Implementation of NGO-Government Cooperation Policy Documents

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Lessons Learned


Radost Toftisova 1

I. Introduction

1. What is a “compact?”

A decade ago, the term “compact” would have raised very few, if any, associations with the
world of non -profit , non -governmental organizations (“NGOs”), their role in public life, and
their cooperation with government. The first compacts appeared in 1998 in the United
Kingdom and were defined as agreements “between government and the voluntary and
community sector in England to improve their relationship for mutual advantage.” 2 The
expanding and more constructive role played by the NGOs in the development of good
political processes and delivery of high quality public services, and their contribution to the
public’ s well -being were factors that persuaded or even impelled governments to initiate
negotiations with NGOs on cooperation documents.

These documents are often referred to by different names:

 “compacts” in the England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Irelan d;
 “Program for Cooperation with Non -governmental Organizations
(NGOs)” in Croatia;
 “Concept for the Development of Civil Society” (“EKAK”) in
 “Accord” in Canada;
 “NGO Charter” in France;
 “Charter for Interaction between Volunteer Denmark and the Public
Sector” (Denmark); and
 “Government Civil Society Strategy” (Hungary).

For ease of reference, we will call these documents “ compacts. ”

The public party to the document can be represented by the government (England) or
Parliament (Estonia). T he documents can be bi -lateral (Scotland) or unilateral (Hungary).
They can be comparatively short (UK) or detailed (Estonia). They can be followed by Codes
of Good Practice and local compacts (UK) or remain predominantly a national process
(Croatia). As explained more fully below, not all compacts are “agreements” between the
state and the sector, either; in some cases, compacts come about as a result of unilateral action
by one party, usually the government.
1 Special thanks and acknowl edgments for their help and support to this research to ICNL staff Douglas Rutzen
and Cathy Shea; ECNL staff Nilda Bullain and Katerina Hadzi -Miceva, as well as to Richard Fries, Susan
Phillips, Jeremy Kendall, Joseph Proietti, Sladana Novota, and Kristina Mand. 2


The common characteristic of all such docume nts is that they express a mutual recognition of
principles and values of cooperation between the public and the non -profit sector and outline
the structure of their future work together . The documents represent an effort to
institutionalise the two secto rs’ relationship in order to improve public participation in
political decision -making and to raise the quality of public services by improving NGOs’
access to opportunities to participate in service delivery. 3 The state’s recognition, either
explicit or implicit in the document, of civil society and its place in public life is certainly
important. But the real value of cooperation documents is in their practical impact and their
ability to bring together the public and non -profit sectors for the benefit of society.

Seven years after the first compacts appeared, the focus has changed; it is no longer on
compact initiatives, although several countries are at the outset of negotiations or even
preparing draft documents. What deserves attention today is what has happened? Did
compacts achieve the intended outcomes and if so, how? What facilitated that process? What
hampered or obstructed it, and how can these challenges be overcome?

This paper will address the lessons learned from the implementation of comp acts in a number
of countries, predominantly in Western and Eastern Europe. It will examine the factors that
contributed to successes in the implementation process, as well as to failures. The objective of
the paper is to be of help to governments and NGO sectors which are considering compacts,
or re -evaluating existing compacts. We hope that the findings and examples presented here
will help to facilitate their path to an effective document beneficial to society.

2. What is “implementation?”

What is mean t by “implementation” of a compact? Compacts are still a fairly new
development, and there has not been enough history to provide a complete picture of a good
and effectively implemented compact. All of the compacts adopted to date are in the process
of b eing implemented, and this process has yielded both positive and negative results, all with
great potential as sources of learning.

To put the concept of implementation in concrete terms, consider these examples of how
NGOs and governments have partnered in developing activities to make their commitments to
one another “real.” All these activities have been undertaken in the process of the parties’
fulfilment of their compact commitments – to increase the NGO sector’s financial
sustainability, develop new enabling legislation supporting NGO activities, facilitate grant –
making and application procedures, and provide tax benefits to NGOs, etc

 In England , the Government
o developed guidance for its departments on the delivery of small grants;
o passed legisla tion ( Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community
Enterprise) Act 2004 and the Community Interest Company Regulations
2005) establishing a new legal form – the Community Interest Company —
which allows social enterprises to use their profits and assets for the public
good. These companies benefit from a simplified procedure for formation
and operational flexibility but are subject to additional requirements for,
3 Bullain, N., Toftisova, R., A Comparative Analysis of European Policies and Practices of NGO -Government
Cooperation, March 2004, available at https://ww cite the journal?

e.g., reporting to ensure that they are acting for the benefit of the
community. 4; and
o laun ched ChangeUp, a strategy developed jointly with the NGO sector to
build sector capacity and infrastructure, with an initial investment of £80m
and another £70m allocated for that program for the fiscal years
2006/2007 and 2007/2008; 5
 Also in England, the Compact led to intensified efforts to amend the legislative
framework for charitable giving as a means of promoting the independence of the
NGO (or as called in the Compact, “community” sector). The Gift Aid Program
was reformed in 2004, and a moderni zed Charities Bill was introduced in
Parliament (although the Bill was not approved by the Queen and was reintroduced
again) . It is estimated that these changes brought about an increase in charitable
giving of £580 million in 2003/2004; 6
 In response to Scotland’s Executive Direct Funding Review of 2001, the Scottish
Executive planned to reform the arrangements for direct funding of the voluntary
sector. A key goal is to adopt principles and processes to facilitate voluntary
organisations’ applications f or funding (e.g., publishing funding opportunities on
the Scottish Executive website; producing an annual published version of funding
opportunities introducing standard packages of funding criteria.) 7
 In Estonia , the Joint Committee charged with draftin g the EKAK (the Estonian
compact), also developed an Implementation Plan. In addition, a n earlier initiative
to develop a tax policy promoting citizen initiative and encouraging charity led to
the recognition of nonprofit associations and foundations as e ligible for exemption
from the income tax and customs duties, etc. 8
 The Canadian Government introduced more than 60 changes in the regulatory
framework for the voluntary sector following adoption of a compact; 9
 In Croatia , compact implementation led to le gislative reform benefiting NGOs,
o a new Law on Associations,
o a Lottery law dedicating lottery proceeds to finance the NGO sector
o draft laws on volunteerism and foundations,
o a draft Code of good practice in grant -giving,
o tax law amendments providing deductions for donations to NGOs;
o tenders for funding NGOs under the new laws and the compact;, and
o a multiyear financing scheme (replacing the prior system of single year
funding.) 10
 In Denmark, the Government -NGO Charter signed in 2 001 led to a better balance
in international development funding between large and small NGOs, with funds
4 For additional information see 5 6 Idem. 7 -00.asp 8 EKAK Implementation Plan at
l_02.doc 9 Based on input from Marie Gauthier, Director of Social Development Canada Non -Profit and Voluntary Sector
Affairs Divisi on, presentation at the conference on Civil Society Excellence, 3 -5 March 2005, Tallinn, Estonia 10 Based on input from Cvjetana Plavsa -Matic, Director of the Foundation for civil society development.

Implementation with no compact?

The process of negotiating a compact, even
where a formal document does not result, may
have a positive impact on the inter -sectoral
relationship. A d raft compact may even be
partially implemented. Take the example of
Hungary, where the Government Civil
Strategy was not adopted, but certain
provisions nevertheless were implemented.
The Strategy for example anticipated the “1%
Law,” giving taxpayers t he right to designate a
percent of their taxes to be paid to NGOs.

The Strategy is often referred to and its socio J
political importance is undoubted, despite the
fact that it was not adopted and therefore
cannot be “implemented” as we ordinarily
unders tand that term. This demonstrates the
opportunities for legal and other reform where
goodwill is fostered by compact negotiations.
The Strategy has the potential for even greater
impact should it be formally adopted –
implementation of an actual compact c ould
lead to more specific and comprehensive
measures to improve NGO government
cooperation K

for large groups reduced by 5% and re Jdistributed among a larger number of
smaller organizations. 11

Nonetheless, a balanced account of the record of c ompact implementation to date would have
to acknowledge setbacks in fulfilling commitments made in various documents:

 Fewer than 40% of voluntary organizations in England believe that the that Compact
has had a positive impact on their relationships with government offices;
 Estonian NGOs remained silent as the Parliament passed a Gambling Act which did
not include provisions dedicating funding to the voluntary sector;
 Hungarians failed to adopt a proposed program for cooperation with NGOs – the
Civil Stra tegy of the Government, as both sectors failed to arrive at a joint position on
the matter; (although, as discussed later on, the draft program had a considerable and
positive impact on the government -NGOs relations); and
 In Scotland, government and the voluntary sector developed separate guidelines for
the implementation of the Compact. This led to diversified implementation
approaches, low awareness of compact values and principles by both parties, and
general lack of compliance with Compact provisions .

a. definition

The Compact implementation process
fulfils the commitments made in the
compact by the public sector either alone
or together with the voluntary sector for
purposes of encouraging an improved
relationship and better cooperation
between the t wo sectors. The
implementation process involves a series
of specific actions designed to achieve the
main objectives of the compact. These
actions, therefore, are usually aimed to
produce particular outcomes, which may
include, among others:

 more effecti ve delivery of
public services,
 better systems for consultations
between the two sectors,
 more developed funding
mechanisms to support the
third sector in its public benefit
activities, and
 more extensive dialogue on
draft legislation affecting civil
so ciety.
11 velopmentCooperation/AWorldOfDifference/kap03_


Ultimately, the public benefits from higher quality services, a more democratic political
system allowing for greater public participation in political decision -making, and greater
opportunity to enjoy the fruits of citizenship and the basic free doms it implies. A report by the
Scottish Compact review group underlines that the ultimate goal of the compact
implementation process is improving public well -being: “the Scottish Executive and the
voluntary sector work in partnership to build a better Sc otland .”12

Effective compact implementation, therefore, means that in reality the relationship between
the two sectors has reached a higher level. But how does one assess effectiveness? Plainly,
there is a need to consider measures of success. As discu ssed further on, establishing
indicators to measure the success of implementation in practical terms has presented
challenges which the public and civil society sectors continue to negotiate.

