Guidelines for the Preparation of Compacts

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Document Information:

Symposium on NGO/Government Partnerships

Guidelines for the Preparation of Compacts
By Daimar Liiv

Table of Contents:
Chapter One: Preparation of the Agreement – Organizational A spects
Section 1.1: Initiation
Section 1.2: Participants
Section 1.3: The Process and Timetable
Chapter Two: Content of the Agreement
Section 2.1: Recognition
Section 2.2: Representation
Section 2.3: Partnership
Section 2.4: Resources
Section 2.5: Implementation

The last decade of the twentieth century was the decade of the beginning of new developments in
the history of humankind. Let us just remember the info -technological revolution, the Internet, and
the mapping of the human genom e. In the field of political developments we were lucky observers
(some of us even active participants), in the crash of the “empire of evil” – Soviet Union and the
bi-polar build -up of the worlds political system.
For the not -for -profit world the very en d of the century also opened new perspectives. In four
parts of Great Britain general agreements on cooperation between not -for -profit sector and
government – compacts – were signed. These events marked a new stage in the development of
the democratic soci ety and summarized work done by many activists of voluntary organizations,
politicians, and researchers of the third sector. In these compacts the basic understanding about
the role and importance of the third sector for contemporary democratic society was outlined and
partnership networks were established.
The British developments are not the only ones. Similar needs for systematic interpretation and
establishment of relations between governmental and third sector organizations were recognized
in many cou ntries around the world –for example, Canada, Estonia, Ghana and Croatia – and in
large international organizations like UN and EU. In many countries the cooperation between the
state and third sector is developing rapidly and reaching new dimensions right now. To support
this development it is necessary to create a systematic basis for this new cooperation. Usually the

best way to express these developments is to prepare and pass a compact – a national
document establishing, the basis for proper relationsh ip between two sectors.
The term “ compact” as used here has a very broad meaning. The reason for this is that in
different countries the formal shape of the general agreement on the principles and general
mechanisms for cooperation between state structures and the NGO community are different.
Even in case of United Kingdom, where all the compacts are between the Government
(Executive) and the third sector, the actual terms used to explain the nature of compact, are
different. In case of the England, the com pact is called “…a memorandum concerning relations
between the government and voluntary and community sector.” In W ales the compact is “…an
agreement between the Government and the voluntary sector…” In Northern Ireland the compact
is “… jointly prepared , agreed statement of the general principles and the shared values which will
govern the further development of the relationship between Government and the voluntary and
community sector…” And in Scotland it is “ an agreement between the Government and the
Voluntary sector on the principles of working in partnership.” It is also interesting to mention that
the Northern Ireland compact substituted or developed further the “Strategy for the Support of the
Voluntary Sector and for Community Development in Nort hern Ireland” published in 1993.
Another strategy for passing compact is chosen in Estonia. Estonian “compact” will be passed by
the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) as a “Concept of the development of Civil Society”(further
Concept). It is also important to mention here that in the case of Estonia, the first step toward the
Concept was “Memorandum of cooperation between third sector and political parties” which was
signed by the all parties represented in the Riigikogu and main third sector umbrella
organi sations. In case of Croatia compact is in the form of the “Program of Cooperation between
the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Non -Government -Non -for -Profit Sector in the
Republic of Croatia” (further referred as Program). In Canada the reorde ring of relations of two
sectors was first expressed in the form of “a Joint Tables” document. 1[1]

1[1] See for the documents: Compact between the government and the voluntary sector in
Wales: www.official
The Scottish Compact: -w3/comp -00.htm
Compact between government and the voluntary and community sector in Northern
Compact on relations between government and the voluntary and community sector in
Working together: a government of C anada/voluntary sector joint initiative. Report of Joint
Tables: -trsb/publications/pco -e.pdf
Ghana: Comprehensive Policy Framework for the Not -for -profit Sector in Ghana Dr aft
Discussion Document:
Draft of the Estonian Civil Society Development:
National Program for the Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and
Croatian Civil Sector “Together for Better”:

Why have a compact?
One of the principal reasons for the desirability of systematic cooperation between the public and
the not -for -profit sectors is the in stitutionalisation of the society and the growing understanding of
the people about it. People want to participate actively in this process and to use the not -for -profit
sector organisations as tools to express their views and to protect their interests. This provides an
opportunity to concentrate resources and knowledge for reaching social and economic
development goals. Participation in the third sector activities has also become more and more
important for preserving democracy, especially if we consider almost the universally decreasing
rates of the participation of people in political voting.
Despite the fact that the not -for -profit sector has been until now the main initiator of the compact
process, the reasons for having them are not limited to the i nterest of the third sector. The
government has at least as strong an interest in compacts. For example, one of the main reasons
for preparing the compact in England was the inability of the government to fulfil the rapidly
increasing number of tasks and t o provide necessary services to the population in a cost -effective
manner. There are other reasons in various countries why cooperation between two sectors is
important. In the US, where the people don’t like bureaucracy and are basically against state
intervention into their private life, NGOs are able to propose a wide variety of services with
considerable flexibility and without public sector bureaucracy and restrictions. In Netherlands
(with its extremely large third sector) the principle of subsidiar ity is the cornerstone for the large
not -for -profit sector, which can propose necessary services directly to the consumer. In Austria
voluntary organizations are regarded as one of the means to decentralize power.
In addition, the third sector often is act ive in fields, in which the state doesn’t participate but the
activities and services are nevertheless necessary. The role of the not -for -profit sector as a
pioneer and experimenter in many fields of societal life is also very important, especially when th e
importance of the field is not yet clear to the state and the need for providing services to the
public must be proved.
Thus the British compacts as well as other similar processes and documents developed in
Canada, Croatia, Estonia, and Ghana deserve a ttention and provide a good basis for reshaping
the relationship between government and the third sector in democratic countries.
In the following chapters of this paper experience gained during the preparation and
implementation of partnership agreements as proposed agreements between the third sector and
government in Great Britain, Canada, Estonia, Croatia, and Ghana are summarized Possible
ways to create such documents are also proposed. One caveat of course applies, every country
as well as its third s ector has its own path of development. Thus, the specific situation needs to
be taken into account and the partnerships designed according to the real situation in the
particular country.
2[2] The first draft of this paper was prepared during the summer 200 0 in W ashington D.C thanks
to a fellowship from ICNL. ICNL, after being established in 1992, has contributed enormously to
the creation of the proper legal environment for non -governmental organizations in many
countries all over the world. Even if the gui delines are a small step away from entirely legal
approach to third sector questions, they are nonetheless driven by the idea that the environment
for the activities of not -for -profit organizations should be ordered in a most favorable way to them
and soci ety.

2[2] Insert footnote on Ghana and Tanzania.

