Danger of losing independent role

Voluntary organisations and charities are enjoying a much greater
say in policy-making than in the past but risk losing their
“autonomy and critical edge”, a study by Brighton and Hull
universities has revealed.

Joint research director professor Marilyn Taylor said that
voluntary organisations had contributed a great deal to
regeneration and environment work and services for older

But she added: “Our research has suggested that there are growing
tensions between leadership and participation within organisations
as well as between effectiveness in influencing policy and
accountability to their membership.”

The two-year study found that the time and resources of many
organisations were being “increasingly stretched” and that those
set up to act on behalf of particular communities could find it
“difficult to maintain that role when they are called on to deliver
more services”.

Many of the new partnerships had “blurred the boundaries between
government and the voluntary and community sector, creating an
uncertainty about roles,” Taylor said.

“It is important that organisations retain their grassroot links
and independence voice. There are times when they need to be
critical friends,” she added. 

Willing Partners? Voluntary and Community Associations in the
Democratic Process
from e-mail marilyn.taylor@uwe.ac.uk

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