The Refreshed Westminster Compact - Let's make a difference this time!

Compact Consultations - Have you booked to come and have your say?

We would like to give this refreshed Westminster Compact clout and make it a live document that will work for the VCS in Westminster.

The Compact is a shared framework, which says how statutory organisations and voluntary organisations should work together. By developing a set of shared principles, the Compact aims to promote greater trust and co-operation.

The 12-week consultation on the draft Westminster Compact is currently under way.  This is an important document for local voluntary and community groups, your responses will help shape the Compact Action Plan and its effective implementation.

Voluntary Action Westminster, as part of the Compact Steering Group, has organised three workshop events to help you discuss the Compact with others and have your say.
Wednesday 08 February 2pm to 4pm (afternoon)
Voluntary Action Westminster, 37 Chapel Street, London NW1 5DP
Wednesday 08 February, 6pm to 8pm (evening)
Migrants Resource Centre, 24 Churton Street, London,SW1V 2LP
Tuesday 14 February 10am to 12noon
All Souls' Club House, 141 Cleveland Street, London W1T 6QG

The consultation asks you to feedback on 14 questions (including the three about you). We recommend very highly that you take some time to read the document (only 14 easy read pages) and respond to all questions. We asked, in particular, that questions 10 and 11 be added, in addition to question 3 on the 'about you' page of the questionnaire. We hope these will allow additional qualitative responses.

One of the areas we have made headways on in this Compact is to include an Accountability and Conflict Resolution section on page 6; this item will assist us to challenge any breaches of the Compact and its principles.  We believe this item could be more robust in terms of how breaches of the Compact agreement could be handled. You may have a view and can comment on this area to assist its implementation.

Page 7 talks about a strong, diverse and independent civil society. Whilst we agree with the elements of this section, we believe that more is required to help make us a more sustainable sector to enable more improved outcomes for our beneficiaries. You may have a view on what additional support may be required in the sector, or creativity to advance this.

You told us that many areas of commissioning have been an issue for you such as: monitoring and evaluation requirements, multi-year funding, three months notice on contracts coming to and end, tender submission on a full cost recovery, processes for dealing with changes to future resources.

On pages 9/10, all these issues are included. However you may wish to comment on what you think might be missing, eg

  • What about 3 months' notice of contracts starting so that you know whether to release staff or not (in terms of redundancies)?
  • What about commissioning and procuring services that encourage collaborative working with small providers?
  • When the document talks about having reasonable, realistic and achievable time frames, does this need to be defined? Just what is considered reasonable? Perhaps commissioning and procurement should always use EU procurement time frames (eg 37 days for receipt of Pre-Qualification Questionnaires and 40 days for receipt of tenders)?
  • Also how can we ensure that monitoring and evaluation requirements are proportionate?
  • How can we ensure that commissioning processes do not disproportionately disadvantage VCOs, particularly those working with under-represented groups?
  • We believe that this Compact document should be included in the business plans of all those signed up to it as it ensures compliance and real commitment. What do you think?

It’s worth thinking about, or even including in your response, the actions you think should be taken forward to implement this Compact and make it work...what would they be and what would you prioritise?

It’s important that you respond separately as individual organisations. When you are available, we recommend that you attend one of the 3 consultation workshops to help you discuss the Compact with others. VAW will use the workshop feedback to respond to the consultation on behalf of the VCS.

Download the Compact consultation document

Download the Compact consultation questions

Voluntary Action Westminster is a registered charity (no. 1068824) and is registered as a company in England and Wales with company number 03518124.  Copyright Voluntary Action Westminster 2009

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