Taylor, Rebecca, Parry, Jane and Alcock, Pete
From crisis to mixed picture to phoney war: tracing
third sector discourse in the 2008/9 recession. Southampton, GB, Third Sector Research Centre, 44pp.
(Third Sector Research Centre Research Report, 78).
The recession of 2008/09 threatened a crisis for the third sector and its beneficiaries. Amidst mounting concern for the sector’s future, national and horizontal infrastructure and government worked together to minimise potential impacts. This research report, based on media scoping, literature review and key informant interviews, seeks to explore the evolving third sector policy environment and the discourses and relationships that animated it during this period. It outlines the shift from the initial rhetoric of crisis to a ‘mixed picture’ discourse which accommodated a lack of evidence for substantial impacts while providing the basis for continued infrastructure/government support. Exploring the diversity of sector interests highlighted by responses to the OTS’ third sector action plan, Real Help for Communities,suggests the continued importance of vertical and local channels of communication with and support from government for groups within the sector. Finally it traces how sector leaders talked about the recession having lagged effects or being a phoney war. They looked with trepidation to the ‘real crisis’ predicted to hit the sector in 2010/11: a period of financial uncertainty brought about by the convergence of the spending review, the end of several large public sector contracts and the impending general election
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