This page is part of our successful commissioning toolkit.

The Compact (pdf – 294KB) is a voluntary agreement between the public and third sector in England. It sets out commitments to set the foundation for a productive relationship between government and third sector organisations (TSOs) that will help achieve:

  • a strong, diverse and independent third sector;
  • effective and transparent design and development of policies, programmes and public services;
  • responsive and high-quality programmes and services;
  • clear arrangements for managing changes to programmes and services; and
  • an equal and fair society.

The Compact between the UK Government and TSOs was renewed in December 2010. [Note 1]

The majority of relationships between public bodies and TSOs exist at the local level and, as a result, all local authority areas have a Compact, based on the national Compact but tailored to take account of differences between areas. They provide a framework for local partnership working. Local authorities and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), as key local strategic partners, are signatories to Local Compacts. All signatories to a Local Compact have a responsibility to work in line with its principles and commitments.

Compact Voice is the key representative body for the voluntary sector on Compact matters. It is the co-signatory to the national Compact, which it developed in partnership with the Office for Third Sector in the Cabinet Office in 2010. [Note 2]


Note 1: The Compact and the Compact Accountability Guide are available on the Cabinet Office website –

Note 2:

Table of contents

Successful commissioning toolkit: Table of contents

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Value for money and TSOs

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A ‘Level Playing-Field’