Chapter One: Preparation of the Agreement – Organizational Aspects
Section 1.1: Initiation
A. The third sector is the best initiator

NGOs are the best initiators . In most cases, governments do not want to take on additional work,
and therefore, NGOs may need to take the initiative and exert gentle pressure on the government
to work with them on a compact or similar agreement. Notably, in the case of the United
Kingdom, as well as in the case of Estonia, the participation in the pre -initiation phase of political
parties and NGOs was crucial to beginning the negotiation process.
In United Kingdom during the opposition years, the Labour Party prepared a document called
“Building the Future Together – Labour’s Policies for Partnership b etween the Government and
the Voluntary Sector” which laid down the main principles of cooperation between the
government and NGOs as the Labour politicians saw them. Using this document as a foundation,
it was easy to initiate the preparation process in a ll parts of the United Kingdom.
In Estonia, the Estonian Center for Not -for -profit Associations and Foundations began the
preparation process through a project financed by UNDP. As a first step, a meeting of leaders of
several umbrella organizations, scien tists and politicians (leading MPs in the fields of social,
educational and cultural affairs both from the governmental coalition and its opposition) was
organized to discuss the project and brainstorm possible goals and strategies. As all sides
expressed genuine interest in the project (politicians were particularly interested in the ongoing
discussion over the public administration reform), a cooperative link was easily created. Only
three months after the first meetings, in December 1999, “The Memorandu m of Cooperation
Between Estonian Political Parties and Third Sector Umbrella Organizations” was signed. The
Memorandum set out, among other things the drafting of the Strategy for the Development of the
Civic Society.
From the other side the Croatian Gove rnment Office for Cooperation with NGOs initiated the
preparation of the program of cooperation between the government and the not -for -profit sector
and invited more than 16000 NGOs to participate in the preparation process.

B. Initiators of the proc ess should have a general agreement on what they want to do and
how they want to do it.

It is crucial for the process that initiators, whether from the not -for -profit or the governmental
sector, have a clear understanding what they want to do a nd how they want to do it. As the topic
is quite new, there are not many materials on establishing compacts. Nonetheless, current

guidelines and materials mentioned here, as well as materials available via the Internet, offer
enough resources to gain at l east a cursory understanding of key points and learn how existing
compacts have been prepared.
In the case of England, for example, the NGOs revised the first draft of the Compact before even
starting the negotiation process with government, but in five ot her cases the first draft was
prepared by joint government -third sector working groups after the initiation of the negotiation

C. Initiators should have a clear understanding of probable partners and should work at
engaging those partners in the process.

Usually initiators of these kinds of agreements have knowledge of probable “supporters”
(partners) and “opponents” of the proposed cooperation. The supporters of the process may not
only be members of the government, politicians or public servants but also representatives of the
business sector and very often people from academia.
The whole process of preparing the agreement is largely a coalition -building effort , and
therefore, all supporters should be asked and encouraged to shar e their views and opinions.
Generally, coalition -building should begin with the supporters of the process. Initiators must work
at creating a positive image for the process. For instance, the public support of well -respected
persons can be crucial to cr eating a positive image in the initial negotiation phase. Creating a
positive attitude for the public toward the process is important because opponents of the process
will become wary of speaking out against it, as doing so could damage their reputation.

D. Specific resources should be allocated for the process.

The whole process of the preparation of the compact demands certain resources. For example,
the core group’s work should be paid (there are no free lunches!). There are communicatio n
expenses during the consultation period which are relatively high, the cost of seminars and other
meetings, TV and radio advertisements, and finally, the costs of the signing ceremony, printed
materials and follow -up should be calculated in advance in a comprehensive budget. Initiators
must ensure that minimum necessary financing is available.
Many methods of reducing the cost of the process to the NGO sector also exist. Strategically, the
most important of these is to share the costs of preparation with the government. Usually, the
basic cost of the preparation is not very great and does not put a large burden on the
government. The best way to share costs is to include the necessary costs of the preparation in
a separate article of the state budget.

Ne vertheless, the problems of the budgetary process may influence governments’ willingness to
finance the process, especially if a budget deficit exists. Therefore, every rational and available
means of reducing the cost of the preparation should be calculat ed and, if appropriate, used.
The cost of communication can be largely reduced by using e -mail, but in many cases smaller
NGOs and community groups don’t have their own e -mail accounts and, in many Eastern
European countries, lack inexpensive Internet ac cess. The cost of TV and radio broadcasts can
be reduced if public stations and the government can agree to produce these broadcasts in the
framework of publicly financed programs.
Finally, many international organizations are able and willing at least par tially to finance the
preparation of compacts in the framework of advancing democracy. The help of these
organizations should be utilized. For example, in Estonia a special cooperative agreement with
the UNDP local office was developed for supporting and financing the preparation of the compact.

E. The public initiation of the process should be organized as a media event and media
should be used as widely as possible during the process.

The compact is not just an agreement between one small NGO and governmental offices with
minor importance to the public. The impact of a well -prepared and implemented compact can be
enormous for strengthening democracy and developing co -operation between government and
Therefore, the PR campaign sh ould be well organized and emphasize the importance of the work
from the outset. Organizers should use the carefully targeted media campaign at the initiation of
the process to invite people and NGOs to actively participate in the process and to provide t hem
with the necessary contact information to do so. The public initiation of the process should be
organized as a media event during which the preliminary timetable and plan of action should be
advertised as well as the names of responsible governmental (officers in order to exert some
pressure on the government to take action).

Section 1.2: Participants
A. The circle of participants of the preparation of the compact should be as wide as
possible and open to change throughout the process.

In all cases, the discussion of the compact served as a catalyst for establishing or developing
cooperative relationships within the NGO sector. The process quickly created networks between
the leaders of similarly -oriented NGOs and facilitated the exch ange of information and
professional experience. Thus, umbrella organizations should not monopolize the discussion but
instead encourage the grass -roots NGOs to join in and share their experiences and opinions.

