Northern Ireland and Scotland – the same or different?

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Two more Inquiry reports are released today. ‘Lenin’s Useful Idiots? Voluntary Action and Public Service Reform in Northern Ireland, from Nick Acheson of the University of Ulster, reviews recent developments in relations between voluntary agencies and the devolved administration. It summarises the main similarities and differences between Northern Ireland and the other jurisdictions in … Continue reading

The Failure of Leadership

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2‘Leadership’ groups, at both national and local levels, have failed to protect voluntary services groups and their users and communities from the damaging changes of the last decade. This is the broad conclusion of two Inquiry reports released today.

The position and role of national infrastructure bodies concerning the cuts to and privatisation of public Continue reading

Big Society unravels

Image by Dmitry Bogdanov / wikimedia commonsEver wondered where our money goes? The National  Audit Office has. So has Adur Voluntary Action, who are “mega pissed off” by the grim story painted by Radio 4′s analysis last night of the chaos that is the Big Society Network. “The receipt, and use, of funds by the Big Society Network’s associated projects…is a grim story for … Continue reading

Two more Inquiry reports – with a focus on minorities

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Most of our Inquiry reports focus on the voluntary services ‘industry’ in general. But the history both of government policy and of voluntary sector services has shown that minorities, and especially ethnic minorities, repeatedly fare worse than other sections of the population. So today we are releasing two reports that focus on aspects of this … Continue reading

Silencing dissent – it’s a global thing

gaggingYou know those gagging laws and clauses we’re faced with in UK? Well, don’t take it personally. It’s a global thing. In Australia, new conditions , which come into force on July 1st 2014, specifically state that organisations cannot use Commonwealth money for any activity directed towards law reform or advocacy. The federal government is starting with … Continue reading

What the Labour Party has in store for us

under contractWe thought that Lisa Nandy MP, Labour Shadow Minister for Civil Society, might bring a fresh and enquiring eye to the tired politics we are used to. We were wrong. The message we take from the Labour Party “consultation with the third sector” is that Labour will do just the same as the Tories but hope to do it … Continue reading

Peterborough Prison and Social Impact Bonds – what’s going on?

Kenneth Clarke, then justice secretary, talks to an inmate at Peterborough prison in 2010Recently the Government announced that it was pulling the plug on the Peterborough Prison Social Impact Bond (SIB) pilot, despite an interim evaluation showing “promising results”. This scheme – due to have run for seven years instead of the three now planned - has been dragged round the conference circuit now for several years by ministers, civil … Continue reading

The evidence builds – 3 more Inquiry reports released

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Today we release three more reports from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services.

The first – The Rise and Influence of Social enterprise, Social Investment and Public Service Mutuals from Les Huckfield of Glasgow Caledonian University. This elegant review documents how New Labour and Coalition governments, within a framework  of neo-liberal thinking, have introduced … Continue reading

Outsourcing and Commissioning – next 2 Inquiry reports now out

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Today we launch the next two reports from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services.

The first “Outsourcing and the Voluntary Sector” by Laird Ryan explores the motivations, progress and impact of the Coalition government’s drive to privatise public services and how this has impacted on the voluntary sector in England. In surveying the … Continue reading