The importance of using specific indicators to measure success ful implementation is
illustrated by the case of England. The English Compact was the first policy document
developed, signed, and implemented, so the implementation process should now be smoothly
advancing. In reality, recent studies using indicators tie d to specific commitments in the
compact (e.g., the number of local compacts signed, the amount of funding provided to the
voluntary sector, the number of governmental agencies that have actually developed a strategy
on financing the voluntary sector, the level of awareness of Compact goals and achievements
on both sides), have established that there is a lot more to do. This finding led researchers to
recommend more extensive promotion, dedication of more resources to Compact
implementation, and regular re views and monitoring to ensure that the Compact is, as
intended, a milestone on the path to an improved relationship between the sectors, and not the
end of the journey. 13

In response, in April 2005, the Government announced its new program to further prom ote
the voluntary sector as a keystone partner in building a “healthy society” and in delivering
public services. Plans include the launch of ‘Compact Plus” — a new and simplified
implementation scheme; the creation of “Capacity Builders” – an agency that will manage
partnership funds backed up by a £70 million funding this commitment for the period until
2008; and a further monetary investment for Futurebuilders (a Government investment fund
intended to promote participation of the voluntary sector in the delivery of public services) for
the same period. Perhaps as importantly, the program identifies reasons for past inefficiencies
and proposes new measures to meet the challenges of implementation. 14

b. the continuous nature of implementation

Compacts are o ften considered a process because the purpose for which the document is
adopted – improved relations between the sectors – is continuing in nature. Because the
public -voluntary sector relationship always is open to improvement, we can argue that in
pract ice there is no fully implemented compact – a document is always in the process of being
implemented. Each phase of implementation must therefore be viewed in the context of the
whole process, contingent on current priorities, and inter -related with previo us and upcoming
activities and commitments.
12 Supra note 5 (emphasis added). 13 “The Paradox of Compacts: Monitoring the Impact of Compacts,” UL Home Office Online Report, 02/05, 14 https://www.ho


Take, for example, Estonia’s special Joint Commission made up of representatives of the
government and civil society. The Commission, created in October 2003, was envisioned by
the Civil Society Development Co ncept, or EKAK. Its work demonstrated a new, higher
level of the two sectors’ capacity to work together and collaborate. The establishment of the
Commission was not one -off activity. The Commission was not the final objective – it was
meant to advance ot her implementation goals. Among other things, the Commission was
tasked to evaluate the degree to which the parties have fulfilled the commitments undertaken
in EKAK, as well as to develop an Implementation Plan for future action. Thus, while created
in ex ecution of the EKAK this body has served as the link between the between various stages
of the adoption and implementation processes.

The Scottish Compact, adopted in 1998, provides another example demonstrating the
continuing nature of the implementati on process. After an initial assessment of the compact’s
implementation, the Scottish Executive/Voluntary Sector Forum agreed that the document
should be “ reviewed with a particular focus on identifying ways in which it might be more
effectively implement ed by both the Executive and the voluntary sector.” 15 A joint review
group was created to examine and report on implementation problems and to recommend
solutions, demonstrating the need for periodic re -examination of a compact and its

The reporting group on the English Compact reached similar conclusion — that the Compact
should not be a “dead” paper but a “living” compact – and recommended that its
implementation should be ensured “through regular reviews.” 16

c. compliance and implementatio n

Implementation can be considered within the broader context of compact adherence or
“compliance .” The term compliance suggests a more comprehensive requirement for respect
and fulfilment of all statements and commitments undertaken by the parties to th e compact.
One aspect of compliance is secured through implementation of specific commitments made
in the document.

The whole of the text of a compact cannot be implemented; part of its content consists of
“static” clauses which either establish outset positions – such as who represents one party or
the other – or recognize existing circumstances or relations between the parties. For example,
art.2.1 of Chapter 2 of the Voluntary Sector Scheme of Wales contains a definition of the term
“voluntary sector” which the two parties agree to respect: “voluntary organizations,
community groups, volunteers, self -help groups, community co -operatives and enterprises,
religious organizations and other non for profit organizations of benefit to communities and
people in Wales.” The Assembly of Wales, representing the public sector, undertakes (art. 2.2
of the Voluntary Sector Scheme) “to recognize, value and promote the voluntary sector” and
to build a partnership with it. Further on in the Scheme, we find a more speci fic provision in
which the Assembly “designates the First Secretary to have overall responsibility for the
Voluntary Sector Scheme” and commits to maintain “a Code of Practice for funding the
voluntary sector” (art.2.11). 17

15 Supra note 6. 16 Supra note 13. 17

While the first provision is a statement on a shared value, and as such requires general
compliance in a manner subject to the parties’ interpretation, the latter is a more specific
commitment the implementation of which requires specific action. Both the more general
statements and the concrete provisions are included in compacts as means to achieve
improved public -NGO relationships, and they both require observance if the compact’s
objectives are to be reached. Only the specific commitments, however, are likely to be the
subject of imp lementation activities and require action by the parties. The parties will have to
do something — adopt a document, develop a mechanism, organize an event, take an
initiative, etc. – if these commitments are to be fulfilled.

d. impact of national prioritie s on compacts and on their

Experience has shown that compacts have potential both in circumstances where the
NGO/government relationship is good – they “cement and secure” it, 18 and where the parties
faced problems in working together – in w hich case “the Compact might act as a lever for
change.” 19 The implementation process and the degree to which it can be considered
successful follow from the policy document itself (the drafting and negotiation process,
content, momentum) as well as of the objectives set up in it. In other words, the success of
implementation should always be assessed against the specific goals of the compact.

Each national and local compact is a product of particular circumstances and is designed to
meet specific socie tal needs. The differences in circumstances and needs among countries
explains the varying values and objectives of compacts as well as the lack of similar processes
for adopting them. Not surprisingly, all of these factors affect compact implementation. Thus,
for example, the Croatian Program for Cooperation was developed with the primary objective
of hastening and assisting ongoing NGO legal reform. Following years of war and ethnic
conflict in Croatia, the Program naturally focused on values like non -violence and equal
opportunity. However, as discussed below, historical factors and unstable governmental
interest in the Program led to implementation problems and a failure by the government to
respect the commitments it made.

In Estonia, in contrast, p riorities focused on sustainability, accountability and transparency
mechanisms for civil society , subjects viewed with enthusiasm by civil society and a
committed Parliament. The result: the Estonian EKAK is among the most advanced in its
implementation — it has its own Implementation Plan, and its implementation schedule is
followed strictly by both parties.

These national priorities are reflected in EKAK implementation activities, which are designed
to address issues of great concern to both the publi c and voluntary sectors, including

 legislation regulating citizen initiatives ,
 involvement of citizens and citizens’ associations in the decision -making processes ,
 financing of citizens’ associations ,
 compilation of statistics on NGO sector size and a ctivities ,
 civic education and
 public awareness .
18 Supra note 13, p.9 19 Supra note 13, p.10


The necessary bodies, including joint committees, have been established and started work so
that these priorities can be realized more quickly and comprehensively, with the aim of
building “a civil socie ty and a social economy in Estonia with the active participation of its
citizens.” 20 For example, in the area of civic education, university programs are being
developed to expand knowledge of the third sector legal framework and values among
students at la w and other faculties – at the University of Tartu and the University of Tallinn.
In the area of citizens’ involvement the State Chancellery, which is the coordinating body for
public involvement in governmental institutions, has collected information abou t and
encourages new practices, such as the use of electronic means of promoting civic engagement,
training public servants in public participation methodologies, initiating consultations and
working groups on best practices, and others. 21

Similarly, in ot her countries, national priorities are reflected in the compact implementation
process. In Denmark, NGOs have traditionally been engaged in providing international aid,
and the Danish Charter for Interaction therefore is focused on this aspect of voluntary sector
activity. Indeed, the government changed its practice in channelling funding for international
aid only through large NGOs to respect its commitment “ to make sure that the Danish NGOs
have the necessary strength and legitimacy by virtue of their po pular rooting.” 22 In Germany,
the focus is on poverty alleviation. 23 The compact pioneers in England sought to improve the
system of funding the third sector; therefore, the English Compact requires Codes of Good
Practice, including a Code on Funding and Pr ocurement whose objective is to improve
funding and procurement relationships. 24

d. international sharing of lessons learned

Means of sharing lessons learned regarding compact implementation have received increased
attention over the past several years. Mechanisms for the international exchange of
experience should be encouraged to facilitate the learning process and help solve problems
that may arise in the course of implementation. One example of such an exchange is the
international conference on Com pacts Implementation that took place in Estonia in early
March 2005. The conference served as a forum for sharing of success stories and
implementation problems from England, Estonia, Canada, and other countries. 25 The
advantages of such an exchange became evident as experts from countries with actual or draft
compacts raised examples of such “successful transfers” of information. The Canadian
Accord was drafted on the basis of the English Compact; Estonians studied the four UK
compacts in order to develop their EKAK; Romanians have sought to learn from other
countries’ experiences to help launch a successful compact campaign.