There is also a need to remember the large n umber of informal groups who should also
encouraged to participate in formulation of the text of the compact. England’s compact put
special emphasis on the role of these community groups (“…associations of people who come
together to pursue a common cause or interest, often on mutual basis…” – Article 12 of the
England Compact).
Additionally, it is worthwhile to mention that in case of England separate attention was given to
the minority, ethnic, voluntary and community organizations. After the passage o f the compact,
special working groups were formed to deal with the special problems of NGOs representing
minority groups in greater detail.
In addition to the NGO community, people from academia can and should be asked to participate
in the process. As the experiences of the preparation of existing compacts show, representatives
of academia have a good deal to contribute through their participation. In the case of Canada, the
individuals in the drafting groups were chosen not on the basis of the organizatio n to which they
belonged but on their personal and expert knowledge of the field. W ith the assistance of
members of academia, a relatively neutral first draft can be prepared quickly with a certain level
of comprehensiveness, creating a good basis for fur ther discussion. Likewise, the academic
background of the members of the core team helps to better differentiate between general and
particular subject matter and to undertake and conduct research when necessary. In Estonia a
special research project on t he questions of cooperation between state and NGOs was prepared
by the academicians participating in the drafting of the Concept.
The third main group on whom organizers should focus during the process is state and local
governments officials . Without thei r commitment to implementation of the ideas and values
expressed in the compact, the work will be largely unsuccessful. In the case of the United
Kingdom many government officials were working in cooperation with NGOs in the central and
local administrati on. However, links between them were weak and the work of the parties
involved lack uniformity. Only the process of the preparation of compacts brought them together
through the creation of a single forum for discussion and sharing experience.
Existence of special officials dealing in the central government or even at the Prime Minister’s
office helps a lot to organize the work as show by the Croatian experience. In several Eastern
European countries such officials exist and can be used to coordinate gove rnmental efforts.
Despite the number of separate bodies involved, the NGOs should make a special effort to
persuade the government to nominate officials who have demonstrated their commitment to
cooperating with NGOs for inclusion in the working groups. The methods and results of the
working group will be more efficient and effective if the government officials involved are
supportive of the process.
Although the compact will mainly regulate the general principles of cooperation between the
government an d third sector, most of its implementation will be the responsibility of local
governments. Thus, in England, for example, after the preparation of the national compact,
compacts between local governments and local NGOs were established. It is therefore i mportant
that the officials of the central government are not the only representatives of government who
participate in the preparation process. Participation of representatives of the local governments ,
especially of those governments with the greatest in fluence, has an important role in
implementing the compact in local governments.
In many countries, local governments have joined into unions or other influential representative
bodies. It is important that the representatives of such bodies be invited to take part in the
process. Once again, NGO representatives usually know well which local governments have
been friendly and have already created working and mutually beneficial relations.

Representatives from such local governments should be specially inv ited to participate in the
Politicians in many countries are just discovering the importance of NGOs to their country’s
development. Close cooperation with the third sector has a place not only in the programs of left –
wing parties (such as soc ietal cooperation organizations) but also in the programs of right -wing
parties (such as organizations involved with the expression of free initiative and self -organization
of citizens). Therefore, all political parties should theoretically be interested in cooperation with
the NGO sector. Political importance and usefulness of such cooperation is clearly recognized in
the UK by the Labour party and the US by both Republican and Democratic parties. These
political parties seek support of third sector org anizations. Political parties can also be enticed by
the prospect of establishing additional support mechanisms for the implementation of their plans
and promises.
Inviting representatives of the business sector to participate in the preparation of the compact
may give substantial additional input to the work. First, business people represent one of the main
groups of donors and donors’ problems can and should be included in the text of compact 3[3] .
Secondly, business people experience and support for th e market economy can provide a
balance for a predominant public -sector oriented approach of governmental officials. Third,
business people often have their own representative bodies in the form of not -for -profit
associations and therefore they may have qui te a good understanding and knowledge of the
specificity of the third sector’s work. In addition they can propose innovative approaches that are
used in the business sector for solving problems. In addition, if the donors are invited from the
very beginni ng to the process, networks between donors and recipients can be developed. The
trust of the business sector toward the third sector can also be enhanced through showing that
the third sector is really concerned about internal rules and self -regulation. I f the business sector
recognizes that the money donated is used in the proper way, it may enlarge the donations.

B. Participation should be encouraged.

Participation can and should be encouraged by delivering the draft of the compact u sing mass
media, the Internet, and the facilities of umbrella organizations and asking for comments and
amendments to it. The organization of roundtables, seminars and other similar events to discuss
the compact are very useful tools to advance participati on and further implementation of it. It must
be remembered also that broad participation in the process of the state and local government
officials is crucial for the implementation of the compact.

C. The participants in the process have different ta sks, interests, and background, and
that should not be forgotten.

3[3] See Ghanaian draft compact, which has special part devoted to the donors.

There should be a clear understanding, that in the preparation process there exists a need to
differentiate between general participants and the core team of experts for drafting the compact,
summarizing and evaluating the amendments and, finally, preparing the draft for passing. The
core team must be able to “translate” different messages from different actors into a commonly
understandable language.

Section 1.3: The process an d the timetable

A. The process should be recognized as being as important as the content.

For the success of the compact, the process of preparation is crucial. If the process is badly
planned and poorly implemented, neither the NGOs and c ommunity groups nor the governmental
officials will feel they are committed to the principles of compact, and it will be regarded as just
one paper among others. Therefore, the process should not be concentrated only on the
preparation of the text of the c ompact but also on creating a common understanding that the text
is only the first step. Commitment to future development of the principles and real
implementation of the compact must be stressed from the outset.

B. The process should be planned fr om the beginning to the end including agreement
on final dates for different phases.

The experience preparing the existing compacts shows that it will take approximately one year
from the starting point to the time when the compact is finalized . In many cases, during this
period the first draft was prepared, publicly discussed, amendments were collected and analyzed,
and the compact finalized and, signed.
The experiences of other countries give valuable hints to the initiators of the compact writing
process. Using these experiences as a model, the different phases of preparation can effectively
be planned and an appropriate schedule worked out. As was mentioned above, the work on the
compact can generally be divided into three main stages: pr eparation of the first draft, wide
discussion, and finalization of the text and acceptance.

C. The first stage, preparation of the first draft of the compact, should be done by persons
with experience in or knowledge of the NGO sector.

The existing compacts provide quite good, systematized basic material for new country -specific
compacts. Nevertheless, the actual writing can take a lot of time if the writers are inexperienced in
formulating such general texts and the resulting text may be of poor quality. 4[4] Therefore, it is
necessary that the initial core drafting group consist of people with relevant knowledge and
expertise. In all cases except England, the initial drafting groups were formed from
representatives of the NGO umbrella organ izations and the government. In the case of Canada,
the members of the Joint Tables were chosen on the basis of expertise, experience and
willingness to pull together as members of a team rather than as representatives of particular
organizations or depart ments. In the case of England, the initial draft was prepared by
representatives of the NGO sector umbrella organizations and then proposed for wider discussion
among the NGOs and government officials.
In the case of the Eastern European countries, the ini tial drafting is a little more complicated than
in the countries with a more developed third sector. In most cases, the experience of the NGO
sector in preparing real policy documents is limited or lacking entirely. Therefore, it will be
necessary to form the first group of drafters especially carefully. Inviting scientists working in the
field, experienced governmental officials and third -sector friendly orientated politicians will assist
in speeding up the preparation and raise the quality of the first dr aft. In some cases it may even
make sense to contract with an experienced group of interested persons who will write the first

