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  • Author or Editor: Claire Bynner x
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Background

Public service practitioners on all levels aim to solve increasingly complex policy problems by making use of different forms of evidence. While there are many complex models of knowledge mobilisation, not enough attention is paid to the types of knowledge that are mobilised for public service reform. has returned to Aristotle’s knowledge types; empirical, technical and practice wisdom, to address this gap.

Aims and objectives

This paper applies the theoretical work of and to the everyday work and practice of frontline public service providers with the aim of identifying core elements of knowledge mobilisation in the practice of public service reform in the context of local governance.

Methods

The data is from a case study of a Scottish local authority conducted as part of the What Works Scotland research programme. The paper derives insights from 16 qualitative interviews with service providers in housing, waste management, policing and greenspace services, and 12 observations, analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The findings suggest that empirical or technical knowledge is not sufficient on its own for sustainable solutions to localised policy problems. The practice wisdom of service providers, balancing ethical concerns with diverse perspectives, is a form of knowledge that is not fully valued or recognised in public service reform.

Discussion and conclusions

Future research should aim to understand how the integration of empirical, technical and practice knowledge might be achieved through more co-productive relationships between researchers, knowledge mobilisers and service providers.

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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 research note highlights the need to engage the voluntary sector in strategic emergency response and resilience planning with the local state. It draws on qualitative fieldwork in two Scottish local authorities, which explored service responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in high-poverty neighbourhoods. The data comprised 25 interviews with front-line workers and senior managers in voluntary sector and public sector organisations. Interviews were conducted during the spring 2020 lockdown and subsequent easing of restrictions. The article employs models of government to analyse the relationship between voluntary organisations and the state. The findings indicate that this iterative crisis requires the relational skills of the voluntary sector to supplement the local state and provide a sustainable response to the needs of vulnerable populations. There is a need for a new strategic and complementary relationship, one that fully engages locally embedded voluntary organisations at all stages of emergency response and resilience planning.

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This chapter explores the interactions between the changing nature of Glasgow and contemporary community activism. Utilising three case studies of community activism in very different neighbourhoods, we investigate the ways in which differences in community history and capacity, as well as relations with the local state, shape forms of activism. Examining local activism in this way helps to understand and explain the boundaries and nature of communities within the city, and provides insights into complex processes of deindustrialisation and urban change, which have transformed Glasgow in recent decades. Whilst there are changes emerging from rapid demographic shifts in some areas and the growth of online activism, the wider picture is one of evolving continuity, as Glasgow’s long history of community activism persists into the 21st century.

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The voluntary sector, often working closely with public agencies, individuals or informal groups of citizens, has been central to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including by meeting basic needs, highlighting new needs and existing inequalities, and coordinating responses. This edited collection brings together many of the key academics, and voices from practice, carrying out new, vital and vibrant research into the impact of the pandemic on the voluntary sector in the UK, the manifold ways it has responded to new challenges and the longer-term consequences for the sector and its workforce, volunteers and beneficiaries. Collectively, we seek to document and highlight the ways the sector has responded and adapted, and what can be learnt to maximise its contribution in future crises. The book consists of 18 short and accessible chapters which together will be of wide interest to researchers, practitioners and policy makers concerned with civil society and public policy. The book offers a comprehensive account of UK-based research on the impacts on and response of the voluntary sector to the COVID-19 pandemic, by leading academics, policy makers and practitioners.

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The voluntary sector, often working closely with public agencies, individuals or informal groups of citizens, has been central to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including by meeting basic needs, highlighting new needs and existing inequalities, and coordinating responses. This edited collection brings together many of the key academics, and voices from practice, carrying out new, vital and vibrant research into the impact of the pandemic on the voluntary sector in the UK, the manifold ways it has responded to new challenges and the longer-term consequences for the sector and its workforce, volunteers and beneficiaries. Collectively, we seek to document and highlight the ways the sector has responded and adapted, and what can be learnt to maximise its contribution in future crises. The book consists of 18 short and accessible chapters which together will be of wide interest to researchers, practitioners and policy makers concerned with civil society and public policy. The book offers a comprehensive account of UK-based research on the impacts on and response of the voluntary sector to the COVID-19 pandemic, by leading academics, policy makers and practitioners.

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The voluntary sector, often working closely with public agencies, individuals or informal groups of citizens, has been central to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including by meeting basic needs, highlighting new needs and existing inequalities, and coordinating responses. This edited collection brings together many of the key academics, and voices from practice, carrying out new, vital and vibrant research into the impact of the pandemic on the voluntary sector in the UK, the manifold ways it has responded to new challenges and the longer-term consequences for the sector and its workforce, volunteers and beneficiaries. Collectively, we seek to document and highlight the ways the sector has responded and adapted, and what can be learnt to maximise its contribution in future crises. The book consists of 18 short and accessible chapters which together will be of wide interest to researchers, practitioners and policy makers concerned with civil society and public policy. The book offers a comprehensive account of UK-based research on the impacts on and response of the voluntary sector to the COVID-19 pandemic, by leading academics, policy makers and practitioners.

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The introduction provides an overview of the book’s background, aims and objectives. We particularly draw attention to the diversity of contributions in terms of career stage, viewpoint (both of academics and practitioners) and geographical location within the devolved nations. We also provide a basic grounding in the UK government’s broad response to the challenge of COVID-19, setting the response of the voluntary sector within this context. Next, we focus more narrowly on how the voluntary sector responded and the ways in which it has been impacted. We continue by thinking more expansively about the experiences of this diverse sector and the new thinking that has been generated, as well as setting out the key implications for the sector as we move into a phase of recovery and ‘normality’ as society learns to live with this new disease. Finally, we describe the structure of the book and briefly the contents of each chapter.

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