councils assess Compact savings1

Finance | Tania Mason | 18 Aug 2010

The Commission for the Compact is poised to launch a toolkit that will demonstrate to local authorities how much money they can save by using the Compact in their dealings with voluntary sector groups.

Commission chief executive Richard Corden said there seemed to be a common misconception among local councils that adhering to the Compact will add expense. So a few months ago the Commission hired consultants Grant Thornton to research how applying the Compact in their relationships with the voluntary sector could help councils achieve social and economic benefits, and then to design some tools to help them measure the potential efficiencies and performance improvements.

Policy adviser Richard Williams said: “We think there is a need, in the current climate, to try and sell the Compact in a different way.  Money talks so we think we can achieve greater currency by highlighting the efficiencies that can be made.”

The tools available will be partly a self-assessment product, to help councils measure how the Compact can help across 12 broad service areas.  There will also be some case studies to illustrate the benefits achieved by others.

The toolkit will be housed within a dedicated area of the Commission’s website from early September, and will comprise a simple Excel spreadsheet onto which local authorities can load their own information.  The Commission plans to write to the chief executive of every local authority to alert them to the toolkit.

The Commission is also inviting voluntary sector agencies to share with it examples of good and bad practice by funders as they make spending cuts.

Paul Barasi
Engagement Officer
NCVO
27 Aug 2010

We at Compact Voice are aware that voluntary organisations are being chased by so many for information on cuts just when they are the most hard pressed in dealing with it.

We are interested in actual stories that illustrate what is happening - and the Compact Advocacy Service exists to help groups get a fair deal when there are Compact breaches - but otherwise we are more than happy for people to be reporting information to the NCVO survey:

http://bit.ly/9niYD1

I would urge the Commission for the Compact to signpost to NCVO too.

What I would like the Commission to get into is the other end: government departments, councils, primary care trusts, to adopt good practice - they signed up to the Compact because doing it's good for them and it's precisely when things get tough that it is most important to follow the Compact.

Good practice right now is patchy and random. In one county hall they invite groups in to talk over managing cuts together and to make joint impact assessments, as well as consulting properly and giving 12 weeks notice of funding changes. But in the county right next door, the council has pulled down the shutters and the doors are bolted as non-Compact compliant cuts are made.

Those Councils that fail on how cuts are made will surely falter later when it comes to looking for voluntary sector partners to deliver preventive services, tackle avoidable costs, cover gaps, build the big society or whatever – because capacity and good relations will have gone.

There is clearly a message many councils have not yet heard, understood or accepted. Far better that Commission helps make sure they do, instead of duplicating information reporting of cuts.

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