D. The second phase, discussion and consolidation, should be as inclusive as possible.

It is possible to r educe the time spent for the first part of the preparation of draft because some
basic examples exist and can be used as a model by drafters. The most important phase in
preparation of compacts is the second phase, public discussion. During this phase, the public and
the wider NGO sector will be informed about the idea of the draft, and they can make their
amendments and other proposals concerning the compact. As experience demonstrates, this
phase is really vital to gain the effects desired by the formulat ion of the compact. This phase is
especially important because during it not only will the main ideas of the compact be introduced
and discussed, but also the relationships between NGOs, governmental officials and politicians
will be created or developed o n a new level.
In all of the cases so far, establishing wide participation in the process was one of the main aims
of the discussion phase. So, for example, in England thousands of organizations and community
groups participated in the process. In Norther n Ireland, the Voluntary Activity Unit from the side of
the public sector and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action tried to engage all parties
who had possible interest in the Compact and, as a result, cooperated with more than 5000

4[4] It happened in Estonia with the first draft of the Estonian Concept of Development of Civil
Society. It was declared “unsatisfactory” by the political parties and even by some NGOs, who
participated in preparation of it. Lots of time and resources we re spent and the result was poor.

organizati ons. In Croatia 16000 and in Estonia more than 3000 organizations were invited to
participate in the process.
At the same time, the establishment of wide participation, quality work and the consideration of
proposals from individual organizations will link those organizations to the process. In Estonia,
after some messy consultation rounds, the core drafting group started to use an amendment
procedure similar to that used by Parliament in drafting laws. Every amendment was taken in a
written form; the deci sion on whether to include it was formulated in writing and made public.
In the case of Eastern European countries participation in the process should be heavily
encouraged and well organized. Therefore, the initiators of the draft should be especially careful
to plan their activities during this period and to estimate the resources needed to ensure proper
participation. The meetings with drafters of the first draft and public officials should be planned, as
well as the regional and sectoral (professiona l) activities and seminars held during the process. In
Estonia for example, the big “NGO fair” was used to inform the NGO sector and the public about
the idea of the compact, which created lot of positive reaction.

Chapter Tw o: Content of the Compact
Section 2.1: General approach
A. The content of the compact as well as the strategies for writing it and developing
its form can from country to country.

Depending on the situation in a particular country, not only the content but also the format of the
compact itself can take different forms. For example, in the UK the compacts were concluded in
the form of agreements between the government and the third sector, while in Estonia and in
Ghana compacts will probably t ake the form of the national strategy of the development of the
civic society or the third sector. In Croatia the compact took the form of national program of
cooperation between the government and not -for -profit sector. It is probable that there can be
so me other forms for the implementation of the idea, but these three forms should be regarded as
the principal suggested forms to deal with the topic.
Despite the differences in format, the main idea of the compact is to fix the general
framework for cooper ation between the third sector and national government (state organs)
in a broad sense. It will be easier after fixing these general rules to elaborate more concrete
solutions in specific fields on the basis of the general principles. This approach was use d in the
case of all compacts concluded thus far, but it must be remembered that in all cases the third
sector was relatively developed and was able to initiate and participate in negotiations with
government. The main requirement for this approach is that these general agreements should
have enough flexibility and should be reviewed periodically because of the rapidly developing
nature of both sectors and of society as a whole.
At the same time, it is probably possible to form a first compact between one or several ministries
or local governments and the third sector and after successful implementation of such a compact

move on to the general level. Such a strategy can be very useful in a situation when the
government is mostly unfriendly toward or ignoran t of the third sector or when the third sector is
extremely underdeveloped or in an embryonic stage of development. Through implementation of
such sub -sectoral compacts it is probably possible to prove the usefulness of such cooperation in
some sectors (us ually in the solving of social problems) and, most importantly – to c hange the
unfriendly attitude of the government toward the NGOs.
On the other hand, such sub -sectoral compacts contribute only to the development of a certain
part sector of the NGO sect or and makes that part of the sector very dependent on the national
level decisions. It also contributes to the underdevelopment of other parts of the NGO sector.
And finally, as the British, Canadian, Croatian and Estonian experiences show, during the
preparation stage of the compact, the most intensive exchange of opinion, experience and
information takes place among different NGOs. In the case of a sub -sectional compact, the
cooperation essentially develops only between a limited numbers of NGOs and wi ll usually not
reach a level of generalization necessary for supporting the entire sector.
Therefore, in case of certain levels of the development of the third sector and political structures,
it is better to fix first the general framework for cooperation between the third sector and national
government (strategy of cooperation). It will be easier after fixing these general rules to elaborate
more concrete solutions in specific fields on the basis of these agreed general principles and to
initiate official negotiation with separate parts of the government.

B. The main topics of the compact should include questions related to recognition,
representation, partnership, resources, and implementation of the compact.

The content of the existing compa cts is very similar as is the general approach toward them. The
main topics touched on are recognition, representation, partnership, resources, and
implementation (development) of the compact. In all compacts the basic duties and rights of all
parties of c ompact are described and several principles of good practice emphasized. In all
compacts, especially in the case of the UK, the compacts are mainly directed toward the
government and, in most cases, list governmental duties to improve, enhance, and encoura ge
cooperation. This is understandable because the government has the ability and the resources
available to influence the third sector’s position in society.
Although there are many similarities, there are also topics that are different in these documents
and are connected with specific local situations. In the Estonian draft, the topic of civic education
and the creation of the possibility of direct participation in legislation drafting are included. In the
Ghanaian draft a separate part exists that deals with donors. The Northern Ireland compact
foresees preparation of a supporting document replacing the 1993 Strategy for the Support of the
Voluntary Sector and Community Development and also invites the new Northern Ireland
Assembly to endorse the compact or develop their own partnership agreements. England’s
compact specifically refers to black voluntary and community organizations.
The final content and form of the compact will remain in the hands of those who are party to it.
Nevertheless, the compact should primarily focus on the general principles of cooperation.

Section 2.2: Recognition

A. Recognition of the specific interests and roles of parties in society is a natural part of
every compact.

Different parties have different needs for recognition of their specific roles. During the negotiation
over the compact, the NGOs should not forget the third sector’s specific features and ensure that
these features are inserted into every part of the compact. In connection with the recognition of
the third sector, the state (or other party) should first of all recognize the important and
fundamental role of third the sector to the development of a democratic, socially inclusive society
and also recognize its distinction from the business sector and the state. Government should also
directly recognize the independence and diversity of the third sector, the right for advocacy and
criticism toward the government, and the right to refuse to cooperate with government.
The basic topics of recognition of the NGO sector are its independence from the governmental
policy decisions and the recognition that not all NGOs are interested in cooperation with
government. Some NGOs, such as advocacy groups and independent monitoring groups, are
specially establish ed to comment on and to challenge governmental policy. The special
circumstances of these NGOs should be recognized in the compact to avoid future
On the other hand, it is quite clear that several aspects of public sector actors should also be
recognized by the third sector. These include: recognition of the specific role of the government in
arranging the country’s social, economical and cultural life, the statutory (legal) framework within
which the government works and public accounta bility of its spending, and especially the
constraints limiting governmental actions toward the NGOs.
The government is sometimes restricted not only because of legal constraints but also because of
the logic of governance. For example, government cannot always provide the information on
planned actions and necessary legislation in advance. Nevertheless, these constraints are
usually well known (public safety, emergency situations, state secrets and public security etc.)
and do not infringe on the democra tic rights of citizens and citizen organizations. Therefore, even
recognizing these exceptions, the recognition should be limited to the above -described
circumstances. One of the most important recognitions in the field is the recognition that the
governme nt has the right to define its own priorities and to further them using democratically
acceptable means.

