Third sector organisations are increasingly central to the provision of Public Services in the UK. This role has been developing quickly, both under the previous Labour government and the Coalition government. But it is not always well understood or evidenced, and is sometimes controversial.
It is therefore crucial that we contribute to these debates, with timely academic research that is accessible to policy makers and practitioners...
In 2010 Rob Macmillan carried out an evidence review which identified key issues for third sector involvement in public service delivery. It identified gaps in research, including the effect that the new commissioning landscape is having on the range of services delivered by the sector, and the new forms of partnership working entailed by public service delivery.
Between 2010 and 2013 TSRC is carrying out three core projects that explore key themes for the sector:
Partnerships for Public Service Delivery
The third sector increasingly works in partnership with public sector commissioners, as well as other providers in the public sector, private sector and rest of the third sector. This project is examining how these collaborative relationships actually work, what they offer to service commissioners, and what implications they have for the future of the third sector. More
This research will explore the role of the third sector in commissioned employment services. Already we know that the new Work Programme will involve TSOs who have traditionally worked in a range of sub-sectors, but we will explore in more detail the role of the sector in the Work Programme, how subcontractors are experiencing it to date, and to ask what, if anything, is distinctive about the approaches to delivery that subcontractors adopt. More
TSRC's commissioning research explores the new commissioning landscape, seeking to better understand the third sector’s engagement with the state and private sectors through commissioning, and the impact it is having on TSOs... More
The team also conducts ongoing work into the delivery of services within specific sectors. Current work is taking place on:
Health and Social Care
The Centre is conducting research on a number of aspects of the health and social care agenda, including personalisation, service commissioning, and social enterprise ‘spin-out’ services from the NHS...more
TSRC is examining the role and involvement of Third Sector Organisations in the Criminal justice system...more
TSRC conducts a broad programme of research on third sector housing, which includes housing associations, cooperative and mutual housing, community and ‘self-help’ housing projects and the role of social enterprise...more
Critical understanding of service delivery by the third sector is vital for policy making. The sector now provides a major option for public services, which may be more responsive to the needs of citizens and service users. The centre’s research will help to inform the debate around public service delivery, including the potential role of the third sector in commissioning, and the implications of different approaches to service delivery on the overall impact of the sector.
The Service Delivery team also draws upon the work of other TSRC workstreams, including Theory and Policy, Social Enterprise and the Real Times longitudinal case studies.
- What is the current role of the third sector in service delivery and how is this changing?
- What is the potential for this role to grow and to change in the future?
- What are the implications of these developments in service delivery by the third sector, both for public policy and for the third sector itself?
David Mullins - Stream lead and Housing research lead
James Rees - Leads Partnerships and Employment research
Rosie Meek - leads on Criminal Justice research
Robin Miller - leads Health and social care research