Government departments and the Compact

1. Compact Voice and the Cabinet Office - Joint Action Plan

Compact Voice agree a Joint Action Plan every year with the Cabinet Office.

The Joint Action Plan sets out the areas where joint working is planned and complements Compact Voice’s operational plan.

The plan lists a number of shared priorities for how Compact Voice and the Cabinet Office will work together to better embed the Compact across departments.

Every government department now also has a designated Compact lead, and the Joint Action Plan this year contains undertakings for them as well, with the aim of raising awareness and improving how the Compact is implemented across national government departments.

A PDF version of the 2014/15 plan can be downloaded here.

2. The Compact in government department business plans

The Compact is one of the government's seven cross departmental priorities, which government departments must include in their business plans.

The cross departmental priorities are:

  • The Compact
  • Open Public Services
  • Social Mobility
  • Red Tape Challenge
  • Sustainable Development
  • Efficiency and Reform
  • Civil Service Reform

The Government is committed to driving progress on the Compact across different departments. Departments are contributing to this through the commitments listed below. 

The information below is also available on the Number 10 website.

Departmental Business Plans:

  1. Cabinet Office
  2. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
  3. Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
  4. Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  5. Department for the Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  6. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  7. Department for Education (DfE)
  8. Department for Transport (DfT)
  9. Department of Health (DH)
  10. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  11. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  12. Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT)
  13. Home Office
  14. Ministry of Justice

Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office is the cross-governmental lead department for the Civil Society Compact. We will ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. A list of specific actions is contained in the Cabinet Office Business Plan under the following headings:
  • Empower communities by training a new generation of community organisers and supporting the creation of neighbourhood groups, especially in the most deprived areas (Action 5.1)
  • Support charities, social enterprises, small businesses and other non-governmental bodies to compete for opportunities opened up by public service reform (Action 5.2)
  • Deliver a National Citizen Service for 16-17 year olds to give them the skills for work and life and to promote a more cohesive and engaged society  (Action 5.3)
  • Support the development of social finance and enterprises to solve social problems and boost economic growth (Action 5.4)

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector, including:
  • Enable greater private investment research in and aid the commercialisation of technology and research through the creation of centres of scientific and technological excellence and stronger links between universities and industries (Action 1.2)
  • Support the construction and establishment of the Francis Crick Institute through a unique partnership between the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust and three of London’s top universities (University College London, Imperial College London and Kings College London). Its goal will be to understand the biology underlying human health and find to prevent and treat major diseases (Action 1.2.i)
  • Introduce stronger consumer protections (Action 5.4)

Continue the consultative dialogue with the Third Sector National Learning Alliance (TSNLA) to ensure that third sector learning and skills interests are taken into account in a systematic way through:

  • Holding regular bilateral and trilateral meetings with TSNLA and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) on third sector learning and skills issues;
  • Working with the SFA to review its relationship with third sector providers to ensure that the sector's unique contribution to working with more hard-to-reach and disadvantaged groups is maximised, and to update the protocol between the SFA and TSNLA to provide a framework for productive joint working; and
  • Contributing to the work of the Third Sector-led Implementation Board, facilitated by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education, taking action to address the findings from BIS funded research to minimise barriers to achieving Government's ambitions for the Third Sector to play its full role in learning and skills.

Department for Communities and Local Government

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • No Second Night services in place in all local authorities with significant number of rough sleepers to support rough sleepers into accommodation (Action 2.9.i)
  • Support and enable local public service reform by building on and spreading learning from community budgets (Action 3.1)
  • Enable neighbourhoods to take control of their area (Action 3.2)
  • Work with local areas to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families (Action 3.3)

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector, including:
  • Bring forward proposals to reform the current exemptions to classification in the Video Recordings Act, and the regulation of advertisements shown in cinemas (Action 1.5)
  • Consult on deregulation of measures to benefit community film exhibition (Action 1.6.iii)
  • Identify and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens in relation to associated gambling activity e.g. small community based raffles, and licensing requirements (Action 1.12.iii)

Department for Education

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • We will ensure that there is a strategic approach in place across the department to enable more effective engagement with civil society, including local communities and harder to reach groups which may fall outside our traditional stakeholder networks
  • We will develop capacity and expertise within the department to apply the principles of the Compact and open policy-making to our engagement with civil society
  • Our management of the department’s strategic interfaces with civil society – our Civil Society Advisory Board (CSAB) and Social Enterprise Strategic Partnership (SESP) – will provide us with expert support and challenge from the sector itself, which we will use to guide the department’s strategic direction and promote change within the organisation
  • We will identify opportunities for the use of innovative communication techniques, in order to improve the development and delivery of policies by more effectively drawing in resources and expertise from outside DEFRA, and making best use of our network of strategic civil society contacts; we will seek to use social media as a way of communicating with harder to reach civil society groups and local communities
A number of the priorities in DEFRA’s business plan are strongly dependent on civil society involvement for their successful delivery, including:
  • Support sustainable economic growth in rural areas (Action 1.3)
  • Set the strategic direction on conservation and biodiversity at home and abroad (Action 2.3)
  • Improve water quality (Action 2.5)
  • Drive a “zero waste” agenda (Action 2.6)
  • Build the UK’s ability to adapt to climate change (Action 2.8)
  • Ensure public woodland is preserved and enhanced (Action 2.11)

