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Groundbreaking analysis on the voluntary sector published today

New research by Dr Jeremy Kendall at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on the UK's voluntary sector is published today [Friday 3 October].

The Voluntary Sector: comparative perspectives in the UK by Jeremy Kendall, published by Routledge and funded by CAF (Charities Aid Foundation), provides a systematic analysis of the UK's voluntary sector.

The author uses concepts and theories from the international literature on the third or nonprofit sector to place the UK voluntary sector in perspective, and considers its scope, scale and structure, change and continuity in the sector's role as a public policy actor; and the impact of voluntary sector activities on society.

The author's comprehensive socio-economic and political analysis explains how:

  • The voluntary sector in the UK has, in recent years, grown faster as an employer than either the public or private sectors - and faster than the equivalent institutions in other countries. Much of this growth has been fuelled by increased financial support from central and local government.
  • The voluntary sector's increasing centrality in policy debate reflects a range of factors, including the interest from politicians in replacing 'statist' with 'partnership' solutions to social problems; policy entrepreneurship by a small number of committed individuals; and latterly, the assertion that fostering the sector's activity can enhance the UK's stock of 'social capital'.
  • The voluntary sector has developed at different paces in different fields of policy, with the relationship between the voluntary sector, public sector and for-profit sector evolving very differently for social housing, care and support for older people, and environmental protection.
  • The extraordinary diversity and complexity of the voluntary sector suggests that the scope for generalisation concerning the sector's contributions is relatively limited.

Dr Jeremy Kendall, based jointly at the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at LSE Health and Social Care and the Centre for Civil Society at LSE, said: 'Expectations are spiralling concerning the roles the voluntary sector can and should play in policy design and delivery in the UK. In this context, the need for systematic research to ensure expectations are realistic and well grounded in evidence is more important than ever before. This book aims to help ensure that the increasing number of commentators who look to the voluntary sector as a solution to social problems do so with firm conceptual and empirical underpinnings.'

The research upon which the book draws has been funded by CAF (Charities Aid Foundation), the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. CAF, the leading supporter of the research, provides specialist financial services to charities and their supporters worldwide.

Cathy Pharoah, director of research at CAF said: 'There is currently a great deal of rhetoric about the voluntary sector's special contribution as a service delivery partner. This unique research brings an objective insight into these difficult issues and makes an invaluable contribution to the debate.'

Ends

To request a review copy or for more information contact Rachael Hum, Routledge, on 020 7842 2362, email: rachael.hum@routledge.co.uk|

Notes for editors:

The Voluntary Sector: comparative perspectives in the UK by Jeremy Kendall with a foreword by Lord Dahrendorf, is published by Routledge on Friday 3 October 2003.
£70 Hardback 0-415-30974-3. £21.99 Paperback 0-415-30975-1

Dr Jeremy Kendall is research fellow at the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), LSE Health and Social Care, and the Centre for Civil Society, LSE. He is currently editor of Voluntas, the international journal of voluntary and nonprofit organisations, and is the author and editor of a range of publications on the third sector in general, and the mixed economy of social care in the UK.

CAF (Charities Aid Foundation)
CAF's mission is to increase the resources available to charities. It does this by providing a unique range of specialist services to charities and their supporters worldwide. Bringing together resources, skills and knowledge from both the charitable and financial sectors, CAF distributes approximately £200 million to good causes and handles over £1.3 billion of funds for many thousands of charities each year.

Reviews
'Absolutely fascinating. Once again Jeremy Kendall identifies and gets to the heart of the issues crucial to the debate on the role of the voluntary sector.'
Professor Ian Bruce, City University and director-general, Royal National Institute for the Blind

'Analyses of the state of the sector too often treat the past as a foreign country. Yet Kendall's sense of both change and continuity elucidate contemporary and future concerns over issues including projectisation, added value and the impact of the new managerialism the frameworks for analysis offered by this volume inject welcome theoretical grounding for our understanding of how the voluntary and state sectors relate to one another.'
Stuart Etherington, chief executive, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

'Kendall casts a searching analytical light on some of the most important debates within the voluntary sector today. It will be required reading for academics and policy makers and for all those with an interest in the future of voluntary action.'
Justin Davis Smith, director, Institute for Volunteering Research

3 October 2003

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