Changing Landscapes for the Third Sector

The Changing Landscapes Research Network

The Changing Landscapes network is comprised of the following member projects:

1. Real Times: an in-depth study of third sector organisations over time

Institution: Birmingham University, Third Sector Research Centre
Funder: ESRC,  2009-13
Network Member: Dr. Rob Macmillan

Design: In depth QL study of third sector organisations and activity to better understand operational practices and continuities and changes over time.  The study follows the fortunes, strategies, challenges and performance of 15 organisations across England, exploring how they are faring in a rapidly changing political and economic context.

Dataset for Archiving: Over 200 transcripts of semi structured interviews with participants in 15 case study organisations. Further data is currently being generated.

2. Pathways through Participation: What creates and sustains active citizenship?

Institution: National Council for Voluntary Organisations, with IVR and Involve.
Funder/Dates:  Big Lottery Fund:  2009-11
Network Member: Véronique Jochum.  NCVO

Design: In depth study of participation in civil society, focusing on people’s experiences over the course of their lives, looking at the connections between different participation activities, and exploring the complexities and dynamics of participation in practice.

Dataset for Archiving: Transcriptions of 101 in depth, life story interviews.  

3. The Opportunities and Challenges of the Changing Public Services Landscape for the Third Sector in Scotland: A Longitudinal Study.

Institution: Edinburgh Napier University, Employment Research Unit; University of Edinburgh Business School, Centre for Public Services Research
Funder/Dates: Scottish Government. 2009-13. Possibility of extension to 2014.
Network member: Professor Stephen Osborne, Edinburgh University Business School.

Design: Longitudinal tracking of varied sample of third sector organisations in Scotland, (three waves of interviews/focus groups). Charts the changing fortunes of the sector through policy and political changes and public sector funding cuts; identifies the role and added value of the sector on public service delivery, and effective partnership working, and assesses the impact of Scottish/local government policy and budget changes on the sector.

4. Third Sector Trends Study

Institution: Durham University, St. Chad’s College
Funder/Dates: Northern Rock Foundation 2008-15. Phases 1 and 2 complete, phase 3: 2013 –
Network Members: Professor Tony Chapman and Professor Fred Robinson, Durham.

Design: A mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) longitudinal study of the social dynamics of a substantial sample of third sector organisations in North East England and Cumbria. The study is tasked to provide an evidence base to inform policy making on third sector investment by foundations, the public sector and private sector. The study is tracking third sector organisations over a seven year period to provide detailed evidence on the social dynamics of the sector in a changing social, political and economic environment. The study has also tested out new methods to increase the robustness of the evidence base. The project has produced a suite of publications.

5. Employment Relations in the Voluntary Sector / Personalisation and the Voluntary Sector Workforce

Institution: University of Strathclyde , Business School
Funders/Dates: Carnegie Institute, 2002-11, Community Care Providers, Scotland, 2010-12
Network Member: Professor Ian Cunningham, Strathclyde.

Design: Case histories drawn from two studies using repeat cross sectional and follow up interviews with third sector managers and a range of stakeholders. Charts changes to purchaser – provider relations between non-profit organisations and their funding bodies (predominantly local authorities) and the impact on power relations and employment contracts. The second study charts the impact of personalisation on terms and conditions of employment in Scottish non-profit organisations and discerns employee attitudes and user perceptions of the changes.

6. Recession Watch

Institution: Institute for Voluntary Action Research/Association of Charitable Foundations
Funder/Dates:  IVAR, 2011-13 (completion November 2013).
Network Member: Ben Cairns, IVAR

Design: Action research, based on two iterations of interviews and workshops over two years with 60 grant holders funded across six trusts (Comic Relief; the Cripplegate Foundation; The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund; Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Henry Smith Charity; and The Tudor Trust) to generate and share learning about changes in grant need and grant making in the context of rapidly changing and challenging operating environments – with a view to modifying or changing practices and relationships through shared learning sessions between voluntary organisations and charitable funders.

In addition to organized events throughout the study, including the Knowledge Exchange Workshop, site visits by Dr Rob MacMillan, and the final conference, a key mechanism for maintaining this network will be this web page.  We will produce regular bulletins on the progress of the study for the benefit of the network, provide a discussion board to share knowledge and stimulate debate, and organise dissemination events (including academic seminars and a practitioner conference) to which network members will be invited. If you would be interested in contributing to the Knowledge Bank, and the Blog on this website, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please contact us:  Kahryn Hughes, k.a.hughes@leeds.ac.uk; or Bren Neale b.neale@leeds.ac.uk.

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