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Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI), a leading independent economic research unit focused on the Scottish economy and based within the Department of Economics. The FAI focuses on research exploring economics and its role within sustainable growth policy, fiscal analysis, energy and climate change, labour market trends, inclusive growth and wellbeing.

The open content by FAI made available by Strathprints also includes an archive of over 40 years of papers and commentaries published in the Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, formerly known as the Quarterly Economic Commentary. Founded in 1975, "the Commentary" is the leading publication on the Scottish economy and offers authoritative and independent analysis of the key issues of the day.

Explore Open Access research by FAI or the Department of Economics - or read papers from the Commentary archive [1975-2006] and [2007-2018]. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Working in the voluntary sector in an era of public sector austerity

Cunningham, Ian and James, Phil (2010) Working in the voluntary sector in an era of public sector austerity. In: 2010 ISBE Conference Proceedings. Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, London. ISBN 9781900862219

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Abstract

Increasingly the study of voluntary sector - state relations has adopted the notion of them operating within a ‘market bureaucracy’(Considine, 1996). That is in a context where competition is placed at the centre of relations between purchasers and providers of services, and contracts between them are increasingly arms length, based on price and marked by a lack of promise of future business and the imposition of highly detailed contractual specifications and related monitoring arrangements. It has been noted that the employment consequences of such purchaser/provider relationships cannot be straightforwardly predicted as a result of the mediating role played by institutional factors, the degree of resource dependency they encompass, and the activities and influence of boundary spanners (Marchington et al, 2005). In line with this, while evidence suggests that the first two periods of New Labour rule saw a steady degeneration in pay and conditions and rising work intensification in some voluntary organisations, it also indicates that in others this had not been the case (Cunningham, 2008). This paper utilises data from a longitudinal study of twenty four voluntary organisations to explore how far this picture of variability in the employment consequences of voluntary sector - state relations remains valid, or whether even large mainstream voluntary organisations are now being forced into a ‘race to the bottom’ over terms and conditions of employment.