The strong national character of each policy document on cooperation does not allow the
internationalisation of the documents the mselves, and each national example remains unique.
20 See EKAK Implementation Plan at htt p:// 21 Based on input from Kristina Mand, Executive Director of NENO, presentation at the conference on Civil
Society Excellence, March 3 -5, Tallin, Estonia. 22 23 Based on ipnut from Doug las Rutzen, President of ICNL, presentation at the conference on Civil Society
Excellence, March 3 -5, Tallin, Estonia. See also 24 . This Code, which
is useful for anyone seeking or using public funds, was published in 2000 shortly after the Compact was signed,
and revised and r epublished in 2005. 25 See

In Poland, for example, the national “compact” differs significantly from other European
examples, which developed first at a national level. One of the reasons for that is that in
Poland, local documents for the third sector’s engagement in the delivery of public services
were developed years before a national cooperation policy document was considered As a
result, the scope, objectives, legal force, and priorities of the national compact are specific for
that country only, and their transfer to another national set of circumstances will not only be
difficult and pointless, but also dangerous.

An intense process of international exchange of concepts, principles, models, and – lately –
experiences, has be en going on since the first compacts were signed and has begun to
influence practices. The partial “transfer” of expertise and experience from other places can
be extremely useful in designing an effective implementation process, and can help to avoid
unn ecessary implementation errors and failures.

II . How should a successful implementation process be structured?

“Compacts don’t work all by themselves as if by magic.” 26 Implementation requires
substantial effort if a compact’s objectives are to be achieved.

The initial period of enthusiasm following the adoption of a compact often gives way to
difficulties in implementation that far exceed the problems associated with preparation and
signing of the policy document itself. Joint groups and committees are fo rmed to review and
monitor how the parties fulfil their undertakings. Reports summarize major obstacles and
recommend future strategies. 27 The focus turns to implementation plans recommending
actions, identifying good practices (and bad practices that prov ide valuable learning points),
proposing schedules, allocating responsibilities, and establishing mechanisms to monitor what
has been achieved and what remains.

For example, the Report group on the Scottish Compact found that: the Compact should have
be en implemented better by both parties; awareness of the Compact must be raised; leadership
and political commitment are essential; capacity building across both sectors needs further
attention; and monitoring and evaluation are crucial. The group proposed a three year strategy
to implement the Compact in view of these findings, one that would take advantage of
momentum towards good implementation. 28

These types of strategy papers assist in the practical realization of compact objectives, and
promote system s for measuring progress and identifying obstacles to it. In other words, they
help assess where the two sectors stand on the road to a better society, what has been done
and what remains to be attended to, and propose future actions.

In England, where c ompacts have the longest history, the National Council for Voluntary
Organizations (NCVO) convened a working group to develop a Mini -guide on local compacts
implementation. The Mini -guide offers specific advice on how to prepare and achieve
successful comp act follow -up at the local level. The guide emphasizes several objectives:
raising awareness (making the compact known through publications, internet posting,
26 27 See “Scottish Compact Implementation Strategy”, https://www.scotland.go –
00.asp and “The Paradox of Compacts: Monitoring the Impact of Compacts,” UL Home Office Online Report,
02/05, 28 Supra note 6.

briefing, etc.); identifying good resources and allocating responsibilities (finding competent
staff, organizing discussions, etc.); making the best application and use (good planning,
briefing, developing local codes, etc.); ensuring compliance (setting up monitoring, dispute
resolution, and mediation systems); and evaluation (holding review meeting s, revision, etc.) 29

In the following sections, we will consider the elements of a successful implementation
process, keeping in mind that the process is often facilitated if implementation is considered at
the time that a compact is negotiated. Among ot her things, we will address:

 What factors most affect successful compact implementation?
 At which stage of the compact process should these factors be considered, and how, in
order to avoid later difficulties in implementation?
 Who should be involved in i mplementation and what role should each participant
 What systems of monitoring and review are most effective, and what difficulties have
been encountered in administering these systems?

The timely and comprehensive consideration of these factors wil l, we hope, help build a
working mechanism to achieve compacts’ objectives to the parties’ mutual benefit and for the
well -being of society.

1. Mutual interest of the Parties

The success of implementation follows to a certain extent the path of drafting , negotiating,
and adopting the compact. Experience demonstrates that the adoption of a compact is, as a
rule, contingent upon the good will of the parties and a favourable set of circumstances – for
example, an event of national importance affecting the t hird sector, successful negotiations
between the public and the voluntary sector on another issue, the arrival of a new government
whose members are personally well -inclined towards NGOs, the adoption of a compact in a
neighbouring or otherwise close count ry, etc. As some compacts are not legally binding,
successful implementation often depends on the good will of the parties to honour the
commitments that they have undertaken.

If the parties are to remain committed to the implementation process, they mu st have a mutual
interest in doing so, a commitment frequently reflected in the compact itself. The mutual
expectations of the parties – including the contributions they are ready and willing to make
and the outcomes they hope to achieve – must be clearl y outlined. Where the compact focuses
on an agenda that is “owned” by both parties, the chances that it will be realized greatly

Scotland’s compact presents an example of how a lack of commonality on implementation
plans undermined effective co mpact implementation. In the Scottish compact the public
sector undertakes to apply best funding practices and flexibility in the use of financial
resources to support the voluntary sector, and the latter undertakes to promote good
management practice and monitor and report on the use of public funds. 30 However, rather
than come to agreement, the two parties decided to develop and use separate guidelines on the
29 Idem. 30 Idem.

implementation of the Compact for their respective stakeholders. The Scottish Executive
drafted Good Practice Guides covering issues of funding, consultation, and working
partnerships available to the public bodies involved in Compact implementation. The Scottish
Council of Voluntary Organizations (SCVO), representing the third sector, issued
Implemen tation Guidance to Voluntary Organisations. The existence of two separate
guidelines as well as the change of the Executive in 1999/2000 caused a delay in promoting
and implementing the Compact. This was acknowledged as a setback by both parties, who in
response set up a joint review group to address the problem. 31

The Compact Plus scheme – the new program recently launched by the English Government –
-acknowledges that lack of “ownership” was among the obstacles to good implementation.
Each party thought that the other should take the lead. Other challenges include the diversity
of views and priorities within the voluntary sector. 32 To overcome these problems, the scheme
includes plans, among other things, to create ‘Capacity Builders” – an independent age ncy
which will ensure “a sector lead focus” on partnership programs, fund management,
coordination and successful implementation of the ChangeUp program. The increased
capacity of the NGO sector is expected to help organizations take the lead in their own reform
and in services delivery, and to improve their participation in policymaking. The promise of
the scheme is that successful reform is more likely if the sector fully understands and leads
reform rather than having it imposed by the government. 33

2. Planning

Effective implementation requires separate planning, monitoring, and reporting, often
initiated at the time of negotiation of the document. In Estonia and in Scotland, the parties
developed separate Implementation strategies with the object o f reviewing compact
achievements and examining difficulties, and outlining future actions. An implementation
plan may also be drafted as a part of a compact (for example the Croatian Program for
Cooperation includes a short section on implementation.) The plan may be periodically
reviewed and amended, either as part of the process of revising a compact or separately.

Both approaches have a potential for success and the choice depends on national and political
traditions and preferences. Planning implemen tation at the time of compact adoption ensures
that the parties agree on general guidelines for future actions. A more detailed implementation
strategy developed after the compact’s adoption facilitates the allocation of tasks and
responsibilities as well as development of specific steps to implement the compact’s
provisions, based on data gathered from assessment and the initial implementation experience.

Various mechanisms have been introduced to ensure effective planning, both during the
negotiation of the compact or later, during the course of the implementation process.

 English governmental agencies have formed their own action plans, and the compact
itself provides for annual reviews and planning;
 A separate working group or entity can be created as part of a planning scheme for
compact implementation – for example in the England a special body has been formed
to coordinate the two parties’ efforts – the Active Community Unit (ACU). Its role is
31 Supra note 6. 32 “Develop ing Capacity: Next Steps for ChangeUp”, at 33 Idem.

