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The combination of 'insider' and 'outsider' strategies in VSO–government partnerships: the relationship between Refugee Action and the Home Office in the UK

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In this article we examine the relationship between Refugee Action (a UK non-governmental organisation [NGO] in the refugee and asylum seeker sector) and the Home Office, which funds it to deliver the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme for asylum seekers and irregular migrants in the UK. We explore: (a) the different drivers that exist between the Home Office and Refugee Action, (b) the perceptions of the funder and service deliverer about advocacy, relevance and independence in the context of this state–NGO 'relationship' and (c) the themes of dominance, resistance and freedom to look at the contested space between these two organisations. The primary contribution the article makes is to examine the centrality of 'evidence' (through service delivery) in both Refugee Action's 'insider' influencing activities as a partner working with the Home Office and its 'outsider' strategies in terms of its campaigning and judicial review works versus the Home Office.
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Keywords: ADVOCACY; CO-OPTION; POLICY SPACES; REFUGEE SECTOR

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Southampton, UK;, Email: [email protected] 2: University of Southampton, UK;, Email: [email protected] 3: University of Oxford, and Goldsmiths, University of London, UK;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2016

This article was made available online on March 22, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "The combination of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ strategies in VSO–government partnerships – the relationship between Refugee Action and the Home Office in the UK".

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  • 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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