The Birmingham Compact

What is the Compact?

The Compact sets out guidelines and principles which supports good practice, better and effective working relationships between public authorities and the voluntary and community sectors. 

The National Compact has existed since 1998 and was renewed in December 2010, and reflects policy developments resulting from the Coalition Government. 

An Accountability and Transparency Guide, which outlines steps you can take at national and local level if Compact principles have been breached, accompanies the national Compact. These steps include dispute resolution, internal complaints procedures and ombudsmen functions.

What is the Birmingham Compact?

The Birmingham Compact (2010) is a local version of a national document that sets out how the voluntary and community sector can work better with the public sector.

Developed during a three month consultation period involving the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, the agreement signifies a moral commitment to drive the Birmingham Compact forward.

Retaining key elements from the original Birmingham Compact of 2006, the revised document incorporates guidance from the National Compact document and advice from local Birmingham practitioners.

The main addition to the new document is its appendices which include:

  • Checklists to see if a piece of work is Compact compliant
  • Lists of resources and other sources of information
  • Case studies of the Compact in action from Birmingham and the West Midlands

What does the Birmingham Compact offer?

The Compact offers improved funding processes, clear consultation standards, enforceable rights, and an overall improvement in working relationships.

Don't wait until things go wrong before using it.  Take it to meetings, use it as a partnership tool and draw on it to improve funding relationshiops.

Strengthening your independence

The Compact safeguards the sector's independence, including its right within the law to campaign and challenge Government policy and the right to manage its own affairs without undue interference.

An independent sector is vital for a healthy society but we often need to do more to ensure funding and relationships do not compromise our mission and values.

It's crucial that the Sector's voice is heard through fearless but responsible campaigning. Groups should also challenge attempts by funders to appoint themselves to Trustee boards or impose restrictive funding conditions and monitoring procedures.

Fair funding and good consultation

The Compact means fair and effective funding and commissioning processes, and for the sector to be involved in designing services. Funding should be allocated on a full cost recovery basis, for three or more years, with proportionate monitoring, a fair balance of risk and three months' notice and reasons given when funding ends.

The Compact also sets standards for government to conduct proper consultations which are clearly defined, open and meaningful, and allow at least twelve weeks for responses and giving feedback.

Signing the Birmingham Compact

Cllr Tilsley and Brian Carr sign the Birmingham CompactThe revised Birmingham Compact (2010) was signed by a number of statutory and voluntary sector organisations.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, then Chair of Be Birmingham, said: "The Birmingham Compact 2010 reinforces the commitment of working between organisations to harness the energy of local residents to contribute to the delivery of high quality services and advocate on behalf of all sections of the community.”

Brian Carr, chief executive, BVSC, said: “In the current financial climate Birmingham Compact 2010 is more needed than ever in supporting a better working relationship between funders, policy makers, the voluntary and community sector across the city.”

Signatories to the Birmingham Compact

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Chair Be Birmingham & Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council
Stephen Hughes, Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council
Brian Carr, Chief Executive, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council
Peter Hay, Strategic Director, Adults & Communities Directorate, Birmingham City Council
Jackie Mould, Director Be Birmingham
Tony Howell, Strategic Director, Children, Young People & Families Directorate, Birmingham City Council
Rt. Rev Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, Diocese of Birmingham
David Ball, Strategic Director, Development Directorate, Birmingham City Council
Martin Clark, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, West Midlands Fire Service
Sharon Lea, Strategic Director, Environment & Culture Directorate, Birmingham City Council
Andrew Donald, Chief Executive, BEN Primary Care Trust   
Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director, Housing & Constituencies Directorate, Birmingham City Council
Sharon Rowe, Assistant Chief Constable, West Midlands Police
Jim Andronov, Chief Superintendent, Local Policing Unit
Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive, Birmingham Chamber
Jon Wright, District Manager, Job Centre Plus
Karen Yeomans, Corporate Director, Advantage West Midlands
Keith Sexton, Chairman Environment Partnership
Lynne Wilson, Community Partnership

Who is responsible for overseeing the National Compact?

The Compact is overseen nationally by Compact Voice.

Compact Voice is a co-signatory on the National Compact, and negotiated its content on behalf of the voluntary and community sector, based on the views and opinions of their members.

The Compact is supported across government by the Office for Civil Society, which is led by Nick Hurd MP, the Minister for Civil Society.

The Office for Civil Society is based within the Cabinet Office.

Nick Hurd MP is one of the co-signatories on the National Compact, along with the Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP and Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Every government department is signed up to the Compact.

Compact News

All the latest developments and news about the Compact can be accessed on the News pages of the Compact Voice website.

Local developments will be reported on the Policy News pages of this website.