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Entering the lists: what can we learn about the voluntary sector in England from listings produced by local infrastructure bodies?

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Abstract:

In England, several organisations, generically known as 'infrastructure' bodies, provide advice and technical support to the voluntary and community sector. They typically maintain listings of their members and of other contacts both within the voluntary sector and beyond. This article presents an analysis of what can be learned from such listings. In particular, there is a discussion of the characteristics of the organisations (including unregulated third sector organisations) that appear on these listings, of variations between infrastructure bodies in the kind of information they capture and of differences between the kinds of regulated third sector organisations that appear on the listings and the ones that do not. The article discusses the implications of these findings for research that uses the listings as source material to investigate the activities of the infrastructure bodies or the characteristics of the local voluntary and community sector they serve.

Keywords: BELOW-RADAR ORGANISATIONS; THIRD SECTOR INFRASTRUCTURE BODIES; VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204080512X649360

Publication date: July 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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