“to promote the development of the voluntary and com munity sector, and to encourage
people to become actively involved in their communities,” including through
“development and implementation of the Compact.” 34 The existence and the work of
the ACU are of considerable importance in appropriate implementatio n, monitoring
and coordination.
 In Scotland voluntary sector liaison offices were created within the Executive at the
outset and held responsible for the implementation of the compact;
 Estonians established a Joint Committee consisting of the two secto rs’ representatives,
which elaborated an Implementation Plan for EKAK; specific targeted events
(discussions, meetings, etc.) have been organized to meet the EKAK commitments;
 In Canada, the Voluntary Sector Initiative launched in 2000 encompassed the ado ption
of the Accord as well as the institutional framework for its implementation and
monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. 35

These experiences, however diverse, suggest that planning is essential at the outset of the
compact process. At the same time, a f lexible approach to the stages of implementation
should be adopted by the parties as it facilitates adaptation to a changing environment, taking
into account new priorities, obstacles, and players.

a. how early ?

The question of how early the implementation process should be considered appears
rhetorical: preparations cannot start too early. It is only logical that implementation of a
compact should be considered as soon as the concept of an agreement is introduced. For
example, the English compact includes implementation provisions that were discussed and
adopted together with the rest of the document. 36 However, attitudes, as well as
implementation mechanisms, may change over time. The lessons learned from practice should
be used to adapt implementation pol icies to the current political, social, legislative, economic,
and/or cultural environment.

A very good example of such flexibility has been shown by the Estonian government. The
Estonian EKAK 37 was the result of bilateral initiatives and nation -wide publ ic discussions.
Initially, the implementation process turned out to be slow and difficult, but both sides
responded with renewed initiative. By 2003, a Joint Committee formed, with representatives
of government (8) and non -profit organizations (14). In A ugust 2004, the Estonian
government adopted the 2004 -2006 Implementation plan for the EKAK on the basis of the
work of the Committee. This was the first example of the use of a separately developed
document in connection with implementation of a compact. T he Implementation plan
formulates goals, activities to achieve each goal, as well as the specific indicators to measure
achievement. It allocates responsibilities, and fixes a schedule. Although the Implementation
plan was drafted in pursuit of the EKAK’s short -term priorities, 38 it also came as a result of
the joint efforts and understanding of the government and the non -profit sector on the
essential aspects of civil, legislative, and economic life in the country and on the importance
of adopting a compre hensive approach to the solution of problems in these fields.

34 -us/organisation/directorates -units/communities -group/acd/acu?version=1 35 https://www.vsi .cfm 36 Supra note 2 and 3. 37 Supra note 3 and 38

3. The influence of a compact’s provisions on successful

The content and scope of a compact depends on a number of factors, including national
political and legislative traditio ns; the current political and social environment; timing;
models used in the drafting process; particular features of the discussion and negotiation
process; and personal preferences of the drafting team. One approach to drafting a compact is
not necessari ly superior to another in terms of assuring good implementation; England and
Estonia achieved similar results despite their differing approaches to content.

In England, the Compact is a comparatively short document outlining the general framework
for futu re cooperation. By contrast, in Estonia, the EKAK is detailed, addressing many
aspects of cooperation and elaborating means for its implementation as well. However, in
both countries, compacts have been popularized and have seen substantial progress toward s
effective implementation. Significantly, both countries have implementation plans of local
and national, and maybe even international, importance: the Mini -guide on the
implementation of local compacts in England and the EKAK Implementation Plan. The
former lists the main steps to take and proposes a checklist of activities at the local level, and
the latter is, like the EKAK itself, more detailed and instructive, including schedules and
specific tasks and responsibilities. These are two different but eq ually successful approaches
towards the follow -up stages of a compact, which illustrate that the different approaches to the
contents of compacts do not necessarily entail different probabilities of successful

Regardless of the approach towards the content of the compact, experience demonstrates that
the text should provide clear guidelines on implementation. These guidelines can provide for:

 Formation of working groups, as in Estonia,
 development of follow -up documents,
 Codes of Condu ct, as in England,
 the process for review and revision, like in almost all compacts adopted in Europe.
 specific deadlines, as in the Estonian EKAK,
 space for flexibility, as in the Croatian Program.
 Allocation of specific responsibilities regarding imp lementation, as in the EKAK,
 allocation of general responsibilities as in the Scottish Compact.

However, the approach towards formulating a compact should not be engraved in stone. The
parties should remain flexible, taking into account the change in p olitical, economic, and
social environment. New circumstances call for reconsideration of the contents of a compact.
In England, for example, the Government recently adopted a new program called
“Strengthening Partnerships: Next Steps to Compact.” The pr ogram acknowledges that the
Compact might not have worked well because, among other reasons, both the agreement and
the Codes are too lengthy – about 140 pages altogether. As a result, both the government and
the community sector may have had difficulty co mplying with the terms of these
documents. 39 To overcome this problem, the new “Compact Plus” is designed to be a much
simpler and “more succinct tool” that will enable organizations to evaluate their compliance
more easily.

39 , p.7


4. Dissemination of informat ion on the policy document

Almost every country with a compact has experienced the need – at an earlier or later stage –
to convey information about compacts and how to implement them to all players and to the
public. As a key objective of these document s is to encourage public participation in political
life and to raise the level of services delivered to the public, the public must be included in the
awareness building campaign. Moreover, the commitments established in a compact cannot
be fully met if the document is left in the folders of those who have signed it, so the parties
must also be targeted by the campaign. Awareness -raising has been recognized as a crucial
factor in facilitating implementation and is considered among the most important next steps in
compact implementation processes in Estonia, Canada, England, Wales, and Scotland.

The English Mini -guide on Local Compacts Implementation advises that a Compact should
be popularized in every way possible: on web sites; at events; through public ations;
newsletters; and interviews; etc. 40 It also underlines the importance of the emotional aspect of
publicity with the advice: “Communicate your Compact imaginatively and with
enthusiasm.” 41 Communicating competence and optimism is perhaps a secondary, but still an
indispensable element of awareness -raising.

A number of factors contribute to an effective publicity campaign. One key element is a
working system of statistics analysis and research. The collection and targeted distribution of
data can pla y a crucial role in successful implementation. Experts from various fields who
have participated in compact development can assist in awareness -raising by providing
explanations of the compact and implementation activities.

Even in England, where compac ts originated (and reputedly one of the best countries for
follow -up activities and implementation), awareness of the Compact’s existence is still
considered low. 42 The lack of broadly applicable mechanisms for compact promotion may
account in part for the low level of awareness. For example, on the public side, some
government departments were very active, with senior officials visiting regional offices,
publishing materials, running workshops, discussing compacts at internal events, and
mentioning them on any available occasion. Others, however, were not, instead relying on one
“champion” (see s.6.b) or treating the compact as irrelevant to their work. These attitudes
changed with the launch of new policies demanding a more diversified range of service –
pro viders and, therefore, wider participation of the voluntary sector in government decision –
making and closer cooperation between government departments and voluntary organizations.

Internet sites are a modern means of information dissemination – easy, acc essible to a broad
audience, and frequently rich in content. NGOs’ web sites or sites specifically created to offer
updates on compact implementation, as well as government sites, can be used to disseminate
information. For example, in England there is a w ebsite containing information regarding the
national and local compacts. 43 The data is recent and reliable; and therefore, targeted to
achieve its objective – making available comprehensive information about the compacts –
their drafting and adoption, discu ssions, review, revisions, practice, and contacts – to anyone
40 41 Idem. 42 Based on input from Richard Hebditch, NCVO (presentation at the Conference on Civil Soci ety Excellent,
Tallinn, Estonia, March 3 -5, 2005) 43 Supra note 2.

interested. This method works well in Estonia too, where the site of the Roundtable of
Estonian NGOs offers the texts of EKAK and the Implementation Plan as well as activity
reports and other i nteresting information. A special web site that is part of the Voluntary
Sector Initiative in Canada 44 includes the text of the Accord and related initiatives, the
institutional framework, reports, research and statistics, etc. It is regularly updated as w ell.

