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Voluntary sector in transition

Voluntary sector in transition: Hard times or new opportunities?

Linda Milbourne
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Voluntary sector in transition
    Book Description:

    Voluntary and community organisations have moved to the centre of political debates, as the new UK government reduces the scope of the state and locates solutions in civil society. This new book explores the extensive growth and reshaping of the voluntary sector following sweeping changes to social and welfare policy over 30 years. It draws on contemporary social and organisational theory and debates to consider whether surviving in the voluntary sector now depends on realigning activities and compromising independent goals and values.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-724-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. About the author
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-v)
  5. Preface
    (pp. vi-viii)
    Linda Milbourne
  6. ONE The voluntary sector: contested or strategic ground?
    (pp. 1-20)

    This is a challenging time to write about the voluntary sector (VS) when discussions about public services and the role of civil society are constantly shifting narratives both in the UK and internationally. Cultures and arrangements surrounding the delivery of welfare services are rapidly changing, and while the public sphere has been pared back, voluntary sector organisations (VSOs), closely associated with ideas of civil society, have, until recently, been expanding. However, this too is changing.

    Questions about the dismantling of public welfare services, the growing power of markets, the role of civil society and the location of the VS within...

  7. TWO The changing face of welfare and roles of voluntary organisations
    (pp. 21-48)

    This chapter traces key changes and continuities in public policy and political ideology, mapping influences on voluntary sector (VS) change in the United Kingdom (UK) over a century. It concentrates on more recent developments and inevitably can only do limited justice to the complexity of factors involved. The chapter also introduces theoretical frameworks through which issues raised here and in later chapters can be better understood.

    Some changes, for example, modernisation and public service reengineering, the rolling back of the state, managerialism, localism and partnership work, have been widely debated (Newman, 2000; Huxham and Vangen, 2004; Ellison and Ellison, 2006)...

  8. THREE Researching the voluntary sector
    (pp. 49-68)

    Earlier chapters considered difficulties in defining the voluntary sector (VS) and examined historical and contemporary changes within a discussion of social policy and social and organisational theory. This chapter sets the scene for subsequent chapters by outlining the different empirical studies that they draw on. Much research involves a complex interweaving of theoretical reflection, practical decisions and ethical considerations; and the work described here is no different. Without rehearsing epistemological and methodological debates at length, this chapter offers a background for the empirical studies, explaining how they have been designed and framed, assumptions underlying the approach to research and some...

  9. FOUR Dilemmas of market ideology: the impact of growing competition in two urban areas
    (pp. 69-96)

    Three broad features identified in Chapter Two characterise the transitions in public services over some 25 years following the post-1948 welfare settlement, and form the focus of discussion for this and successive chapters. The first, on which this chapter concentrates, is an ideological commitment to the superiority of the market as a model for improving efficiency and effectiveness in public services. The second, closely linked to outsourcing, concerns the spread of New Public Management arrangements, involving increasingly centralised policy objectives and associated regimes of accountability in parallel with devolved services and responsibilities. The third feature, examined in Chapter Six, involves...

  10. FIVE Performance and shifting accountabilities: from trust-based to regulated inter-organisational relationships
    (pp. 97-122)

    Competition and outsourcing, as is evident from the last chapter, have been closely associated with an increase in regulation, detailed service specification, targeted outcomes and performance monitoring. As Chapter Two outlined, a gradual re-engineering of dominant organisational arrangements over some 25 years has produced a burgeoning of regulatory frameworks, and command and control forms of governance and management that have gradually had an impact on voluntary sector organisations (VSOs). From roughly 2007 onwards, government policies began to acknowledge an over-emphasis on regulation, professional standards and excessive performance targets and their potential to undermine the development of responsive local services. More...

  11. SIX Collaboration in community-based projects: solutions or new organisational challenges?
    (pp. 123-150)

    In the past decade, collaboration, both within and across sectors, has been a strong component of UK public policy, often integral to funding decisions. Public agencies have increasingly been required to collaborate with non-state providers to plan, monitor and deliver welfare services, with voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) providing an increasing range of services from early years to old age. The voluntary sector (VS) role in socially deprived neighbourhoods has also grown until recently, with policy makers recognising its expertise in working with marginalised groups of people. However, as earlier chapters identified, collaborative ventures may well be driven by competitive funding...

  12. SEVEN Community heroes, survivors or casualties? Exploring risk and resilience in the voluntary sector
    (pp. 151-178)

    This chapter considers the recent climate of recession affecting the English voluntary sector (VS), together with the political ideologies and policies underpinning related changes in state–VS relationships. Recent policies have simultaneously applauded the work of small voluntary and community organisations as components of civil society or Big Society and privileged corporate service providers through increasingly large contracts. The chapter draws on case studies of three voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) to explore questions of risk and resilience among survivors and casualties, considering the extent to which compliance and conformity are requisites for survival in this new organisational order.

    For more...

  13. EIGHT Advocacy and democratic participation in a changing environment: room for challenge?
    (pp. 179-202)

    Successive United Kingdom (UK) governments have increasingly turned to the voluntary and community sector to not only deliver welfare provision, but also to address concerns about civic and civil participation. Consequently, understanding the role of voluntary sector (VS) advocacy in addressing such concerns has assumed greater importance. The coalition government’s Big Society agenda has arguably accelerated this ‘community turn’ in policy, re-emphasising responsibilities associated with active citizenship and local schemes mobilising voluntary action. However, contradictions and challenges are apparent: resource dependency and increased professionalisation among many voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) have affected the kinds of advocacy tactics adopted (Mosley, 2011)...

  14. NINE Values and visions for a future voluntary sector?
    (pp. 203-232)

    This book has been located within particular policy changes, positioned in place and time, but as Back (2004) argues of contemporary social research, we are also writing against time, often attempting to capture and critically reflect on what may be relatively short-lived social phenomena. A book focused on making sense of a rapidly changing voluntary sector (VS) environment therefore produces significant challenges, not least in considering what the future holds. Most of the empirical research included in this book was undertaken during the New Labour administrations but the subsequent analysis and writing have inevitably been coloured by insights drawn from...

  15. References
    (pp. 233-260)
  16. Index
    (pp. 261-264)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)