Briefing and working paper series: 32
Partnership and mainstreaming
This paper explores the changing policy environment for voluntary action under the New Labour governments at the turn of the twenty-first century. This was a period of rapid policy change, in which voluntary action enjoyed a higher profile than perhaps any point in the previous century. This rising profile was also accompanied by terminological change, which in effect created a new entity – the third sector.
The paper reviews the institutional and policy changes introduced by the Labour governments between 1997 and 2010, setting these in the context of previous political and policy development of the sector. It concludes by assessing the extent to which this constituted a new and distinctive policy regime, characterised by the notions of partnership and mainstreaming, and speculates on the future prospects for this in changing economic and political circumstances.