Organizations that work in more than one country and thus have access to comparative
information regarding compacts also assist in creating awareness. The International Center for
Not -for -Profit Law has posted on its web site 45 not only description s of and articles on
compacts (e.g., from France, Croatia, Estonia) but offers comparative research on related
issues as well. 46

Other technological means can be deployed in the awareness raising process: CD -ROMs and
video -presentations have joined workboo ks and training sessions in the toolbox used by the
Canadian government and the voluntary sector in implementing the Accord and the Codes of
Good Practice. 47

Disseminated information requires regular updates. Changed circumstances and in some
cases, revis ions to compacts mean that publicity must change accordingly. This applies to
websites as much as other means of dissemination, as neglect in updating a site may render it
useless and sometimes misleading. In 2001, the French government created a site on “vie
associative” and posted data relevant to the newly adopted NGO Charter. 48 The site contains
the text of the document, description of the commitments by the government and the third
sector and new developments relating to these commitments, contact info rmation, and several
other legislative and political documents, speeches, and news reports. This information is no
longer up to date, however, and has lost much of its value and effect. Similarly, in Croatia, the
site dedicated to the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs and the Program for
Cooperation with NGOs offers data posted in 2002 that, except for the text of the Program, is
no longer relevant. 49 To some extent, the gap is filled by the site of the new National
Foundation for Civil Society Dev elopment created to replace the Office. 50

One example of awareness -raising that could serve as a model is the annual designation in
England of a “Compact Week.” This is “an annual awareness raising week to highlight how
the Compact can help voluntary and community organizations in their relationships with
central and local government.” 51 During Compact Week, the two parties are asked to do one
thing to promote the Compact or to learn more about it.

a. dissemination of best practices

Dissemination of best practices – cases where the government -NGOs relationship has
improved as a result of a well -implemented compact – is an essential component of
44 www.vsi 45 46 See, for example, Daimar Liiv, Guidelines for the Preparation of Compacts , 47 https://www.vsi 48 https://www.vie 49 (in Croatian) 50 https://zaklada.civ 51

Various best practices can serve as
models, as the above example shows:
specific partnerships formed to pursue
a local compact, closer cooperation
between local authorities and NGOs,
development of new forms of funding
for the voluntary sector, introducing
new improved systems for service –
delivery, setting up discussion groups,
initiating, drafting, and adopting local
compacts, etc.

implementation. It is closely related to information dissemination in that it is designed to
make a compact well -known and facilitate its realization. The English Compact serves as a
good example; the website dedicated to the compact includes a section on “sharing good
practices.” 52 It features success stories on Government and NGO practice in popularising the
Compa ct and using its principles, establishing and developing cooperative relations, and
building a good partnership on a national or local level.

Despite some achievements in dissemination of good practices, there is no set mechanism in
England to identify such practices or to “highlight behaviour which is not compliant with the
Compact,” as the Government recently acknowledged. Because a compact is a non -legally
binding agreement, sanctions for non -compliance cannot be imposed. This can result in
diminis hed effectiveness of compact clauses. Compact Plus (see above) is an attempt to
provide sanctions to parties who have declared
their adherence to the mandatory character of

The Croatian National Foundation for Civil
Society Development offers aw ards to mayors
who have promoted good practices in
cooperation with the civil society sector. The
Foundation took over many of the functions of
the Government Office for Cooperation with
NGOs. That office (with the leadership and
initiative of the former Director of the Office
and current Manager of the Foundation, Mrs.
Plavsa -Matic) organized and coordinated the drafting, discussion, and adoption of the
Croatian Government Program for Cooperation with NGOs. The award announcement is
posted on the web site of the Foundation 53 and provides not only a forum for sharing best
examples of implementation practices, but also an incentive for local administrations to seek
NGO partners.

An interesting version of a “success story” took place and was popularised throu gh the web
site of the English Compact. 54 This was the Leicester case, which some consider a legal
precedent on the Compact. Following a funding cut by the city council, voluntary
organizations took the council to court. The court decided that fair consult ations had not
taken place and issued a judgment obliging the Leicester Council “to consult again with local
groups after funding cuts were proposed .” The High Court ruled that funding to the voluntary
bodies that had not been consulted about the cuts shou ld be reinstated. The importance of the
Leicester case is three -fold. First, by taking account of Compact principles, it underlines the
force of the local compact as a document with which both voluntary organizations and local
authorities should comply. S econd, it serves as a reminder that compacts are not a one -party
political paper; rather, they reflect commitments of (central and local) governments that
cannot and should not be neglected even when the political party in office has changed. And
third, it demonstrates the practical necessity of abiding by compact commitments, since if fair
consultation with NGOs had taken place, the local council would have not had to pay the case
costs and face the embarrassment “ of having decisions quashed by a judge.” 55
52 53 54 Supra note 2. 55 https://www.thec


5. Parties’ involvement: joint implementation strategy

All parties to the discussion and adoption of a compact must be involved in preparing a sound
implementation scheme. Even when the compact is unilaterally adopted or is not legally
binding, commitm ents are more likely to be respected and met by a party who has participated
in drafting the agreement. In addition, experience with drafting helps establish a more
consistent and long -lasting practice of meetings, discussions, and joint work, which has
proved to be one of the basic factors for a well -prepared, efficient, and well implemented
cooperation document

David Carrington, a member of the English ACU, emphasizes that a joint strategy increases
the chances for a successful implementation because it takes advantage of the strengths of
both sides. 56 The Estonian implementation plan was developed by experts of government and
the third sector, through a Joint Committee and shared chairmanship of the working groups.
According to participants, this approac h worked well, and highlights the benefits of a close
and active involvement by both sides. It could also be applied in a flexible manner in other
countries to contribute to a successful implementation program.

Similarly, the French State -Associations Ch arter provided for a three year evaluation of its
implementation. The evaluation was assigned to the National Council for Associative Life
(CNVA) which involves NGO representatives and government members in advising the
Government on issues related to the third sector. 57

The parties can adopt a “joint” working plan even if it is a result of the initiative or the efforts
of just one of them. For example, in Croatia, the Program for Cooperation was developed by
the government unit for cooperation with NGOs, although the input of numerous
organizations (about 30,000 NGOs) was invited and considered.

6. Institutional framework for PD implementation

a. liaison bodies 58

The Compacts implementation process requires an adequate institutional framework if it is to
function effectively. Good implementation is often accomplished by means of specific bodies
with defined responsibilities for liaising with the other sector and for carrying out the
compact’s terms. Compacts are in the first instance political rather than a dministrative tools.
They are crafted and adopted first by politicians, and are then implemented by civil servants.
The creation of specific liaison and implementation bodies can be a first step towards a
successful transition from the political to the ad ministrative realm. The “ administrative
viability of institutions for ongoing development” is one of the decisive tests of
implementation success. 59

56 Supra note 3. 57 58 See for more Bullain, N., Toftisova, R., A Comparative Analysis of European Policies and P ractices of NGO –
Government Cooperation, March 2004, p.3, available at 59 Phillips, S., “Striking an Accord,” Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Canadian
Political Science Association, Toronto, May 29, 2002

Such bodies have been established primarily in the public sector, which often carries a heavier
responsibi lity for implementation. Much of this has to do with the logical expectations of the
government party to a compact – it is mostly governments that have committed to give while
the non -profit sector is expected to accept and report properly. In Canada, a go vernment
division responsible for non -profit and voluntary affairs was created at Social Development
Canada, part of the Voluntary Sector Initiative. The Division develops policy related to the
non -profit sector, coordinates joint initiatives, and facilita tes the Accord’s implementation. 60
The process is monitored by a Joint Steering Committee.

The Scottish Compact focuses, in its Implementation section, on governmental commitments
to form and maintain an administrative unit to “promote voluntary sector in terests” as well as
to ensure that all departments within the Executive have such units. The Scottish Executive
has appointed officers in its Voluntary Sector liaison offices with responsibilities for the third
sector and Compact implementation, review, mo nitoring, and evaluation. 61

In Croatia, the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs not only carried out
coordination of the development and adoption of the Program for Cooperation with NGOs but
also launched the initial stages of the Program’s imple mentation. 62 The Estonian government
appointed ministers as members of the Joint Committee that elaborated the EKAK Action

b. “compact champions”

Compacts are implemented by people and it is important to successful implementation that
these peop le have specific responsibility for implementation, and a good understanding of
compact principles. They should also have adequate capacity to carry out their jobs.

There is no such specialty as “compact -drafter” or “compact -implementer.” These skills are
acquired through practice and are usually found in those who have dedicated themselves to
promoting cooperation between the public and private sectors. For example, in Estonia, the
leaders of two of the biggest NGOs in the country – Kristina Mand (NENO ) and Mall Hellam
(Open Society Foundation) — have been among the most active participants in compact –
development mechanisms since the initial phases of compact negotiation. They have become
experts on cooperation issues as a result. More recently, they h ave served as co -chairs of two
of the working groups for the EKAK Implementation Plan.

In England, so -called “compact champions” have been designated to promote the compact or
one of the codes adopted on the basis thereof. These are qualified individuals devoted to the
compact’s ideals. In England, at the central government level, these champions were initially
senior officials within various departments who were assigned to drive the Compact forward.
These appointments had varying results . For example, it was established that certain
champions who “embraced that responsibility…with enthusiasm” indeed fulfilled their
tasks. 63 Others left Compact promotion to other officials with an interest in the process.
Where the assigned minister viewed the Compact as a political priority, other officials
followed his or her lead, and the department took active steps (including allocation of funds)
to implement the agreement. The lesson learned from these experiences is that understanding
60 https://www.vsi 61 62 Supra note 54. 63 HM Treasurer’s Cross -Cutting Review of 2002 , supra note 13.

and acceptance of compact princ iples by senior state officials and careful selection of
responsible “champions” for the implementation process is critical to a successful
implementation effort. 64

The importance of the personnel factor is clearly illustrated by the Croatian example. As
mentioned above, the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs has been a leading
body in the Program for Cooperation process since the outset. The role of its former director –
Mrs. Cvjetana Plavsa -Matic – must be highlighted, as the launch of the progra m was largely a
result of her personal initiative. After Mrs. Plavsa -Matic left the office, the position remained
unoccupied for some time, due to the new Government’s lack of interest in the Program’s
implementation. The result was that the text of the pr ogram has not been revised since its
adoption, despite a requirement in the Program, and most implementation activities have been
“frozen.” The lack of political will in the new government is the primary contributing factor;
however, the negative impact of a key player’s departure is beyond dispute.

