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Public service outsourcing and its employment implications in an era of austerity : the case of British social care

Cunningham, Ian and James, Philip (2014) Public service outsourcing and its employment implications in an era of austerity : the case of British social care. Competition and Change, 18 (1). pp. 1-19. ISSN 1024-5294

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Utilising an institutional, inter-organisational and inter-personal framework, longitudinal qualitative data are used to examine the changing nature of state – voluntary sector relationships in the area of social care outsourcing and its implications for the terms and conditions of those employed by Scottish voluntary organisations. Over the period 2002 to 2008/09, against the background of funders seeking to pass on efficiencies to voluntary organisations, these relationships have become increasingly cost-based and 'arms-length'. This has been accompanied by downward pressures on staff terms and conditions, which are intensifying because of more draconian public expenditure cuts. Consequently, voluntary sector employers are increasingly converging on an employment model based on low pay and more limited access to sickness, pension and other benefits that is informed strongly by narrow financial logics.