The Department for Work & Pensions yesterday received the Award for National Partnership Working in the Commission for the Compact Annual Awards for its development of the Merlin Standard. The Compact is all about better partnership working and creating better outcomes for individuals and local communities. Established in 1998, it forms an agreement between government and the third sector in England, which sets out shared commitments and guidelines for how both parties should work together, consult and make decisions. The Commission for the Compact is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Compact. The Awards Ceremony was hosted by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, and Commissioner Sir Bert Massie. Alan Cave, Delivery Director, accepted the award on behalf of DWP. In presenting the award, Sir Bert highlighted the collaborative way in which the Merlin Standard had been developed with voluntary and private sector input and the fact that it directly addresses, in a win-win way, voluntary sector concerns that they might otherwise be squeezed out of the market place. He also commented that the proportion of welfare to work contract value going to the third sector was very healthy and a sign of DWP’s commitment to it. DWP was not only the winner of the Award, but the only central Government Department deemed worthy of nomination by the Compact Commission.