Another excellent contribution to our debate about the future of voluntary services comes from Linda Milbourne and Mike Cushman. ‘Complying, transforming or resisting in the new austerity?’ powerfully unpacks “… changes that appear to be modifying and restricting the voluntary sector’s previous role in social welfare, limiting its influence and its ability to act simultaneously within and against the state.” It questions the extent to which compliance is necessary to survival and asks “what spaces exist for independent voluntary sector activity and resistance?
The authors conclude: “Rather than be silenced by threats of exclusion from funding and influence, there may be a need for less compliant advocacy strategies, if an important democratic means of asserting contradictory views is not to be lost. The ‘invited spaces’ for influence ‘are not enough’ and are shrinking. Neither political nor business leaders have an interest in sharing power, resources or privileges; and resistance and constructive changes for poorer communities will need to be pursued by those concerned to counter this growing hegemony.”
Vital bedtime reading and you can download it right here.