The Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG) and National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) have accused the Cabinet Office of paying "lip service" to the Compact in its new consultation on commissioning which gives the sector less than a month to respond.
The sector organisations join Compact Voice in their concern over the Cabinet's short time frame for consultation with the sector on the Modernising Commissioning Green Paper, which contravenes the Compact's required 12-week consultation period.
Announced on 7 December, the sector has been given until 5 January to respond to the paper which asks for views on how a level playing field can be reached for civil society organisations in bidding for public service contracts.
"This issue is of real significance to the organisations we represent and it is imperative that we consult with our members on the specific questions when responding. However, with the Christmas period fast approaching it will be virtually impossible for either of our organisations or the government to meaningfully consult," CFDG chief Caron Bradshaw (pictured) and NCVO chief Stuart Etherington said in a letter to minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
The letter continued that the sector is already constrained over this time period by a consultation on the Supporting a Stronger Civil Society initiative which calls for responses by 6 January, and the Charity Commission consultation on its future role which closes onn 14 January.
"We would never wish to discourage consultation with the sector, but the current volume of formal or informal consultations means that genuine engagement across the sector is compromised and the government risks being accused of paying 'lip service' to it," Bradshaw and Etherington added.
The green paper is to inform the Public Service Reform White Paper due for publication in January.