Department for Transport

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, working collaboratively with the civil society sector, including:
  • Identify a Compact Champion to lead on further embedding of the Compact in the department
  • Continue to encourage local authorities to work with civil society organisations in delivering Local Sustainable Transport Fund funded projects
  • Work with Compact Voice and Office of Civil Society to run awareness raising events in DfT, including during Compact week
  • Develop questionnaire to seek feedback from our partners on the effectiveness of the department’s work with Civil Society Organisations 

Department of Work and Pensions

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • Under the DWP Commercial Strategy we will continue to use procurement to further social objectives, promote economic growth and diverse and competitive
  • markets
  • We
  • recognise the expertise that civil society organisations can bring and will continue to encourage them to be part of our supply chains
  • We will engage early with the sector about new requirements and as contracts progress to manage and improve performance and competitiveness
  • We will monitor and report the number and value of business with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
  • We will continue to follow the requirements of the Compact Accountability and Transparency Guide
  • We will continue to work with Work Programme providers and use the Merlin Standard to promote the use of third sector organisations in our supply chains
  • Engage the sector in the review of our Commissioning Strategy for the Welfare to Work sector, taking account of good practice and key developments in DWP and broader government strategy and Cabinet Office guidance

Department of Energy and Climate Change

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • Developing a Community Energy Strategy, due Autumn 2013, which seeks to map activity and best practice in communities against DECC’s agenda
  • Establishing a Community Energy Contact Group made up of civil society representatives to advise on community energy across all DECC policy areas
We have recently funded a range of projects (£46m) on Green Deal, fuel poverty and collective switching many of which involved community partnerships working with and through local authorities.

We have also funded the Centre for Sustainable Energy to produce an interactive pack with ongoing support to community and third sector organisations on Green Deal.

Department of Health

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact by DH and its arm’s length bodies, including collaborative working with the civil society sector on the following:
  • The DH Voluntary and Social Enterprise Programme will actively engage and consult the sector on key policy developments and reforms
  • Encourage NHS organisations in England to sign up to a local Compact and use this to guide local arrangements for partnership working
  • Through the Senior Responsible Officer for the Compact and Civil Society Liaison Officer promote and champion the Compact both internally and externally
  • Develop robust mechanisms for monitoring compliance in funding and consultation processes across DH
  • Include the Compact principles in staff training and induction processes

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs

We are committed to active and positive engagement with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector through a number of consultative forums and one to one meetings with senior business stakeholders. These have led to the establishment of a strong relationship with key sector organisations.
Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • Through the provision of an annual £2m grant funding programme we will fund the sector to provide advice to HMRC customers who need enhanced support. We will ensure that we work with these funded VCSE organisations throughout the life of the projects to the end of the current SR period, reporting results annually  
  • We will actively engage with the sector in the design and delivery of services to those HMRC customers who need enhanced support. This includes a defined role for the sector in our delivery partnership supporting customers who need enhanced support from an intermediary. We are consulting on the new service between 14 March and 24 May. A pilot to test the new service will run in the North East of England between 3 June 2013 and 31 October 2013, to help us gather more information and  to optimise the service. A decision on whether or not to roll-out the service nationwide will be made in January 2014

Her Majesty’s Treasury

Ensure compliance with the Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Including through: 
  • Ensuring good engagement with the sector on consultations with 3 month window for responses where possible; for example:
  1. Our current joint consultation on Payroll Giving
  2. A consultation by summer 2013 on the introduction of a new tax relief to encourage investment into social enterprises
  • Regular attendance at the Charity Tax forum, an HMRC led group of third sector stakeholders, to discuss matters of mutual interest.
  • Reinforce awareness of the Compact within HMT including through greater internal sharing of examples of best practice of using compact principles from across Government
  • Conduct a follow-up review to an earlier check of HMT's complaint handling procedures for dealing with compact related concerns from civil society, and implement any findings

Home Office

  • Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector.
  • Ensure more visible leadership across all Home Office business areas:
  1. Senior Responsible Officer overseeing departmental Compact compliance by contributing to NAO review of recommendations and leading on taking forward any resulting actions
  2. Improve Home Office strategic engagement with the VCS. Appointed senior champion to engage with Executive Management Board on how there can be a more consistent approach to a strategic relationship with the VCS (including better reporting mechanisms) and more routine involvement in initial policy development
  • Improve Compact compliance by raising awareness and sharing good practice
  • Introduce Compact training sessions for key policy officials including:
  1. Working jointly with Ministry of Justice to run sessions to raise awareness of the Compact principles targeting staff initially with regular contact with the Voluntary and Community Sector. This can also be used as a mechanism for sharing examples of good practice on working to Compact principles and to consider areas where improvements could be made
  2. Explore feasibility of introducing tailored training sessions for fast-streamers and Home Office board members
  • Seek to introduce a Compact compliance mark for all formal Home Office consultations
  • Increase staff volunteering
  • Continue to provide assistance through Westminster Time and Talents to increase the number of staff volunteering
  • Continue to participate in the National Council of Voluntary Organisations Job Shadowing scheme
  • Following successful trustee training sessions last business year look to facilitate matching process for trained staff

Ministry of Justice

Ensure compliance with the Civil Society Compact, including collaborative working with the civil society sector. Specific actions include:
  • Ensure ongoing compliance to Compact principles within targeted priority areas of work, such as issuance of consultations, procurement practices and grant issuing framework
  • Develop clear arrangements for monitoring and reporting Compact implementation to identify areas of good practice and areas for improvement
  • Strengthen MoJ's engagement with VCSE organisations by increasing the staff volunteering footprint  through promotional activity during National  Volunteer Week and participation in the NCVO Work Shadow scheme
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