The co-construction of new policy-spaces for state third sector engagement: an exploration of third sector agency in austerity driven welfare states

Nicholas Acheson

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    Abstract

    This paper argues that changes currently underway in how governments seek to manage welfare provision at a time of falling budgets is changing the options that are available to TSOs in navigating these welfare spaces. Drawing on emerging evidence of changes within the policy field of supported housing in Northern Ireland, it argues that a model in which government has sought to deal with the third sector as it finds it, based on an acknowledgement that TSOs, while valuable for public policy delivery, emerge from organic processes within civil society itself, is being replaced by a attempts to design a sector specifically organized to deliver public services according to strictly predetermined policy priorities. We see the formation of a view within government that conceives of partnership as a matter of resource acquisition for the better achievement of government objectives. Talk of partnership is a misnomer. This new environment is closer to a grab for the resources that TSOs can offer whether these are legitimacy or expertise, or gains in efficiency. The paper seeks to explore the complex relationship between institutional histories of state third sector relations, the narratives of change available to TSOs and the webs of belief that underpin their interpretations of their interests. How come, the paper asks, do TSOs end up co-constructing policy regimes that systematically close off possible futures?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
    PublisherIrish Society for Theatre Research
    Pages1-28
    Number of pages28
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2012
    EventInternational Society for Third Sector Rersearch: Democratization, Marketization and the Third Sector - Siena, Italy
    Duration: 11 Jul 2012 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceInternational Society for Third Sector Rersearch: Democratization, Marketization and the Third Sector
    Period11/07/12 → …

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