Our key journals in this field are the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, an internationally unique forum for leading research on the themes of poverty and social justice, Policy & Politics, ranked 13th of 47 in Public Administration and this year celebrating its 50th year, and Evidence & Policy, dedicated to comprehensive and critical assessment of the relationship between researchers and the evidence they produce and the concerns of policy makers and practitioners.
In this article we explore the extent and distribution of collective co-production across the single policy area of primary education in England. While much attention has been paid to the virtue of co-production, often drawing on particular, single, case studies, there is less literature exploring the wider impacts. However, ongoing marketisation, fiscal pressures and increased competition in education have led school leaders to turn to co-production as one mechanism for survival, while recognition of some of the potential benefits has led to a surge in efforts to implement co-productive activities. Focusing on collective co-production efforts, this article explores voluntary income data from more than 300 primary schools and their respective Parent Teacher Associations, supported by 70 questionnaires looking at volunteer contributions, which were completed by headteachers, and ten in-depth interviews with headteachers. Our data reveal three significant findings: the extent of collective co-production in primary education is increasing; this activity is driven by fiscal challenges, resulting in schools feeling coerced into co-production, which has wider implications; and this is resulting in increasing inequalities. We conclude with a discussion about what this means for the wider policy agenda.
Faced with unprecedented challenges, the adult social care sector in England has seen increasing attention given to the potential of volunteers to contribute to service provision. This article reports the findings of a qualitative study that explored the contribution made by volunteers to social care services for older people. The article draws attention to the difficulties associated with recruiting and training volunteers to work in the sector, particularly during a period of reduced public expenditure, which is putting the sector under strain. Given the challenges faced, the article considers whether it is appropriate to involve volunteers in care work.
This research note highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in developing countries. It takes Nepal as a case study and illustrates the effects of the pandemic on NGOs in the country and their contribution to the response to and recovery from the pandemic. It presents the findings of two surveys, one conducted in 2020 and one conducted in 2020–21, among 482 NGOs. The study’s findings suggest that NGOs faced a three-fold pressure in terms of a spike in demand for their services, a reduction of funding and other supporting resources and a challenge in dealing with state-imposed restrictions on mobility.
This paper examines faith’s complex role within faith-based organisations, challenging presumed homogeneity. Through a case study of four projects run by Christian charities in Birmingham, UK, it asks whether religion is performed or managed differently within these organisations. Analysing manager questionnaire responses, three broad themes are considered: religion’s organisational role, prayer, and the presence of religious others and nones. It is hoped that faith-based organisation staff are encouraged to articulate the religious dimension of their projects.
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.
Quality improvement has been proposed as a means of enhancing health and social care on an international scale. Despite being a key stakeholder in health and social care delivery, there is a lack of evidence regarding the adoption of quality improvement in the voluntary sector. For this study, 21 semi-structured interviews and five focus groups were conducted with Scottish voluntary sector staff. A gap analysis was undertaken, and findings were used to co-create educational sessions that may aid capacity building. Our findings suggest that knowledge, adoption and practice of quality improvement are currently variable in the Scottish voluntary sector. Capacity building for improvement is most successful when supported with sector-specific examples and networking opportunities. We conclude that the current policy landscape provides an opportunity for national governments to involve the voluntary sector as an equal partner in the adoption of quality improvement. We make recommendations for researchers and policy makers on how this may be achieved.
This article investigates leadership practice in voluntary sector organisations (VSOs). Drawing on stakeholder theory and evidence from a qualitative study involving UK VSOs, it explores the manifestation of shared leadership practices and proposes a framework for more inclusive practices that enhance trust, accountability and collective responsibility. We find that certain stakeholders are more detached from processes of shared leadership than leaders in formal positions. Furthermore, involvement in leadership activity varies with status, with shared practices diminishing from trustees through to employees and volunteers, as trustees and employees are mainly involved in ‘high-level activities’ of the organisation while volunteers are involved in ‘low-level activities’. Our study poses a challenge to unitary and linear leadership models that present shared leadership as equally distributed in organisations.