Compact Between The Government And The Voluntary Sector In Wales

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This Compact between Government and the voluntary and community sector provides a
framework which will help guide our relationship at every level. It recognises that
Government and the sector fulfil complementary roles in the development and delivery of
public policy and services, and that Government has a role in promoting voluntary and
community activity in all areas of our national life.
The work of voluntary and community organisations is central to the Government’s
mission to make this the Giving Age. They enable individuals to contribute to the
development of their communities. By so doing, they promote citizenship, help to re –
establish a sense of community and make a crucial contribution to our shared aim of a
jus t and inclusive society. This Compact will strengthen the relationship between
Government and the voluntary and community sector and is a document of both practical
and symbolic importance.

Tony Blair


The work of 23,000 voluntary and community organisations in Wales and the 1.9 million
people who volunteer each year embraces every aspect of public life and forms a vital
part of every community. Whether it ’s providing a much needed and innovative new
service or campaigning for the interests of disadvantaged groups, voluntary action plays a
central role in our modern pluralistic society and enhances the democratic process.
The Compact between the Governme nt and the voluntary sector in Wales recognises this
enormous contribution to the communities and the environment of Wales. It is an
agreement between partners founded on the shared interest of the voluntary and statutory
sectors in building a just and ope n society where there is equality of opportunity for
individuals to play their full part in the life of their communities.
The Compact is built on principles of integrity, trust and mutual respect. It sets out and
clarifies for the first time the respon sibilities and expectations of both Government and
the voluntary sector in working together. It sets out best practice in the allocation and
management of public resources. It promotes greater participation in the formulation and
implementation of public p olicy, enhancing and broadening the democratic process. It
sets a structure for fair and effective co -operation in taking forward strategic
The Compact paves the way for the future as it is intended to form the basis for the
National Assembl y’s Voluntary Sector Scheme.
It is with great pleasure and hope for the future co -operation between the voluntary sector
and Government in Wales that we commend this document and commit ourselves to
implementing its proposals.

Alun Michael
Marjorie D ykins OBE

Compact between the Government and the Voluntary Sector in Wales


The Government is committed to recognising, valuing and promoting the voluntary
sector as it builds a genuine partnership with the sector. This Compact sets out the
broad principles and shared values which will govern the relationship between the
Govern ment and the voluntary sector in Wales. In this Compact, the term “voluntary
sector” incorporates voluntary and community organisations and volunteering

Implementation, monitoring and review
The Compact is an agreement between the Governme nt and the voluntary sector in
Wales. It is dependent upon the policies and procedures to which the Government
commits itself in this document. The Compact will be recommended to the National
Assembly as a basis for developing the Voluntary Sector Scheme.
The Welsh Office/Voluntary Sector Forum, supported by the Welsh Office Voluntary
Sector Branch, will agree an action plan setting out specific measures for
implementing the Compact, including the targets and timetable against which this is
to be measure d.
A review of the implementation and impact of the Compact and action plan will be
conducted annually and a report submitted to the Minister with responsibility for the
voluntary sector in Wales and the Ministerial Taskforce on the voluntary sector.

Aims of the Compact
The Government’s aims in developing a Compact are set out in “Building the Future
Together – Labour’s policies for partnership between Government and the Voluntary
Sector” (1997). They are:
1. To encourage good practice and co -operati ve methods of decision making and
for reviewing performance, particularly where organisations receive
Government finance as service providers.
2. To encourage voluntary organisations and charities through co -operation and
training as well as through financ ial support.

3. To encourage volunteering initiatives and the idea that voluntary activity is an
essential part of citizenship.
4. To encourage the work of umbrella organisations and co -operation between
such organisations.
5. To recognise specific needs a nd special contributions made by groupings
organisations of disabled people and the voluntary sector in rural areas are just
three examples.
6. To encourage a growth in the contribution of different age groups. Voluntary
activity must be seen as a part of citizenship for young people while the
contribution of older people, who bring to bear a lifetime’s experience, should
not be underestimated. While many organisations depend on the commitment
of their older members and while many young people contribute ze al and
energy, the fact is that the potential is not being realised to the full at either
end of the age range.
7. To ensure that Government is measuring and recognising things that really
matter, both within Government and between Government and non –
Gover nmental organisations.
8. To review the co -ordination of Government relationships with the voluntary
sector across departments.
9. To assess carefully, in consultation with relevant voluntary organisations, the
potential impact of policy changes upon the s ector.