Section 2.3: Representation

A. Representation provisions should include basic norms about the nomination of
representatives, their mandate an d duties.
Representation question is one of the features, which usually is a very difficult problem for the
third sector because of its diverse, dynamic nature and relatively weak institutionalisation. At the
same time, the government needs clarity on the question of who is represented by whom and
how and what sort of mandate the counterpart has. The text of the compact should clarify that no
single body or group of bodies could represent the complete range of interests that the voluntary
sector pursues wi th government.
However, if there are recognised representative bodies the third sector these bodies acting in
their representative capacity should follow certain rules. They should deliver their requested
opinions to the government at the time agreed upon . They should also demonstrate how they
consult their members, that they are accountable to them, and that they accurately represent the
views of their stakeholders. Sometimes the government is interested not only in an opinion of the
representative body that discloses its own members’ preferences but also one that discloses the
particular interests of its non -members. In these cases, the neutrality and objectivity of the opinion
should be the minimum required standard.
Often the grass -roots organizations and informal community groups are forgotten when the
articles of representation are formulated. It is essential that their part in the consultative process
is particularly emphasized and that umbrella organisations have the duty to consult with them
befor e forming their opinions.
From the side of the government, the representation questions can be more easily solved.
Nevertheless, as it often happens in countries with weak and only developing institutions and
administrative culture, the solution of the rep resentation question that is provided is not optional
even though these questions are vitally important to the partners and answers must be provided if
good results are to be achieved.
Basically there are two main problems here. First, there are no clear, accessible and elaborated
channels for NGOs to communicate with government. Therefore, the government should be
obliged by the compact to identify clearly accessible channels of communication as well as the
government’s priorities and objectives for coop eration. Second, the methods used for
communication may be poorly developed thus making real representation of the community
interests impossible. Therefore, the W elsh compact put particular emphasis on the procedures
that the government should introduce to make possible the democratic representation of the
interests of stakeholders for NGOs possible. These arrangements include, for example,
compulsory consultation with the sector on issues that are likely to affect it. They also include:
early informatio n about possible policy changes and developments, introducing the NGOs to
potential problems from the outset, allowing adequate time for consultation 5[5] , giving feedback
on outcomes of the consultation and ensuring the ability to be involved at the implem entation and
evaluation stages of policy. All of these questions should be introduced to the compact to make
the representation effective.
Additionally, in the Scottish compact, there is a special provision requiring that the government
must seek nominat ions from the voluntary sector to appropriate public boards, agencies, working
groups and service users’ groups.

5[5] The special article (Article 11.1) in Consultation and Policy Appraisal: A Code of Good
Practice (England) sets 12 weeks as the recommended time for regular written consultations and
8 weeks for more urgent replies.

Section 2.4: Partnership

A. The parties to the partnership (especially government) should be encouraged to
promote cooperation, good -pract ices, and collaborative decision -making.
The interest of NGOs is that the government will take the responsibility of establishing
arrangements that enable effective and mutually useful cooperation . Government should promote
cooperation through its polici es and funding strategies, promoting co -operation throughout the
public sector, including local governments.
Working within the context of partnership means that both sides (especially government) will
actively seek the other’s advice and experience and re spect the particular interests of other party,
as for example, the need for maintaining the confidentiality of information received, if requested.

B. Information provided should be in understandable format.
Information provided to the other party should be in understandable form and not incomplete.
Especially important is that it be in easily understandable form for the third sector, because their
representatives often have only limited experience in working with governmental and policy
documents. If they are unable to understand the exact meaning of the documents, their advice
will not be so valuable as it could be, and both parties will lose some of the value of the
relationship, as will society at large.

C. Knowledge about the partner’s working method s should be encouraged .
Partnership also means that partners are well aware of each other’s working methods and can
understand their respective decision -making processes. One of the easiest and most innovative
ways to enhance mutual knowledge of internal w orking arrangement is “secondment.” The
authors of the Canadian Report of the Joint Tables proposed to establish special internships
and fellowships between the sector and government . They proposed that sector personnel
would be seconded to work in departm ental policy branches, and government personnel would
be seconded to intern in voluntary sector organisations, thereby sharing experience. 6[6] The
usefulness of secondments was especially emphasised also in the first English Annual Meeting
between Governme nt and Representatives of the Voluntary and Community Sector to Review the
Operation and Development of the Compact. 7[7] For most Eastern European countries such an

6[6] They also proposed to establish fellowships to academics and graduate students to
encourage studies in aspects of public policy that relate to the sector. (RJT p.41)
7[7] See Annual Meeting Between Government and Representatives of the Voluntary and
Community Sector to Review the Operation and Development of the Compact art.3.5: “… In terms
of staff resources … two -way secondments between Government departments and voluntary and
community organisations helped to share expertise and enhance mutual un derstanding. Paul
Boateng agreed that such secondments were very much in the spirit of the Compact and were to

approach is novel, but the spirit of partnership and its proven utility should encourage
ex periments with it.