The role of competent “compact staff” can be essential both for awareness -raising and for
meeting promises and commitment. In England, interviewed government personnel expressed
frustration ‘ with the failure of central government to comply with Compact requirements,
both on funding and, particularly, on consultation.” 65 In one department the staff even
responded to a central government circular with the comment that it was inconsistent with
Compact principles.

Formation and training of staff can be a part of the compact discussions and drafting. Experts
can provide training to all engaged in the implementation process so that the number of
persons actively contributing to that process expands. The English local M ini -guide advises
to: “[p]rovide training so that people know how to use your Compact.” 66 The Croatian
Foundation for Civil Society Development has listed, as among its primary functions, training
of public servants to increase their capacity to implement j oint projects with the civil sector. 67
The Estonian EKAK provides for the inclusion of civic society related topics in training
programs for officials. The heads of civic organizations are also included in the training
programs. Civic education in Croatia has been advanced by university programs offering a
Master’s degree in Non -profit Management. Increasing capacity of the voluntary sector to
“meet the demands placed on it” 68 and to serve society has been one of the first phase
priorities of the Canadian V oluntary Sector Initiative as well, and the increased third sector
skills, knowledge, and capacity to manage resources have been reported as one of the
Initiative’s achievements. 69

c. the role of experts

The role of legal and other experts in the prepara tion of policy documents for cooperation can,
on the one hand, be considered only technical. They draft the compact, advise on its content,
and participate in working and discussion groups. On the other hand, their contributions can
be much wider and their roles more decisive to a successfully implemented compact, during
and after the process of its drafting and adoption. By providing advice on the proposed
64 Supra note 13. 65 Supra note 13. 66 Supra note 45. 67 /foundation/mission_vision_goals/ 68 https://www.vsi 69 https://www.vsi

content, experts can influence how the compact’s provisions will affect its implementation.
They can also advise on factors that contribute to successful compact implementation, and
participate in the training process in order to ensure that both sectors have competent staff to
carry out implementation activities.

In all countries where a compact process has been launched, the use of experts has been a
logical and inherent part of the process. Lawyers, economists, sociologists, and other
specialists are usually involved from the outset and can be an asset in the follow up stages as

7. Momentum

A timely implementation kick -off is of paramount importance to the success of a compact
implementation campaign. Of equal importance is the building of momentum after adoption
of a compact and through the launch of the implementation campaign. In other words, the
parties should not to wait too long after signing the agreement before beginning
implementation of its commitments. As the English experience shows, lengthy preparations
pose a risk that the best time for a launch will pass, and the issues wil l become “too cold.” 70 A
prolonged gap between the publication of a compact and the start of implementation takes the
issue off the agenda. Interest and enthusiasm diminish, and opportunities to initiate activities
wane. Once momentum is lost, new activiti es designed to keep issues hot may become
necessary. These may include renewed discussions, publication of explanatory documents,
distribution of success stories, or revision and redrafting of the implementation plan where
one exists.

The second Annual Re view of the English Compact remarked that “[c]ompact development at
both national and local level seemed to have lost its momentum.” 71 This was attributed to
insufficient support provided by central government departments “and a decline in support
from inte rmediary organisations such as the Local Government Association…” 72

In order to build momentum, implementation and monitoring should be planned together with
the compact itself. A well implemented compact may in practice depend on political will,
culture, and traditions in a given country. However, good monitoring mechanisms and a
clearly defined allocation of responsibilities at the outset helps to avoid some potential
obstacles, and strengthens the links between the drafting, adopting, and implementation

The French NGO Charter was signed in 2001 during the celebrations of 100 years anniversary
of the Law on Associations. The year was also declared an International Year of Voluntarism
– an ideal time to promote the role of NGOs in political and so cial life in a country where
associative life has strong traditions. 73 The Government undertook to implement some
activities, mostly those related to the promotion of volunteer work and financing mechanisms.
A government decree authorized public bodies to enter into multi -year agreements subsidizing
NGO programs and an evaluation guide was drafted and published. Employees received
additional rights to take time off to perform volunteer work. Laws providing for greater tax
incentives, particularly those enco uraging charitable donations, were enacted. Many of these
70 71 (2002) 72 Idem 73 Supra note 53.

measures began before 2001 and therefore, the Charter did not introduce but built on them.
The change of Government in 2002 sent the Charter to the state “frozen priorities” list and the
momentum t owards more comprehensive implementation was unfortunately lost.

8. Review and revision processes

As mentioned above, chances of successful implementation increase where implementation
provisions have been agreed upon in the compact itself. It is advisa ble that the parties
contemplate in the agreement important steps such as the review and revision of the compact.
Such provisions demonstrate commitment to compact ideals even while acknowledging that
implementation may take place under changed circumstan ces. Revising the compact is in
itself a part of good faith implementation because it expresses the parties’ will to continue the
improvement of their relationship – the main objective of a compact – under changed

In practice, it is not eas y to separate the process of adopting a compact and its revisions from
the process of its implementation: they are inter -related. In the course of implementation, the
level of preciseness, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of the compact articles is tested ,
which may lead to revision — unsuccessful implementation may be attributable to a poorly
written compact. A process of revision and amendment of the text may follow, in which
implementation of the new content will again be attempted. The Scottish Compac t, for
example, will be revised due to lessons learned during implementation; a similar process is
underway in Wales.

Review and revision provisions as a rule are found in all compacts. In Estonia, the provisions
of EKAK regarding such revisions are quit e clear: the Government and representatives of the
civil society sector (the Round Table of Non -profit Associations) are tasked with preparing
annual action plans and creating a mechanism “for on -going monitoring and assessing of the
implementation process of EKAK.” Reporting on implementation at the parliamentary level
takes place every two years, and parliamentary discussions on proposals for amendment of the
EKAK are to be organized every five years. All parties concerned have so far complied with
their allocated responsibilities, including the Joint Committee, the Government, all public
institutions, and the civil sector. 74

Under the English Compact, implementation review is done jointly by the Compact Working
Group, the Government, and the Local Govern ments Association at a regular annual meeting.
The participants review progress in implementing the national Compact and Local compacts
and agree on an action plan to take forward the Compact for the year. A summary of the
meeting’s discussions, together w ith proposals and concerns raised by the voluntary sector,
are submitted to Parliament and published on the Internet. 75

The Scottish Compact also confirms the parties’ commitments to ensure a good monitoring,
review and evaluation procedure and to report to parliament. In 2003, the Compact was
reviewed and revised to ensure that its principles were up -to-date. Mapping studies, case
studies, and best practices are underway as part of a broader evaluation process, which aims to
reach conclusions on the prog ress of implementation and the impact of the document.

74 See , http: // , 75

The Croatian Program for Cooperation also envisages annual meetings between the
Government and the civil society sector to “revise and analyse actions within the Program.”
The report from these discus sions must be made public and submitted to Parliament.
However, due to the change of government and its priorities, and to staff changes in the
government body responsible for the Program’s implementation, these activities have not
taken place. The text of the Program has not been revised and analysed.

“The Paradox of Compact: monitoring the impact of Compacts, 76 a report from the Home
Office in England, emphasized the importance and impact of compact reviews. In 2002, Her
Majesty’s Treasury commissioned and published a cross -cutting review of the role of the
voluntary and community sector in service delivery, which “saw the Compact as underpinning
the expansion of the sector’s role” 77 and confirmed the Government’s commitment to the
Compact . Many intervie wees commented that the cross -cutting review had raised the profile
of the Compact. In addition, several seminars to discuss the review were held or planned by
government offices and these were expected to increase awareness of Compact content and
values and facilitate its implementation. 78

9. Monitoring and reporting mechanisms

Virtually all compacts require monitoring of compliance. The parties generally recognize the
need for ongoing monitoring of how their commitments are being fulfilled and appoint
specific bodies responsible for monitoring and evaluation. Sometimes these are joint
institutions – like the Joint Committee in Estonia or the Joint Steering Committee in Canada –
and in other instances are units formed by a particular sector, such as the specialized unit
assigned to the Executive in Scotland.

Most “compact countries” establish mechanisms for parliamentary reporting (whether they
function in practice or not.) This signifies the importance attached to the process of compact
implementation. In certain cases, the Parliament actually takes part in the discussions – as in
Estonia — and in others, it is simply informed about compact -related developments.

In England, parliamentary discussions during the Compact Annual Meeting allow for
questio ns on Compact implementation, to which Government Ministers must respond. The
action plan proposed by the Working group meeting must be approved by Parliament, thus
setting up a system of parliamentary control. Currently, a more active role for Parliament in
the compact process is under consideration.