Shared values

The Government and the voluntary sector share a number of common values
about the role of individuals and communities in a modern democracy which
will underpin all aspects of this Compact. Both agree that our aim is the
creation o f a civil society which:
o offers equality of opportunity to all its members regardless of race,
colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, language
preference, religion or family/domestic responsibilities;
o is inclusive and enable people to participate in all its economic, social
and cultural activities;
o empowers people to participate in the development of their
o relies on people’s voluntary action to foster community leadership and
enhance local democracy;
o comp rises public, private and voluntary sectors and its problems are

best addressed through partnership between them.
The Government and the voluntary sector agree that their relationship must be
built on integrity, trust and mutual respect.
The Government and the voluntary sector agree that partnership means
working together towards a common set of goals, based on equality in terms of
ownership, decision -making and recognition of each party’s distinctive
Compact between the Government and the Voluntary Sector in Wales Recognition

The Government recognis es:
 the wide scope and diversity of
voluntary activity across the whole
spectrum of public life; the
contribution voluntary and community
organisations and volunteers make to
the economic, social , environmental
and cultural life of Wales; and the role
they play in formulating and
delivering public policy;
 that voluntary and community
organisations are independent
organisations which determine their
own priorities and manage their own
 that volunteering is the commitment of
time and energy fo r the benefit of
society and the community; the
environment; or individuals outside
one’s immediate family. It is
undertaken freely and by choice,
without concern for financial gain;
The voluntary sector recognises
the impor tant strategic role that
the Government plays in the
development and delivery of
public policy and services.
The voluntary sector recognises
the legal and financial framework
within which the Government
Voluntary and community
organisations and volunteering
interests recognise their
responsibility to be accountable
to the different parties that have
an interest in their work,
 their members;
 the people who use their
 the communities in which

 that voluntary and community
organisations have an obligation to
repre sent the interests of their
 that voluntary and community
organisations operate within the
principles upon which they are
founded, and are accountable to their
members and the individuals and
communities with whom they work.
The Government makes the following
 designating a Minister to have
responsibility for the interests of
volunteers and voluntary and
community organisations;
 developing, in consultation with the
voluntary sector:
 a policy on working in
partnership with voluntary and
community organisations and
measures to support this;
 a policy on volunteering and
measures to promote
 a policy on community
development and measures to
promote it.
they work;
 the genera l public and
funding bodies that
support their work;
 the regulatory bodies that
oversee their activities.
Voluntary and community
organisations and volunteering
interests are committed to having
clearly defined procedures and
structures that enable the m to
fulfil their obligations on

Compact between the Government and the Voluntary Sector in Wales Representation


Represen tation
The Government recognises that voluntary
organisations have an obligation to represent the
interests of their constituents and the people and
communities they work with. The Government
acknowledges organisations’ right to campaign
on behalf of th ese interests within the regulatory
The Government is committed to:
 setting out agreed procedures for
consultation on policy changes and new
policy developments which affect
voluntary and community organisations
and/or volunteering interests which
 opportunities for ongoing
discussion between voluntary and
community organisations and
volunteering interests and
Government Departments to
foster early understanding and
involvement in policy
 consultation arrangements th at
normally allow adequate time for
wider consultation with networks
and service users;
 the role of umbrella bodies and
intermediaries in facilitating
 feedback to respondents on the
replies to and outcomes of the

Many voluntary and
community organisations and
volunteering interests are
involved in representing the
intere sts of particular groups
or causes in society and
campaigning on their behalf.
Voluntary and community
organisations and voluntary
interests are committed to:
 defining and
demonstrating how
they represent their
stated constituency;
 consulting their
con stituency and
accurately representing
their views when
presenting a case to
Government or
responding to
 ensuring that the
information they
present to Government
is accurate and that
research has been
conducted in an
objective a nd unbiased
 having regard for the
regulatory framework

 opport unities for the sector to
continue to be involved at the
implementation and evaluation
stages of the policy.
that governs their
organisation when
campaigning on behalf
of their constituents.
Where organisations claim a
leading role in representation
they should be prepared to
respond in reasonable time to
Government consultations on
relevant subjects,
commensurate with their
available resources.