D. Success of the and responsibility for the development of the partnership depends also
on the positive attitude of the third sector
Partnership problems are not only connected with the activities of the government. Many
problems in b uilding working partnerships are also related specifically to the third sector and its
diversity. Therefore all the existing compacts deal with these problems also. One of the main
tasks for the third sector in Eastern European countries is to promote the value of the
collaboration with the public sector. It should be remembered that cooperation with the public
sector and especially with one’s country’s government does not compromise independence, but
rather is an honourable exercise of that independence , a nd useful for both parties as well as for
all of society. Taking into account mutual benefits and state recognition of the independence of
the third sector as one of the general principles of compacts, there should be theoretically no
problem with collabor ation as we have described it.
The voluntary sector should recognise also that partnership relationships would require
responsibility on its part. Accordingly, the agreed commitments and the confidentiality of
government information should be honoured, as well as the need to assure high quality and
accountability for services the sector provides using government funding. The Welsh compact
specially refers to the third sector commitment to assisting government to obtain information from
under -represented sec tions of society and developing and sharing innovative approaches to
service delivery. 8[8] As a generalisation it can be said that good partnership is build up on a foundation of mutual
trust, respect, and recognition of the partner’s independence as well as, active co -operation to
use in the most constructive and knowledgeable way each other’s strengths in order to provide
the best possible services to the community.
Partnership and representation are really the subjects at the core of compact relations. Because
the format of compact is specific, it is important to elaborate on these topics in greater detail. In
England therefore the preparation of the special code of good practice on consultation and policy
appraisal was foreseen in the compact, and it wa s elaborated during the first half of 2000. 9[9] Finally, the commitments of the government should be designed so that a change of political
leadership will not cause the danger of reversal of the agreed principles. This was one of the
reasons why in Estoni a parliamentary adoption of the compact was chosen – to prevent easy

be encouraged. It was noted that work was underway between NCVO and the Cabinet Office on
the development of secondments between Government and t he Sector.”
8[8] These commitments are closely related with the third sector specific advantages over the
public sector and should therefore be taken really seriously
9[9] This code is really useful source in preparation of future compacts and can be found at:

Section 2.4: Resources, funding

A. Description of the acceptable methods for delivering of resources and accountability
over their use is extremely important part of the com pacts
Available resources and especially the method of allocating resources are probably the most
important questions for the success of the government and third sector partnerships. In many
countries the share of governmentally provided resources in the t otal resources employed by
NGOs is considerable. Nevertheless, existing compacts fail to approach this topic in any more
detail than other mechanisms. The main reason for this is the complexity of the problem and the
limits of the compacts. One way to over come these problems is to foresee the preparation of the
special funding code. 10 [10] Another reason for this is that the sum of resources provided by the
government depends primarily on the country’s specific economic conditions. In the modern
world the ec onomic situation may change very rapidly, and governments prefer to avoid long -term
and clearly formulated resource allocation commitments. Nonetheless, even following the agreed
principles in existing compacts can radically improve current situation.
Pro visions of current compacts on funding can be divided into two main blocks:
1. articles describing best practices and procedures for allocating resources by
the government,

2. articles describing best practices for using these resources and NGOs’
accountabili ty to the government and to the public.

B. Compacts should include a commitment of the government to clear and consistent
resource allocation policies toward the not -for -profit sector.
All compacts require the commitment of the government to elaborate a nd enforce clear,
consistent, and objective resource allocation criteria and plans with respect to the third sector.
England’s compact goes even further – namely, government recognises in it (at 9.2) the
necessity of working out the concept of strategic funding of third sector organisations to ensure
the continued capacity of voluntary and community organisations to respond to government
Another important problem connected with governmental funding is that in many cases there is
no consisten cy and cooperation between governmental departments . In England the
governmental representatives specifically recognised this problem during the first evaluation
meeting and promised to deal with it seriously.

10 [10] Such a code was prepared for example in England and can serve as an example . Look at :

The main objective of the third sector in this respect in Eastern Europe should be to prescribe a
minimum level of financing of its activities by the government and transparent mechanisms for
allocation of resources. However, the government usually wants to have the flexibility to use
resources accord ing to its priorities, and if the rules of democracy and fair play are followed in
designing such priorities and allocating resources, there should be few objections from the side of
the NGOs.
In designing the scheme of financing, all available sources sh ould be taken into the account. As a
good example, the Ghanaian compact contains special provisions governing donors. This
approach demonstrates that in designing funding principles for the sector the availability of
additional resources from and interests of local and foreign donors should be taken into account.
Finally, in designing strategies for financing, grass -root organisations and community groups
should not to be forgotten. Even if in most cases their source of founding is local government, it
may be important to make available to them special resources from central government funds.
Particularly useful to these organisations is seed money for innovative projects, but it should not
be limited only to such grants.

C. All basic types of funding should be discussed.

In designing articles of the compact, it is useful to remember that there are basically three types
of funding provided by the government to the third sector – strategic (core), project , and
contract funding.
Usually the most diffic ult topic for the NGOs is the long -term strategic funding, which is focused
on the creation of genuine sustainability of third sector organisations. Sometimes governments
simply fail to understand that, by making this kind of financing available, they will ensure that
necessary capacity exists and contribute to longer term planning and stability. The solution to this
problem may be especially important in the countries in which third sector enjoyed substantial
foreign financing during the transition period and such financing has subsequently been reduced
or withdrawn. This situation is quite common in the most advanced Eastern European countries.
Even if foreign donors are now aware of the problem of sustainability and in the best cases will try
to help reso lve it after their own withdrawal, the main actor should be the government of the
respective country. Decisions made by the government about long term financing schemes for
the NGO sector can be effective in preserving existing capacity of the sector or ca n damage it
substantially. 11 [11] In Eastern European countries core funding can probably be provided only to a very limited
number of NGOs. Therefore, it is better to concentrate core activities financing on the active and
widely recognized umbrella organi sations by providing them resources for training, creating
infrastructure for their activities, and providing resources for necessary research in the field. By
targeting these organizations, the benefits of the funding support will be spread throughout the
sector organizations that use the services of the umbrella organizations who have recipients of
government funds. Additionally, core funding or funding for the development of the infrastructure
of the organisation (equipment and facilities) can and should also be provided through project or
contract funding.

11 [11] In Canada, the government basically withdraw itself from providing necessary financing to
the NGOs in the beginning of 1990’s and this hurt many organisations. As a result the level and
quality of services available to the public dropped.

Despite the strategic importance of core funding, in most cases the largest part of the
governmental funding directed to NGOs is provided through the financing of specific projects or
fields of servic es . Therefore it is extremely important for the development of the third sector that
this type of financing is provided in accordance with procedures that are consistent with the
principles of good regulation and with the obligation to provide effective ma nagement of and
accountability for public money. In many cases this type of financing is the most comfortable for
government delivery because of the flexibility in designing the projects (political prioritising) and
choosing among the resources available f or them. As in the case of core financing, the resources
can be used in very different fields, but immediately after the signing of the first compact it would
be useful to agree that some of these resources will be used for research about the sector and it s
activities. These resources should be also allocated for supporting innovative projects and
experimental approaches.
The third part of governmental funding available to NGOs is the governmental contracting for
public services that it historically has pro vided. In many cases NGOs are competing with business
enterprises for these resources and contracts. It is important that final contract decisions be made
according to objective criteria. Usually business entities are more professional and rational in
orga nizing the implementation of the contracts, but the use of voluntary work can create
circumstances where NGOs can compete with business entities on equal or even favourable
terms. Therefore, it is important that the legislation not foreclose the possibilit y of participation by
NGOs in such procurements.
But also another possibility exists – namely, a situation where certain fields of activities are legally
allowed only for legal entities in the form of NGOs, or where NGOs have actual preferences over
busine ss organisations. Such fields are usually connected with specific social services (such as
healthcare, eldercare, care of handicapped people, etc.) and education. Usually such a
preference requires that the professionalism is expected from the side of cont ractors.
Nevertheless, the professionalism can be best developed only when some certainty on financing
is created. Therefore, the possibility should be considered of creating a system in which financing
is guaranteed and contracts renewed automatically whe n the organisation has properly fulfilled a
previous similar contract. At the same time, quality standards can be used as a control by the

D. In-kind resources should not to be forgotten during the preparation of compacts
Government can provide resources for NGOs in the form not only of monetary contributions but
also in -kind. In Hungary, for example, several local governments provided buildings free of
charge in order to create so -called “not -for -profit centres.” Some municipalities publish fre e
newspapers or newsletters including news and reports of NGO activities in their territory. 12 [12] In
Estonia public TV produced a special TV program on activities of the third sector.

