Policy Press


Jun 8, 2016

FREE EXTRACT: John Mohan on Third sector delivering public services

As part of our Volunteers Week celebrations we thought we’d give you a sneak preview of the forthcoming book Third sector delivering public services edited by James Rees and David Mullins by letting you read the foreword by John Mohan, editor of our new series Third Sector Research. 

Incorporating a broad range of voluntary organisations, legal forms and individual actions, the third sector now occupies a central place in political debate and social policy discussions. Even if the fiscal constraints of the present era were not in place, frustrations with the limits of top-down state intervention on one hand, and the social costs of free markets on the other would have forced a critical appraisal of what can be achieved through voluntary initiative.

‘Loose and baggy monster’
Yet the contours of recent changes in the third sector remain relatively under-explored in the UK. Even delimiting the “loose and baggy monster”, as the sector has been characterised, poses considerable conceptual and measurement challenges: these days the monster is a hybrid, if not a Hydra.