Welfare State Reform, compacts and restructuring relations between the state and the voluntary sector: reflections on Northern Ireland experience

Nicholas Acheson

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    Policies that address the role and function of voluntary organisations horizontally across different government fields have been a feature of reforms in several welfare states to varying degrees since the end of the 1990s. This paper argues that the UK compact and its associated implementation measures have constituted a discourse that has enabled the state to radically reconstitute the role of the voluntary sector while holding out an unfulfilled promise of a broader shared understanding of the sector’s role in society. Drawing on an analysis of policy development in Northern Ireland, the paper shows how well-developed horizontal policy structures have served to redefine and narrow the field of engagement between the sector and government.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)175-192
    JournalVoluntary Sector Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


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