Compact between the Government and the Voluntary Sector in W ales Partners


The Government recognises that the
voluntary sector and volunteers
operate across a wide range of
disciplines, in a wide range of roles,
and have a particular contribution to
The Government is committed to:
 setting out arrangements for
working in partnership with
voluntary and community
organisations and with
volunteering interests in the
voluntary, statutory and
private sectors in all relevant
policy areas;
 promoting partnerships
between pu blic and voluntary
sectors through its policies

Voluntary and community organisations
and volunteering interests re cognise the
value of working in partnership in
addressing society’s problems and
improving the quality of life of all its
members. Voluntary organisations
recognise that real partnership brings
benefits and responsibilities for all those
Volun tary and community organisations
and volunteering interests are committed
to: –
 Developing a partnership approach
with government and its agencies in
areas of common benefit;
 co -operating with government
departments in setting out joint
working arrangem ents;

and funding strategies;
 promoting the role of the
voluntary sector throughout
the public sector including
Non -Departmental Public
 encouraging public bodies to
designate a senior person to
have r esponsibility for
relations with t h e voluntary
 promoting the spirit and
principles of the Compact to
local authorities and to the
Welsh Local Government
 dialogue with organisations
on the development of their
long -term objectiv es.
 proofing of all significant
policy changes across all
policy areas for their impact
on the voluntary sector,
volunteering and community
 taking a proactive approach to
informing Government of
developments in their work that
may be relevant to the formulation
of policy and practice;
 assisting Government to extend the
reach of its information sources and
partners, particularly amo ngst
under -represented sections of
 developing and sharing innovative
approaches to service delivery
based on the needs and
circumstances of the service users;
 providing high quality, cost
effective services with systems to
assure quality and accountability to
the people who use them.

Compact between the Government and the Voluntary Sector in Wales Resources



The G overnment recognises that its policies
on voluntary organisations, volunteering and
community development should include
measures for financial support of the sector.


The voluntary sector recognises
that receipt of public funds
carries with it responsibilities to
the funding body and to the

The extent of such measures will be
determined by the level of resources available
and fu nds will need to be targeted according
to priorities. The Government also recognises
its role in ensuring that the voluntary sector
has fair and reasonable access to other sources
of public funds arising from Government and
European programmes operating in Wales.
The Government is committed to establishing
and maintaining procedures to ensure accepted
best practice in the administration of its grant
schemes and those of agencies which
administer funds on its behalf, including:
 clarity in the objectives of grant
schemes and their eligibility criteria;
 transparency and objectivity in the
administrative and assessment
 consistency between funding
 arrangements that assist voluntary
organisations to meet their legal and
regulato ry obligations;
 arrangements for agreeing meaningful
objectives and performance indicators,
commensurate with the level of
funding, by which an organisation is to
be monitored and evaluated;
 progress towards three year funding
arrangements for core -grants as a
means of promoting effective long –
term planning;
 effective arrangements for co –
operating between departments over
grant aid for activities that do not
readily fit within one department’s
 targeting resources effectively.
public that benefit from the
services provided.
The voluntary sector is
committed to pursuing
acknowledged codes of practice
on the use and administration of
public funds appropriate to the
scale of funding and operation
 clear and effective
employment policies,
arrangements and
 effective and
proportionate systems for
the management, control,
accountability, propriety
and audit of finances;
 systems for planning and
implementation of work
 systems for monitoring
and evalua tion of
activities against agreed
 systems for quality
assurance and
accountability to users,
including complaints
 policies for ensuring
equality of opportunity in
both employment practice
and service provision;
 public ackno wledgement
of Government support.

The Government is also committed to
promoting good practice to other funders.

Organisations involved in developing the Compact

Wales Volunteering Forum
Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth
National Association of Citizens Advice
Bureaux Wales
Housing Forum Cymru
Nat ional Federation of Women’s
Institutes (Wales)
Social Care Network
Mewn Cymru
Children in Wales
Wales Wildlife and Countryside Link
Age Concern Wales
Centre for Visual Arts
Environment Wales
Lloyds TSB Foundation
Black Voluntary Sector Network
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Voluntary Arts Network
Tenants Participation Advisory Service
The Wales Co -operative Development and
Training Centre
Wales Assembly of Women
Antur Waunfawr
Save the Children Fund
British Trust for Co nservation Volunteers
The Arts Factory
Butetown History and Arts Project
Wales Association of County Voluntary
Wales Council for Voluntary Action
The Development Trusts Association
Chwarae Teg
Wales Association of Volunteer Bu reaux
Arts Council of Wales
Wales Youth Agency
National Audit Office
Welsh Office
Voluntary Sector Branch
Welsh Office
Cathays Park
Wales Council for Voluntary Action
Llys Ifor
Crescent Road
Caerphilly CF83 1XL

Registered charity number 218093