All compacts establish specific and, generally, very limited deadlines for reporting: two years
in Estonia; annually in England and in Croatia. The French State -Associations Charter is
reviewed every three years, and the Welsh Compact, every four years. The regularity of the
review and reporting mechanisms appears to be considered essential for effective
parliamentary control. Even more effective is the system of public reporting on compact
implementation de veloped in Canada, because of the wider public impact of the reporting and
the greater possibility for public opinion to influence the implementation process. Joint
public reports and separate background papers on Accord implementation are regularly
publi shed.
76 77 fs05/rdsolr0205.pdf 78 Idem


10. Mediation and dispute -resolution system

The adoption of a compact indicates that there is already an advanced relationship between
public institutions and the civil society sector. Nonetheless, it is inevitable that disputes and
problems w ill arise. How to resolve these disputes, and whether existing means of dispute
resolution or mechanisms specific to the compact should be employed, are issues confronted
in a number of compact countries.

The most obvious avenue of dispute resolution is the judicial system. At least in theory a
party (most likely the civil society sector) may take its counterpart to court and claim a breach
of the latter’s obligations under a compact. The Leicester case mentioned above demonstrated
that this mechanism m ay also be effective in practice. One problem with the courts is that
compacts, as a rule, are not legally binding. Although the precedential effect of the Leicester
case is even greater in the light of the non -binding nature of the Compact; it is still un certain
whether in other countries courts will give similar effect to a compact’s provisions.
Alternative means of problem solving therefore need to be developed, preferably of a more
flexible and less drastic nature – for example, mediation systems.

Eng land actually has such a system – the Compact Mediation Scheme funded by the Home
Office. The scheme is run by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) which has
an extensive experience in resolving disputes on diverse issues, and as of January 2 005 had
worked on over 8000 cases . The Centre has mediated Compact -based disputes between
government or local public bodies and voluntary organizations since March 2003. It operates
the mediation scheme on behalf of the Home Office’s Active Community Unit. 79 According
to Home Office Minister, Lord Filkin, the “new mediation service provides an independent
way of resolving disagreements quickly.” 80 The mediation system in England has great
potential, but has not yet become popular as a dispute -resolution mecha nism for compact
related issues.

Also in England, the Program on Compact Advocacy run by the National Centre of Voluntary
Organizations offers legal assistance and, within the Compacts Problem Resolution program,
provides negotiations, advocacy, and lobby ing or campaigning services on behalf of voluntary
organizations to help them find solutions aga inst a Government department or agency that
fails to comply with a Compact. 81

The Parliamentary Ombudsperson is another institution used to improve and provide
supplementary resources to the implementation process. It is available to assist citizens who
seek redress where a public institution has infringed their rights or neglected its duties,
including cases of non -compliance with a Compact (national or local).

The new program “Compact Plus” in England anticipates a new mechanism for dispute –
resolution. The new Compact, which will be shorter and simpler in content, will require
membership – public sector bodies and voluntary organizations will opt to join. They will
elect a Compact Champion who, among other functions, will adjudicate complaints of breach
79 Before that, CEDR operated, together with the National Council for Voluntary Organizations, a joint
mediation service available to all charities and voluntary organisations. 80 81

of Compact Plus. Sanctions will include a publication of the resolution and potential
withdrawal of Compact Plus membership or imposition of penalties or compen sation .82

III . What are the indicators of successful Compact implementation?

1. The Search for measurable indicators

Now that a number compacts are in their implementation phases, it is appropriate to ask “ how
to recognize success? ” How are the parties – and s ociety in general – to be sure that these
initiatives have not been useless and expensive wastes of time? Are the mere statements of the
government and CSOs that they have begun to work together sufficient?

To answer these questions, compact proponents ha ve worked to develop monitoring and
evaluation tools to measure the progress of compact implementation against the compact’s
goals. This has led to a search for appropriate indicators against which to measure progress .
As compacts are still a relatively new phenomenon, there is little information available
regarding whether progress has actually been achieved. However, a number of countries have
begun to develop indicators that will assist in making this determination, and a summary of
the lessons learne d from this process follows.

Selection of appropriate indicators depends on the goal of a particular compact. For example,
improved services (social or other) to citizens on a national or local scale can serve as an
indicator for a well -implemented compa ct where the document has the goal of public -private
cooperation in the delivery of services. So, to the extent that one could measure the degree to
which particular services improved as a result of compact implementation activities, it would
undoubtedly be considered a clear sign of effective implementation.

The difficulty that arises is how to measure this improvement — how to quantify the impact.
So, for example, one quantifiable indicator might be the increase in the number of NGOs
delivering publ ic services on a national scale or, perhaps, at a local level. Alternatively,
where competition exists, it might be possible to estimate the percent of clients that have
chosen NGOs as their service provider. However, these indicators, while easy to meas ure,
fail to address a key component of improved service delivery – higher quality services. Thus,
the search for appropriate indicators might lead to measures of client satisfaction with services
– more difficult and likely more expensive to quantify. M oreover, compact results may not
appear immediately, and when results are achieved, it will not always be clear whether they
arose from the compact itself, or from other circumstances and events. In either case, results
are often not easy to measure, as i t is difficult to capture the impact in terms of the parties,
relationship, service delivery or other goals.

The search for appropriate indicators is significant to the parties’ credibility and
accountability, both to each other and to the public. The government may say that a compact
has resulted in better public participation in legislation; but if it is to be truly accountable, and
the investment in the compact justified, then the improvement must be quantified. For
example, it may be demonstrated b y showing that today a smaller number of draft laws are
adopted without public participation than before the compact. NGOs may claim that the
government has not fulfilled its commitment to increase funding for the third sector; however,
82 , p.8

this could be shown to be false if adequate statistical data indicated the contrary. In Canada,
the Accord’s implementation has brought 70 changes in the regulatory framework for the
voluntary sector. The commitment to increase knowledge about the sector has resulted in the
preparation of three national surveys on non -profit related issues 83 – figures that help estimate
the concrete impact of the Accord to the public.

The success of implementation can not be measured solely by fulfilment of the compact’s
undertakings. For e xample, if a compact provides for a government agency or other unit that
would secure the third sector’s interests, the establishment of such a body does not necessarily
lead to fulfilment of the compact’s objectives, e.g., an improved profile for the sect or. The
agency must also achieve results by functioning in accordance with its allocated
responsibilities and meeting the objectives of the compact.

Successful implementation is a process, and a young one at that, so development of
appropriate indicators is still underway. In Estonia, the NGO sector led by NENO has
undertaken the challenge to draft a set of indicators and expects it to be ready by the end of
2005. 84 Development of indicators is one of the next steps in Canada’s Accord
implementation as wel l.

There are a number of possibilities for a more tangible measurement of implementation of
compacts, depending on their specific goals:

a. the number of legislative acts adopted using public participation procedures ;
b. the number of public discussions and consultations held on legislative drafts ;
c. the number of amended legislative acts in furtherance of compact or to facilitate
its implementation (tax laws, laws on charity giving, procurement laws, etc .;)85
d. the number of trainings organized for civil serva nts and non -profits on
cooperation issues and compact implementation ;
e. the percentage of civil servants/NGOs/the general public aware of a compact’s
existence and content, and implementation tools (as established by surveys, for
f. the number and di mensions of structural changes that have been made in
governmental institutions and in non -profits in order to facilitate their
relationship ; for example, national and local liaison offices established on the basis
of compact;
g. the number of joint initiat ives undertaken by the two sectors on a national and/or
local scale ;
h. the amount of public funds transferred to not -for -profits ;
i. structural changes in government funding for NGOs (for example, prevalence of
contract -based funding as opposed to grants);
j. development, dissemination, and estimated use of performance evaluation
procedures and rules ;
83 Based on input from Marie Gauthier, D irector of Social Development Canada Non -profit and Voluntary Sector
Affairs Division (presentation at the Conference on Civil Society Excellen ce, Tallinn, Estonia, March 3 -5, 2005) 84 Based on input from Kristina Mand, Director of NENO. 85 However, in these first three possibilities it may be argued that the impact of the introduced legislation should
also be evaluated – there may be new laws which are not properly implemented or do not produce the desired
effect. To the extent that here we only discuss comp act implementation and its measurement, the general impact
on society will not be considered.

k. the number of contracts for public services delivery signed and implemented
between the state or local authorities, and NGOs ;
l. higher quality of public services de livered by NGOs :

Despite some positive examples in the development and use of indicators, the challenge and
the need for more tangible indicators remain. Their preparation and use will require efficient
mechanisms for data collection, statistical resear ch, information dissemination, and feedback

2. Is the number of codes of practice or other documents signed on the basis
of the compact a good indicator of successful implementation?

Some have suggested that, in those situations where a code o f good practice is contemplated
by a compact, the adoption of such a code can be used as a measure of successful
implementation. The adoption of codes, however, is not likely to serve as a good indicator.

Codes of good practice have been envisaged by t he English Compact and the Canadian
Accord. Following up the Accord, two Codes of Good Practice have been signed in Canada:
on Funding and on Public Policy. The English Compact designates five areas within which a
code of good practice must be signed: blac k and minority ethnic groups, community groups,
consultation & policy appraisal, funding and volunteering.

