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89% OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES AREAS NOW COVERED BY A COMPACT

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89% of local areas now committed to better partnership working between local ...
89% of local areas now committed to better partnership working between local

government and the voluntary and community sector through local compacts.

The fifth compact annual meeting in parliament tomorrow will mark the rise

in local compacts for strengthening the relationship between local

government, local public bodies and local voluntary and community

organisations. Ministers and leaders from local government and the compact

working group will join home secretary David Blunkett in congratulating

areas on their achievements and discussing the way forward.

A local compact now covers over 200 local authority areas. With 144 other

areas in the process of developing a local compact, 344 out of 388 local

authority areas in England are now actively driving local compacts forward.

89 new local compacts were agreed in the last year.

This year's action plan will focus on continuing to implement the compact at

all levels by building on success whilst addressing challenges,

demonstrating the positive impact of local compacts for communities and

sharing best practice across government, local government and the voluntary

and community sector.

Michael Bichard, chair of the compact working group, said: 'Local

compacts are about improving the way that local government and the voluntary

and community sector work together. Through those improvements, local

compacts are directly benefiting local communities. The fact that 89% of

areas now either have a local compact published or are working on one shows

that people realise that local compacts matter. I am also very pleased that

the compact annual meeting will be commending those areas where local

compacts have been particularly successful.'

Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, said: 'The

fact that the vast majority of English councils have now set up compacts for

better partnership working with the voluntary and community sector clearly

demonst rates the value they bring to local communities.

'Local compacts set the ground rules for local councils and the voluntary

and community sector to work together more effectively by improving funding

arrangements and helping develop and deliver services to meet local needs.

'As democratically-elected community leaders, councils are keen to drive the

further development and improvement of these compacts to make them work even

better for local services.

'The process would be greatly helped by a greater degree of financial

stability so that councils can enter into longer term arrangements to

support or contract with voluntary organisations.'

Notes

21 commendations for excellence in driving the compact forward will be made

this year, seven to government departments and national organisations, and the

rest for local compact excellence.

Notes

*Launched in 1998, the compact has helped to improve

relations between central government and the voluntary and community sector.

The national compact is an agreement between the voluntary and community

sector and government to improve their relationship for mutual advantage.

local compacts aim to do this locally between the sector, councils and other

local public bodies. Over the past five years, five good practice codes on

volunteering, consultation, black and ethnic minority community

organisations, funding, and community groups have been developed.

*The Compact Mediation Scheme has been now been extended to

cover local compacts. Through mediation, voluntary and community

organisations can resolve disputes with local authorities and other local

public bodies. For further information visit www.cedr.co.uk.

*A Compact DIY Toolkit was launched on 14 April 2004. This is

an interactive website tool to guide individual organisations on the best

way to resolve disputes with government over compact breaches. It shows how

the Compact can help individual organisations - not just the overall sector.

For further information visit www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/compacttoolkit.

*As the national voice for local communities, the LGA represents nearly 500 local authorities in

England and Wales, who in turn work for over 50 million people and spend ?65

billion a year on local services. Our mission is to secure the conditions in

which local government can thrive, promote local government's achievements

and help councils improve. For further information visit www.lga.gov.uk

www.lga.gov.uk.

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