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NewsReview

Do local Compacts matter?

Updated 23/3/01

Evaluating the significance of local compacts Research from Joseph Rowntree Foundation published Feb 01. The following is reproduced from their web page:

Introduction

Two years ago, national government and voluntary sector agencies began to develop codes of practice for the national 'compact'. At the same time, many local authorities, other public sector bodies and voluntary and community organisations began to develop local compacts and codes. A joint research team from the Universities of Hull and Brighton has been tracking local compacts in ten case study areas in England, Scotland and Wales. These interim findings look at the lessons emerging for local compacts and the implications for other forms of partnerships.

The interim findings of a joint research team from the universities of Hull and Brighton, which has been tracking local compacts in ten case study areas in England, Scotland and Wales:

"The policy environment at the local level is increasingly crowded. There is a danger that early initiatives such as compacts can be marginalised by newer ones, such as Local Strategic Partnerships/Social Inclusion Partnerships.

Local compacts can provide a generic framework and guiding principles within which other partnerships can develop. Lessons include:
- Proper time and resources need to be devoted to development;
- The focus needs to be broader than funding issues, if partnerships are to be equal;
- Attention needs to be given to involving a broad range of personnel and agencies;
- Key personnel in both sectors act as champions. If they leave, or if local structures or policies change significantly, compacts are vulnerable;
- Clear aims and procedures for review need to be established.

National bodies - government and intermediary bodies in each sector - have a key role to play in supporting local compact development, including:
- Ensuring a close 'fit' between compacts and other nationally driven local partnership developments;
- Encouraging local public sector agencies other than local authorities to become fully involved;
- Using Best Value frameworks to promote local compact development;
- Providing training and support for councillors;
- Providing guidance for all local authority departments (not just those most closely involved in developing compacts);
- Establishing mechanisms for the transfer of best practice;
- Paying particular attention to supporting the black and minority ethnic voluntary sector within compact development. "