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Competition, contracts, and control: do changes to voluntary sector homelessness services in the UK matter?

Competition, contracts, and control: do changes to voluntary sector homelessness services in the UK matter?
Competition, contracts, and control: do changes to voluntary sector homelessness services in the UK matter?
Over the past decade, responsibility for planning and purchasing homelessness services has been devolved from national to local government. However, the requirements of statutory contracts and, increasingly, competitive tendering, have differing implications for the diverse array of voluntary organisations (VOs) that provide homelessness services. For instance smaller VOs may have insufficient capacity to provide the contracts specified, while national VOs may have greater access to tendering expertise. Consequently, local geographies of homelessness services are being reconfigured through Supporting People in ways which sometimes sit rather uncomfortably alongside government discourses regarding the voluntary sector’s civil society role. These tensions recur throughout the voluntary sector literature, but this paper asks: does this really matter?
Drawing on qualitative research from Southampton and Hampshire, the paper addresses this question by exploring the influence of policy and procurement changes on VOs’ efficacy in serving homeless people. But rather than measuring effectiveness per se, it focuses on the changing practices and experiences of VO managers, staff and volunteers, which ‘construct’ to a significant extent the services experienced by clients. More broadly, the paper asserts that such micro-scale policy implications matter, and that their research and effective communication can contribute to improving public policy and welfare.
Buckingham, Heather
d4122e7c-5bf3-415f-9846-5b0fed645f3e
Buckingham, Heather
d4122e7c-5bf3-415f-9846-5b0fed645f3e

Buckingham, Heather (2008) Competition, contracts, and control: do changes to voluntary sector homelessness services in the UK matter? Royal Geographical Society - Institute of Bristish Geographers (RGS-IBG) Annual International Conference. 27 - 29 Aug 2008.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Over the past decade, responsibility for planning and purchasing homelessness services has been devolved from national to local government. However, the requirements of statutory contracts and, increasingly, competitive tendering, have differing implications for the diverse array of voluntary organisations (VOs) that provide homelessness services. For instance smaller VOs may have insufficient capacity to provide the contracts specified, while national VOs may have greater access to tendering expertise. Consequently, local geographies of homelessness services are being reconfigured through Supporting People in ways which sometimes sit rather uncomfortably alongside government discourses regarding the voluntary sector’s civil society role. These tensions recur throughout the voluntary sector literature, but this paper asks: does this really matter?
Drawing on qualitative research from Southampton and Hampshire, the paper addresses this question by exploring the influence of policy and procurement changes on VOs’ efficacy in serving homeless people. But rather than measuring effectiveness per se, it focuses on the changing practices and experiences of VO managers, staff and volunteers, which ‘construct’ to a significant extent the services experienced by clients. More broadly, the paper asserts that such micro-scale policy implications matter, and that their research and effective communication can contribute to improving public policy and welfare.

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More information

Published date: August 2008
Venue - Dates: Royal Geographical Society - Institute of Bristish Geographers (RGS-IBG) Annual International Conference, 2008-08-27 - 2008-08-29

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 63426
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63426
PURE UUID: c26e5a4b-b49f-4a82-bc53-fcc8c2ac8179

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2008
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:24

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