Implementing and embedding the new refreshed Compact is the next step for a new decade of government and voluntary sector partnership, according to Simon Blake, chair of Compact Voice.
Blake, speaking at the London Zoo, the venue for the official launch of the Refreshed Compact, said: “To see the implementation we need to bring it to life. We need to deliver, share best practice and give advice to the local community sector.
“Discussions on implementation and embedding is the next step. We need to look at practical implications and ask what it is in practice? It needs to be underpinned by strong national partnership. Compact Voice is looking forward to working with colleagues.”
Angela Smith delivered her support for the new Compact with a pre-recorded video message. Smith, who is a patron of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society and a strong supporter of animal rights, decided not to attend the launch as the venue, London Zoo, conflicted with her views on the rights of animals. She instead attended the Social Enterprise Coalition conference, Voice10, in Wales.
In her video speech Smith apologised for her absence saying:“I have strong opinions on zoos therefore it would be hypocritical of me to attend. But I’m still attached to the importance of the Compact despite my absence.”
Mirroring Blake’s message, Smith said the next step was implementing it successfully.
“All too often,” she said, “you hear about something going wrong with the Compact, but you don’t hear about the benefits at local level – we need to learn from these successful partnerships.”
But she conceded that implementation was "easy to say, but not easy to do".
She was followed by her government replacement at the launch, Dawn Butler MP, who opened her speech by calling the third sector the "first emergency service".
“We’ve got positive feedback from the voluntary sector on the new Compact,” said Butler. “We are proud of getting the job done and hope that the Compact can deliver now and in the future.”
Butler admitted, however, that government’s breach of the Compact when it scrapped the Campaigning Fund and transferred the funds to the Recession Fund, had challenged the seriousness of the government’s attachment to the document, but asserted that ministers had to make difficult decisions sometimes.
“It was a necessary but unfortunate decision. We need to rebuild confidence in the sector in action, not words,” she said.
Jeremy Beecham, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association said it was a “testing time” for central, local government and the third sector.
“Umbrella organisations and councils needed some informed debate on Compact guidance.
“The Conservatives see the voluntary sector as an alternative to the other delivery vehicles. This has significant implication for the sector. Now the sector can demonstrate how it adds value in terms of income. The environmental arena on different levels also has capacity to make a real difference.”
He said local authority employees could have a job swap with charity executives, and looking forward he also suggested that the private sector could be of help.