Shropshire Council

Shropshire Compact FAQs

Why do I need to know about the Compact?

If you're a public sector commissioner or from a VCSE group or organisation working in Shropshire, it's likely that you'll undertake some form of partnership work, however formal or informal. This relationship may develop through a funding or contract arrangement, a partnership project or meeting, a volunteering opportunity, your involvement in a consultation process or because you wish to influence decision making and meet a community need.

Whatever the form of that relationship, the Compact can help by making you aware of, and helping you to adopt, good practice values and codes. The Compact makes clear commitments about the expectations the VCS and the public sector signatories have in dealing with each other. To make the Compact work, it needs commitment and ownership from both the public sector and VCS organisations in Shropshire. The voluntary and community sector in Shropshire consists of a very wide range of organisations, many of whom have some relationship with the public sector through funding relationships, partnership working, identifying community needs, consultations and volunteering.

How was the Compact developed?

The current Shropshire Compact was published in 2014 by the Compact Development Group, which consisted of representatives from Shropshire Council, Shropshire CCG, the Association of Local Councils, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the voluntary and community sector (VCS). The group led a programme of consultation to ensure that as many people as possible had an opportunity to contribute to the process.

Who are the Shropshire Compact signatories?

The Shropshire Compact is supported by a range of public sector bodies. 

Full signatories:

  • Shropshire VCS Assembly
  • Shropshire Council

Compact memorandums of understanding exist with:

  • Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Supporting partners and members of the Shropshire Change and Compact Group include:

  • West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office
  • Shropshire Association of Local Councils

What is the National Compact?

The National Compact was developed to set out commitments to enhance the way in which the government and VCS work together for the benefit of communities and citizens. It was designed to meet a range of needs, from assisting funding relationships to encouraging better engagement and shared decision making.

Following the principles and values contained in the Compact should help partners achieve equity in relationships, make informed policy decisions, better manage funding to meet the needs of users, tackle inequality and discrimination and achieve value for money. A Compact has been in place since 2008. It arose from the recommendations made in the Deakin Commission's 1996 report on the future of the voluntary sector. The commission concluded that the government should recognise the importance of the voluntary and community sector’s diverse roles, and its own responsibility to promote a thriving VCS.

How does the Shropshire Compact differ from the National Compact?

The National Compact supports the work of government departments. It's also particularly helpful for national VCS organisations, and those VCS organisations that have a relationship with the upper tiers of government. To facilitate working at a local level, nearly every area in England has a local Compact in place between the local authority, other statutory partners and the VCSE. The Shropshire Compact uses good practice from the National Compact, but it specifically describes the way in which Shropshire public sector commissioners and local voluntary and community groups will work together.

How can I consult or engage with the VCSE sector?

The Shropshire Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly can help you carry out consultations with its 250+ members. Visit the VCS Assembly website to find out more.  

What will the Compact achieve?

By working together to meet shared expectations and implement good practice we should:

  • Improve understanding and working relationships
  • Generate more meaningful consultation and engagement processes
  • Learn from mistakes and become better at resolving problems
  • Provide greater transparency and accountability
  • Create an environment that supports a thriving voluntary and community sector in Shropshire

The Compact isn’t legally binding so has it got any teeth?

Compact concerns are taken very seriously, and there is a strong commitment at both national and local levels to resolve any issues. Over recent years the Compact has been mentioned in legal proceedings despite its lack of legal status. Shropshire’s Compact Group will work to resolve local issues, and is able to call on Compact Voice to step in and assist if issues can’t be resolved by local people, and independent support is needed. Experience locally has found that the Compact does help to resolve concerns and, despite its lack of legal status, it works!

Will there be training on the Compact?

The Change and Compact Group is not currently offering training, but if there's a demand the group will work to provide support in the form of presentations and group or individual discussions. Please contact the VCS Assembly to find out more. 

How will Compact concerns and disputes be resolved?

There are times when the best practice guidelines and commitments outlined in the Compact aren't followed. Usually these are genuine mistakes, and those involved work quickly to address any concerns.  A procedure is in place to manage Compact concerns, which are recorded, and dealt with by members of the Change and Compact Group, who do their best to resolve all issues raised as efficiently as possible.

If you have Compact-related issues or concerns please raise these with the VCS Assembly in the first instance, and every effort will be made to address your concerns as quickly as possible.

Contact: Sarah Dodds, Feedback and Insight Team Leader
Telephone: 01743 252740
Email: VCSAssembly@shropshire.gov.uk

Sometimes an informal approach doesn't work effectively, so the Shropshire Change and Compact Group has a Compact disputes process and panel model to use when needed. Details are included in the documents below.

Compact Voice can also offer support and promote a diplomatic approach to challenging bad practice. If a government department or statutory body hasn’t followed Compact principles, asking them whether they are being Compact compliant can make things right.

If you continue to experience difficulties having gone through the local Compact disputes process, please contact Compact Voice.

How will we know if the Compact works?

The Change and Compact Group communicates news about the Compact through the VCS Assembly newsletter. To sign up please email vcsassembly@shropshire.gov.uk.

An annual update is also included in the VCS Assembly Annual Report.

How can I find out more?

Compact Voice is the national body providing expertise on the implementation of the Compact. It offer resources including publications, guidance, news and case studies.

The Shropshire VCS Assembly hosts a number of Compact briefings. Themes include representation, social value, collaboration, volunteering and social action.

To find out more about the Shropshire Compact email vcsassembly@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 01743 258519.