Voluntary and community sector and big society
About the Theme
The voluntary and community sector is taking upon increasing importance in UK policy making particularly through the notion of Big Society and the drive towards more diverse forms of service delivery. CLES is interested in understanding the social economy more effectively and particularly unpicking the diversity of the sector which ranges from large national charities to small voluntary groups. CLES is also interested in the role of the social economy in the procurement process; the linkages between big society and equalities; and the role of the social economy in enabling both economic and social outcomes. This research theme is about more effectively understanding the diversity of the social economy and its role in the economic and social functioning of place.
CLES has recently undertaken or is undertaking a number of pieces of research around the social economy including:
This research builds upon our previous work with Groundwork Northwest to explore how public space provides a site of engagement in which social action can be fostered and Big Society nurtured.
Undertaken as part of wider policy research with Voluntary Sector North West this think piece looked to primarily explore the theoretical organisational, economic, social and environmental values of grant-making with the voluntary and community sector. It also explored the policy journey from grants to contracts and the relative merits of contracting the voluntary and community sector to deliver services.
Social Economy will continue to form a key element of our resilience work in the coming year. We are also particularly interested in undertaking future research activities as part of this theme around:
- Defining the diversity of the voluntary and community sector;
- The links between themes such as equalities and big society;
- Embedding the voluntary and community sector into local procurement practices.
If you are interested in contributing towards our research activities on Social Economy please contact Matthew Jackson, Head of Research.