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A gathering storm? Re-tendering and the voluntary sector workforce

Cunningham, Ian and Nickson, Dennis (2011) A gathering storm? Re-tendering and the voluntary sector workforce. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 24 (7). pp. 662-672. ISSN 0951-3558

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Purpose – This paper aims to consider the impact of the European Union procurement regulations. It assesses the impact of the re-tendering of services on the terms and conditions of employment and sense of well being, and commitment of employees in the social care sub-sector of the voluntary sector. Design/methodology/approach – The study employs a qualitative study of three organisations utilising semi-structured interviews with managers and employees. Findings – The process of re-tendering is creating intensified competition and the breakdown of co-operation between voluntary sector organisations. Re-tendering also has an impact on employee terms and conditions with related problems arising with regard to their morale and commitment. Research limitations/implications – This remains a relatively small-scale piece of research and there is also scope to consider how these issues are played out in private, as well as voluntary sector organisations. Practical implications – The research highlights the potential tensions between creating greater competition and a search for value for money in the tendering and re-tendering of services on voluntary organisations' raison d'être and the sense of commitment of employees. Originality/value – There is little research examining the human resource aspects of re-tendering and this research provides an important step in surfacing a number of emergent issues for how voluntary organisations manage the people dimension of the re-tendering process.