Short History of the Compact

  • 1998: Establishment of a national Compact
  • 1999: Compact Codes
  • 2000: Development of local Compacts
  • 2007: Commission for the Compact established
  • 2009: Compact refresh
  • 2010: Compact renewal
  • 2011: Closure of the Commission for the Compact
  • The Compact at present

1998: Establishment of a national Compact

The first national Compact was established in 1998.

It was developed following recommendations by an independent commission into the future of the voluntary sector, which was chaired by Nicholas Deakin and is often referred to as the Deakin Commission.

The commission's report contained a key recommendation that:

"A concordat between central government and representatives of the sector should be drawn up, as a code of good practice, for future relations".
The first national Compact was produced by the Home Office and a steering group, following a postal consultation with 20,000 community groups.

Download the 1998 version of the Compact

1999: Compact codes

Following the publication of the original national Compact in 1998, a set of accompanying codes of good practice were published, which aimed to clarify how the Compact could be applied.

The codes are no longer up-to-date, but should you wish to download them, you can do so below.

The codes of good practice covered:

2000: Development of local Compacts

Shortly after the introduction of the national Compact, local areas were encouraged to develop their own local Compacts using the national version as a guide. Many local partnerships also developed their own codes.

Today, there are local Compacts in nearly every local authority area.

2007: Commission for the Compact established

Established in April 2007, the Commission for the Compact was an
independent public body responsible for overseeing and promoting use of the Compact. 

Information about their work, along with annual reports, can be found on the GOV.UK website.

2009: Compact refresh

The national Compact was refreshed in 2009. The content was updated and the set of codes was adapted to a list of principles, which covered three areas of commitment:
  • Involvement in policy development
  • Allocating resources
  • Advancing equality
The 2009 version of the Compact can be downloaded here (PDF).

2010: Compact renewal

The national Compact was renewed following the establishment of the coalition government.

The key motivations for the renewal were the changed priorities of the new coalition government and the need to strengthen the Compact.
From 20 September to 29 October 2010, Compact Voice gathered views from across the voluntary sector on draft text for a renewed Compact.
The renewed Compact was led by the Cabinet Office for the government, and by Compact Voice for the voluntary and community sector.
Compact Voice published a summary of the submissions received in response to the consultation on the renewed Compact, highlighting where the final document was changed based on the views of the voluntary and community sector.

The latest version of the Compact was published in December 2010.

2011: Closure of the Commission for the Compact

The Commission for the Compact closed in March 2011, and responsibility for oversight of the Compact is now shared between the Office for Civil Society (based at the Cabinet Office) and Compact Voice. 

Compact at present

Compact Voice supports government departments and local areas to use the Compact and to build strong, lasting partnerships across sectors.

The Office for Civil Society, based at the Cabinet Office, oversees the implementation of the Compact across government departments.
The Compact is supported by all main political parties, and is one of 7 cross departmental priorities.

Nearly every local area in England is covered by a local Compact. Visit our map of Local Compacts to search for your local Compact by region.
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