E. Accountability for the use of public money should be recognized by the NGOs and
minimum standards of accountability followed

12 [12] See Istvan Csoka, Relationship Between the Governmental and Civil Sectors in Hungary,
IJNL 2000 v.3 iss .1. See at:

The issue of accountability for using public money is the second main issue governed by the
funding provisions in compacts. Sometimes, as in Ghana, NGOs view accountability
requirements as governme nt intervention into their independence. In addition, there they claimed
that the government did not use the data it collected – a charge that may be true. It is true that
reconciling sector interests in independence with the broader responsibilities of th e government
presents a continuing challenge. Nevertheless, NGOs must accept the demand of the
government for accountability if they want to have access to the governmental resources. A
compromise should and can be achieved on the exact form of accountabil ity. The Canadian Joint
Tables document (p.12), for example, contains a proposal to differentiate versions of the tax
return forms for NGOs depending on their yearly revenues so that smaller NGOs may use a
shorter form and be exposed to less bureaucracy.
Another problem is that transparency should not mean the preparation of senseless reports and
fulfilling endless formulas. It should mean that requests for information should be in a form that
enables easy review of NGO activities and expending of resources , readily understood by the
public. All forms used to implement accountability requirements should be authorised only after
meaningful consultation with the NGOs.

F. The not -for -profit sector should take the initiative in preparation and implementation of
self -regulatory mechanisms of accountability
In addition to the official, mandatory reporting, the interest of the third sector dictates the need to
establish some kind of self -regulatory mechanisms. In many Eastern European countries the
limited number of scandals with NGOs that misused public resources has damaged the
reputation of the sector in the eyes of public. The sector itself can restore the public trust not only
through compliance with governmentally imposed accountability rules, but also by th e creation of
codes of good conduct and behaviour and by voluntary acceptance and compliance with them.
These codes can be expressly provided in the compacts, and could include, for example, the duty
to maintain agreed monitoring, performance evaluation, a nd report -back systems to secure
effectiveness in the use of resources not only to the government but also to donors and public.
One special form of such a code was developed in England. It was the code of the good practices
of funding

Section 2.5: Impl ementation
A. The system for the implementation and review of compacts should be clarified in the
text of the compact.
Special attention in preparing the text of the compact should be given to its implementation. Even
if the compact is mainly a collection of general principles and guidelines for cooperation, the parts
connected with its implementation can and should be more concrete . The main target of the
articles connected with the implementation of the compact should be the supporting of the
creation of the stable institutional cooperation network and enforce mutual commitment to making
the compact work.

Various compacts deal with implementation issues in different ways. In some of them the
implementation articles are in separate parts of the compact (as in the English, compact) 13 [13] .
Other compacts foresee preparation of special document(s) (an action plan) to deal with
implementation issues. The Northern Ireland compact directly authorises the government and the
NGOs to prepare special supporting docume nts to the compact, setting out the mechanics for the
government to implement the principles and commitments in the compact and maintain effective
review. The Welsh compact foresees preparation of action plan setting out specific measures for
implementing the compact. The Canadian Joint Tables proposed comprehensive a three -phase
(commitment, construction, and consolidation) implementation plan as a final part of their report.
The Estonian draft proposes to form a special committee of the representatives of the
government and NGOs and offers also short and long -term priorities to be implemented.

B. It is useful to divide implementation objectives into two categories – short -term and
long -term objectives. It is very useful to include into the text of compac t specific
measurable short -term implementation objectives.

It is important that, in designing the compact and its implementation articles, two different types of
targets are recognised – both development of strategic goals and tactical steps to achieve those
goals. Usually governments are not keen to include short -term and measurable goals in the
terms of the compact. At the same time, for the third sector such short -term objectives are
extremely important, because these are easily observable and will c learly demonstrate the initial
impact of the implementation of the compact. Also these first clearly defined steps and their
implementation will give to the third sector some control over the whole process and will force the
government to act. Additionally , they will simplify the task of conducting some research on the
results of implementation. In England, for example, in the first evaluation meeting, the sides
analysed results of the review questionnaire about the level of knowledge of the compact among
governmental officials. This exercise made possible for the third sector to evaluate the
governments’ promise to promote “… effective working relationships, consistency and good
practice between Government and the sector…” 14 [14] . As in England, other UK comp acts also
burden government with duty to promote the compact and familiarise the state apparatus with its
ideas and principles.
In the Eastern European countries these first steps should be also easily controllable – the
appointment of specific officials w ho deal with the problems with third sector, making their names
and addresses available and accessible for interested NGOs are the best examples. For the not –
for -profit sector it will be usually also beneficial to have agreed to basic research on sector
ca pacities and scope accomplished at the first annual review meeting . In most cases, such first

13 [13] For example article 9.3 foresees the preparation of the code of good practice of funding,
article 9.9 code of good practice covering consultation, policy appraisal and implementation,
article 9.12 to establish annual review process of the operation of the compact, article 12 to
establish code of good practices on issues re lating to community groups and black and minority
ethnic organizations etc. Article 15 of the compact summarizes undertaking in the field of
preparing codes of good practice and annual review meetings.
14 [14] Article 9.10 England Compact. Special survey was conducted and the findings of the
questionnaire sent to central Government departments, Government Offices for the Regions and
a sample of Executive Agencies were discussed in the Annual Meeting Between Government and
Representatives of the Voluntary and Community Sector to Review the Operation and
Development of the Compact. See the minutes of the meeting at : u/compmeet.htm

surveys and research should be arranged in a way allowing replies to them after certain time (3 or
5 years) and later evaluation and comparison of the results.