The adoption of a code of good practice is not in itself implementation of a compact. Political
culture and traditions explain the existence of c odes of good practice in the UK and in Canada
and not in the countries with a continental legal system. Compacts aim at a better and more
constructive relationship between the two sectors to the benefit of society. 86 This can be
achieved by implementing a s eries of specific measures that are contained in the codes.
Therefore, codes are means of implementing the compact and not the result of implementation
itself. The web site of the Canadian Voluntary Sector Initiative recognizes as much: “ The
Codes of Good Practice are a resource of tangible, concrete ideas about how to take the spirit
and guidelines of the Accord and put them into action in both government and voluntary
sector organizations.” 87 In England, the codes contain specific rights and responsibiliti es of
both parties which should be reflected in their relationships “to make it work.” 88

3. Is the number of local policy documents signed a good indicator of
successful implementation?

From the national level, compact negotiations often move to the local le vel – and end with
local compacts. This usually – but not exclusively – happens when the national compact
provides for future local agreements to be signed. The adoption of local compacts in some
countries – like England – is considered to be evidence of a successful national compact
implementation process. As the national compact explicitly contemplates local compacts, the
number of local compacts signed could logically be considered an appropriate indicator of
successful implementation. Four years after the Compact was signed in England, there have
been documented efforts towards the development of local compacts in 94% of the 388
86 The mot to of the Canadian Voluntary Sector Initiative is “Partnering for the benefit of Canadians.” See
https://www.vsi 87 https://www.vsi tionship/accord.cfm#codes 88

counties. 89 At the 2004 Annual Compact Meeting of the Compact Working Group,
Government Ministers and Local Governments Associ ation, one of the goals was to set up
Compacts in all remaining local authorities by April 2005. 90

The February 2005 English report, however, concluded that quantity, i.e., the number of local
compacts signed, could no longer be seen as the test of succes sful implementation. Rather,
the focus turned to quality – whether local compacts are well -drafted, well -publicized, and
effectively implemented. 91 Therefore, despite the impressive number of compacts signed in
the counties and regionally, a new (perhaps m ore difficult to measure) indicator for successful
implementation seems to be taking hold – the quality of local policy documents on
cooperation. “Quality” can be evaluated based on the impact of implementation efforts. This
means that the process of measu ring successful implementation is transferred to the local

Again, this is an issue closely related to political traditions and culture. The means of
evaluation of local compacts cannot be transferred without revision from one to another
country – largely because the goals of compacts are not all the same.

Recently, Croatia has registered its first “local charter.” In November 2004, the City Council
of Rijeka adopted an NGO Charter regulating the cooperation between the City and local
NGOs. Th e Charter sets City policy toward NGOs, emphasizing transparency in
financing NGO activities. It provides for the creation of a Coordination Committee, which
will consist of NGO representatives and City government representatives. The Committee
will set s tandards for City departments that finance NGO activities, providing them with
templates, procedures and objective criteria for evaluating NGO grant proposals. The NGO
Charter is the first of its kind to be adopted by a municipal government in Croatia. The
Vukovarska County has already followed the Rijeka example and has used it as a model
for its own NGO Charter. Other local governments are expected to initiate the adoption of
similar documents. 92

While the signing of these agreements may not necessarily be a good indicator of the success
of a national compact, they are nonetheless encouraging, particularly given the delays in the
implementation of the national Program for Cooperation mentioned above. They further
present an opportunity for successful tra nsfer of national negotiations and agreements to the
local level.

Local compacts have been particularly important in Poland where they came into being
independent of and before the national agreement. The first agreements between local
authorities and th e local community sector appeared in the 1990s with the purpose of uniting
the sectors’ efforts towards improved public services. Polish local compacts were, therefore,
more limited in scope than many; however, they went beyond most other compacts by
addre ssing concrete technical issues shaping the cooperation between the parties rather than
principles and values. Terms included the establishment of liaison offices, joint coordination
bodies, funding, etc. The Law on Public Benefit Associations now makes ad option of local
compacts mandatory for local governments. 93 More recently, an agreement similar to a
89 Supra note 3. 90 91 205.pdf 92 93 Law on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism (2003) Article 5, paragraph . 4.

compact has been signed among the public, business, and non -profit sectors; this document is
a statement of shared principles of cooperation for the develo pment of Polish regions and the
role of NGOs in that process. 94 Obviously, the adoption of local compacts in Poland cannot
be considered an indicator of the successful implementation of a national agreement, since
they preceded it. Nonetheless, the Polish situation provides an interesting illustration of how
local context must be considered in choosing indicators of success, as local circumstances
vary so widely.

4. Improved relationship and joint follow -up activities by the parties

The relationship betw een the public and the private sector is not easy to evaluate and measure
because it has numerous facets. More frequent meetings and discussions, common projects, or
the signing of a local compact may appear to be evidence that the NGO/Government
relations hip has reached a higher level. But quantifiable measures may not bear this out. The
parties need to demonstrate in a more rigorous fashion – to the public and to themselves – that
their relations have moved from the stage of good understanding to that o f cooperation and
“working together.”

For example, in England the Compact Working Group conducts annual sector survey. In
2003, the survey found a significantly higher rate of improvement in relations in communities
where local compacts were being develo ped. “A poll taken at Swale’s Local Compact event
six months after publishing their compact gave a 27 per cent net improvement in the council’s
relationship with local groups.” 95 This is compared to a 20% improvement across England in
2004. Therefore, desp ite certain problems and difficulties in compact implementation
discussed above, the parties have achieved a noticeable improvement in their relationship
through working together.
The Charter for Interaction between Volunteer Denmark / Associations Denmar k illustrates
another way to measure improved relations stemming from a compact. As discussed above, a
key component of the Danish government’s development assistance strategy, and a moving
force behind the Charter, was a need to strengthen small Danish N GOs in their provision of
humanitarian assistance. In the Charter, therefore, the Government committed that “funding
made available to NGO projects will to a lesser extent be channelled through a small group of
large … organisations” 96 and will be redistri buted through a broader range of organizations.
This was a public recognition of the need to accept as government partners more
organizations that have a broader popular rooting. The change in the distribution of funding
aims to preserve or raise the qual ity of assistance to developing countries while at the same
time improving flexibility and strengthening the popular support for participating Danish
NGOs by broadening the spectrum of funded organizations.
By 2004, assistance to the large NGOs has been r educed by 5 percent, and will be reduced to
approximately 10 percent in 2006. 97 The established relationship of confidence made it

94 Based on input from Zbigniew Wejzman, Support Office for the Movement of Social Initiatives in Warsaw
(BORIS ) (presentation at the Conference on Civil Society Excellent, Tallinn, Estonia, March 3 -5, 2005). 95 96 Idem. 97 entCooperation/AWorldOfDifference/kap03

possible to ensure that relief activities can be launched at very short notice, an important
factor in implementing programs f or humanitarian assistance .

IV . Conclusion

The history of the cooperation and collaboration between governments and the non -profit
sector did not start yesterday. Institutionalised relationships supported by a legal framework
and based on a policy document governing, however, date from quite recently. Compacts
although not indispensable to the public -voluntary sector relationship in all countries, have
proven, efficient, supportive, and sometimes even crucial to good cooperation in the interest
of society. This is true on one condition: that the compact does not remain a paper but is
instead diligently respected, complied with, and implemented by all concerned.

The lessons learned have come from both positive and negative practice – good and bad
experience s have proven equally useful. These lessons include the following:

 a compact should be developed only where it is favoured by a legal, political, social,
and historical framework that call for it and a by state of government -voluntary sector
relationship that would benefit from it (England, Estonia, Canada);
 both sectors should be involved from the very beginning of the drafting and
negotiating process (Croatia);
 implementation terms and plans can (and should be) drafted in tandem with a compact
 both parties should develop and apply jointly an implementation strategy (which did
not happen in Scotland);
 compacts should be familiar to a wide audience, and the involvement in
implementation of “champions” who know and “feel” them better can be an adv antage
‘England, Canada);
 regular monitoring and reviews not only help establish progress in implementation of
a compact but can also be used to evaluate its content and the need to revise it
(Scotland, Wales);
 monitoring, reports and revisions should beg in early on and should continue
throughout the implementation process (Scotland, Estonia);
 when compacts work, the results can be felt by big and small stakeholders (Denmark);
 local compacts can be useful (England, Poland) but not absolutely necessary (Est onia);
 distributing best practice (England) and granting awards for successful compact
implementation (Croatia) can boost the process making an agreement reality;
 the close involvement of high government officials in the compact implementation
process impr oves the chances for quick results, particularly in the area of legislative
reforms and funding schemes (England);
 data and statistics form an important element of compact -evaluation and
implementation (Estonia).

The primary challenge faced by the two sec tors now is the identification of tangible indicators
to measure implementation. A set of such indicators will enable both parties to draw a clearer
picture of how much the compact they have signed has contributed to a better working
relationship. More ad vanced measurement schemes will help the parties to adapt the compact

to new realities. Further, they will assist in faster, simpler, and more effective implementation
of all terms by both parties to the benefit of society.