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Responses, Impacts and Adaptation

The voluntary sector was central to the COVID-19 response: fulfilling basic needs, highlighting new and existing inequalities and coordinating action where the state had been slow to respond.

This book curates rigorous academic, policy and practice-based research into the response and adaptation of the UK voluntary sector during the pandemic. Contributions explore the ways the sector responded to new challenges and the longer-term consequences for the sector’s workforce, volunteers and beneficiaries.

Written for researchers and practitioners, this book considers what the voluntary sector can learn from the pandemic to maximise its contribution in the event of future crises.

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This paper aims to examine what the policy, practice and academic implications are of England becoming a container of diverse social policies as a result of the implementation of policies of localism. Through a case study of Greater Manchester (GM), it addresses the implications for the local voluntary sector. GM is a key example of an ambitious local public sector assemblage that is attempting complex, large-scale policy implementation in the context of greater devolution.

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‘Neighbourhood’ was a key political and administrative concept for the New Labour administration and was the spatial focus for a proliferation of initiatives in the early period. Yet since 2006, the appeal and use of ‘neighbourhood’ have waned as evidence of the impact of neighbourhood interventions over the last decade has emerged, along with active re-scaling of policy for regeneration and economic development. This article seeks to draw out why ‘neighbourhood’ was important to the New Labour project, to examine why and how this changed over the course of the New Labour administration, and to explore new agendas emerging in policy for sub-national governance.

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The relational processes and practices that create and sustain grassroots associations have received limited attention from researchers. This article addresses this gap, exploring collective leadership of grassroots associations through a ‘leadership-as-practice’ lens (; ). It adopts the concept of ‘bundles’ of leadership practice () to analyse data from a single ethnographic case study. Adopting this conceptual lens, we identify a set of ‘bundles’ of related practices – organising, engaging and accounting – that constitute the enduring reality of the grassroots association’s collective leadership.

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This chapter outlines the context of civil society in Wales during COVID-19. It begins by outlining the situation of civil society at the onset of the pandemic, and noting the challenges faced up to the beginning of the first lockdown, including longer-term challenges such as austerity, volunteering gaps and limitations and more immediate difficulties such as the impact of floods in early 2020 on some organisations.

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This paper sets out to assess the state of the academic, and policy and practice, debate around leadership in the UK voluntary sector context. There has been a lack of sustained academic interest in the notion of leadership in the UK, and equally a lack of dialogue between academia, policy and practice. As a result, it is often far from clear whether there is any agreement about what leadership consists of, and the difference that ‘improved’ leadership might make. The paper considers what is meant by leadership in the voluntary sector, and considers three dominant approaches that have been used to frame leadership in debates within the sector. The three themes we identify in existing literature are person-centred approaches, process approaches, and debates that are concerned with issues of representativeness. In particular, it draws attention to the over-reliance on individual or person-centred accounts of leadership in the sector. The paper posits instead the promise of accounts that draw attention to collective notions of leadership, and the implications of a more widespread adoption of such frames for leadership development practice and research.

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UK employment services are increasingly delivered by public, private and third sector organisations in quasi-markets that can be viewed as fields with actors (providers) competing for resources and position. The commissioning of the Work Programme produced an ‘episode of contention’ as fewer resources, shifting policy priorities and new contractual arrangements restructured relationships within the field. Drawing on empirical research the paper demonstrates how providers with different resources have navigated this period, employing strategies to manage challenger and incumbent roles and maintain their position in the field. The findings contribute to both field theory and our theoretical understanding of employment services.

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