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  • Author or Editor: Jenny Harlock x
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Since 2008, personal budgets have been introduced for users of adult social care in England. These are aimed at increasing choice and control by giving people the means to purchase the support that best meets their needs. This paper examines the implications of personal budgets for the voluntary and community sector, drawing attention to changes in the sector's roles, responsibilities and relationships. However, variability in implementation means that an understanding of the precise nature and extent of implications of personalisation for the voluntary and community sector is limited among both policy makers and practitioners.

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In this article we argue that governance of the ‘dispersed state’ is being extended into the quasi-private realm of voluntary and community organisations and their activities. Focusing on public service delivery, we distinguish the formal and operational dimensions of governance, and argue that the goal of partnership carves out a newly governable terrain – the third sector – which is to be organised through the operational governance mechanisms of procurement and performance. The result is the attempted normalisation of VCOs as market-responsive, generic service providers, disembedded from their social and political contexts and denuded of ethical or moral content and purpose.

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Third sector organisations (TSOs) face increased pressures from funders and other stakeholders to measure their impact. In this paper we analyse some of the practical choices facing TSOs thinking about whether and how to measure their impact. We also consider the wider implications of the impact measurement agenda for the sector.

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Social care is the largest area of activity for the third sector in public service delivery. Recent years have seen a rapidly shifting policy and service delivery environment characterised by increased competition and contracting, moves towards preventative and community based services, and greater integration between health and social care. Personalisation has featured as an overriding policy narrative to these changes and underpinned government agendas for social care reform. This chapter assesses the impact of personalisation on the third sector in adult social care. It reviews the third sector’s role in developing and promoting the principles of personalisation, critically examines the maturation of personalisation in government policy, reviews its implementation, and assesses the implications and impacts of personalisation for the third sector, paying particular attention to effects on staff working patterns, operational and financial challenges, and the changing nature of the relationship between third sector organisations, local authorities, and service users.

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