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Competition and contracts in the voluntary sector: exploring the implications for homelessness service providers in Southampton

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This study explores the impacts of contractual government funding and competitive tendering on voluntary organisations (VOs) providing homelessness services in Southampton, UK. Although service quality has arguably improved, the interview data suggest that implementing competitive tendering within the voluntary sector is not unproblematic. Three key issues are discussed: changing demands for expertise, increasing job insecurity, and tensions between competition and cooperation among VOs. The article argues that if VOs are to retain the distinctive qualities for which politicians have lauded them, procurement and monitoring procedures must be carefully attuned to the social relations and practices of the voluntary sector.
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Keywords: COMPETITION; CONTRACTS; HOMELESSNESS; VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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