C. Cooperation must be institutionalised through the formation of organs for cooperation
and appointment of responsible persons
The creation of a co -operative relationship between NGOs and the government third sector
means that some institutionalisation of the cooperation should take place. In the texts of
compacts this is usually provided through the establishment of mutual co -operative organs and
appointment of persons responsible for co -operation.
There must also be some reasonable limits here as well. Even if the government undertakes the
duty to appoint persons responsible for relations with the voluntary sector, it should be recognised
that not every governmental office is in close contact with the third sector and needs a person
responsible for co -op eration. It is important that officials appointed to be responsible for co –
operation are sufficiently senior level public servants. In another case they can’t influence the
activities of the office and its employees.
Another problem, connected with the go vernmental activities is their wide range and lack of
necessary coordination between different parts of government 15 [15] . Therefore it is
recommended that one special organ or official (usually at the prime minister’s level) be
nominated as a central co -ord inator of governmental activities with the third sector. His/her main
responsibilities should include promotion of good practices, collecting and summarising data
about the cooperation, organisation of meetings, and training of persons responsible for co –
operation, informing different parts of governmental structures about activities of other parts of the
government etc. It must be mentioned also here, that NGOs should actively monitor activities of
these persons and express their opinion about their work i n annual review meetings.

E. Representatives of not -for -profit sector should have wide support in the sector and a
mechanism should be established for guaranteeing the rotation of them after some
The problem of representation of the NGO sector exist here as well. As was mentioned above,
this problem arises from the diversity of the sector. Despite the fact that some strong groups can
be formed and sustained for the preparation of the compact, the same groups are generally not
suited for being in the role of co -operation institution. The problem is that the co -operation
institution should have wide and continuous support of the sector. It should also be in an
institutional position to work and analyse continuously on the topic and not treat it mer ely as a
project to fulfil. Therefore some kind of agreement should be developed during the compact
preparation period, about how the co -operation institution will be set up after passage of compact.
It is natural, that some big umbrella organisation(s) ca n be entrusted to be the main basis for co –
operation organ, but the wide participation of NGOs in the real body should be encouraged and
the rotation principle of the members of this body may be very useful tool for organising it. The
umbrella organisation should propose technical support for the body and keep the records of the

15 [15] Incoherence of funding arrangements was for example expressed by the NGOs and
recognised by the government in the English first annual evaluation meeting. The same problem
was risen in Estonia during the round -table discussions of t he draft of Concept

cooperation. The main task of this organ should cover not only collecting and analysing
information on the implementation of the compact but also active dissemination of information
and networking.

F. Quality standards should be elaborated to measure the success or failure of the
activities during the implementation of compacts
Implementation of the compact can be measured only against certain standards. Setting these
standards sh ould be mainly the problem for the NGO sector. Because of its diversity it is usually
hard to elaborate overwhelmingly acceptable quality standards. Nevertheless, the sector can and
should prepare quality standards for different services and maintain them. Acceptance of proper
quality standards by the NGOs and taking control of following them helps the government to
make funding decisions and to control the use of resources.
All existing compacts mention the problem of quality and effectiveness of the servi ces provided
by the NGOs. By undertaking to establish and to enforce quality standards NGOs also can
preserve their independence from political manipulation. Of course, the enforcement of these
standards must be effective to avoid governmental interference . Thus, both positive and negative
examples of following or not following the standards should be made available not only to the
government but also to the public.
Dealing with quality standards in the compact does not mean only quality standards for the third
sector. The government should be also obliged to follow certain quality standards in their contacts
with NGOs. Especially important is that these standards are followed in governmental decision –
making over allocation of resources.

G. The compact should include articles establishing mechanism for resolution of disputes
and disagreements over the implementation of compact
There is quite a high probability that different types of disputes and disagreements will occur
between the government and the th ird sector during implementation of the compact. Disputes
may arise for example over the wording of documents, activities of one or another party when
applying the compact, etc. Therefore the mechanism of resolution of disputes or its general
framework sho uld be included in the compact. England’s compact is the only one that mentions in
a separate part the issue of dispute resolution. It proposes three possible ways for solving
disputes – by the negotiation between parties, by mediation, and by the Parliame ntary
Commissioner for Administration. Even if all ordinary means to deal with the conflict (like the court
proceedings, etc.) were still available to the parties, the mechanism proposed in England’s
compact would usually help to resolve conflicts more eas ily and cheaply. Also it tries to avoid the
emergence of really sharp conflicts that could disturb co -operative mood of the compact.
Therefore, depending on legal system of the respective country, adding the dispute resolution
mechanism to the compact shou ld be considered.

H. Implementation provisions should include articles on periodical review and
modification of the compact
No one compact is designed as the final document describing NGO -government relations for all
time. All existing compacts are desi gned to solve current problems and to create cooperation

networks with certain characteristics. As soon as the main aims are achieved, new ones should
be looked for. Therefore compacts should include provisions on their institutionalised review and
develop ment . This mechanism must ensure that compacts or their implementation plans will be
reviewed periodically and also in the case of rapid changes in the environment. A mechanism for
review should be designed with care. The review mechanism should be designe d taking into
consideration the differences of the parties and the legal and political order in respective
These provisions are especially important in transition countries. Because of the lack of political,
social, and economical stability and especially because of the quick development of the sector,
the compact and its implementation plans probably need more frequent review and modification.
There is for example, foreseen in Estonian concept a duty of the parliament to discuss the
content of the compact together with the NGO representatives and if necessary to modify it at
least once in four years. This way every new parliament will at least once discuss the concept
and new developments will be introduced into it. The Croatian program states expressly that the
agreement is only a starting point and both parties will try to develop it. The program outlines joint
preparation of the strategy for the support of the development of civil society and some other

I. Implementation of th e compact should not concentrate only to the central level.
Elaboration of local compacts and their active implementation is a natural part of the
The real success of a compact comes when its ideas are used at the local level where most of
NGOs ar e situated. The experience of the preparation of all existing compacts shows that local
NGOs, after becoming familiar with the ideology of a national compact are very keen to start
preparation of their own local level compacts. For this they need just a li ttle encouragement and
advice. The best example of such developments is in England, where “localisation” of compacts
after passage of the national compact became one of the main aims of implementation of the
national compact.
Usually the preparation of th e local compact is easier in a larger local government like a city. But
in case of small local governments a compact can be prepared in cooperation between several
local governments and the NGOs. This happened, for example, in the northeastern Estonia,
whe re local councils and NGOs of six counties started negotiations and agreed on preparation of
common compact.
The main difference between national and local compacts is that later can be more detailed and
consist not only general framework of cooperation but also articles describing very concrete
activities and funding decisions. 16 [16]

Daimar Liiv
Washington D.C. – Tartu 2000 -2001

16 [16] NCVO has elaborated special guidelines for the preparation of local compacts. See
Compact – What’s New? Local Compact Guidelines: www.ncvo – /gateway/compact.html#4 .

Contact author:
Õuna 23 -5
Tartu, Estonia
50405, Ph. 37207381491