Is the third sector an extension of public administration? Reflections on the Gipuzkoan case
The role of the third sector in the provision of welfare and its relationship with public administration have been gaining importance in political debates because of the difficulties that welfare states have in responding to emerging social needs. The ‘Gipuzkoan model’, based on a public–private collaboration between third sector organisations and the public administration in Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country in Spain, has been drawing attention over the past 40 years. However, there is a debate concerning the role that each actor should play in the implementation of welfare policies. This article analyses, from a qualitative point of view, the role of the third sector in designing and providing public policy tools for the region within the context promoted by the Gipuzkoan model of public–private collaboration. The results obtained illustrate a multifaceted scenario in which different visions converge around the same question: How should this collaboration be developed and what future awaits the third sector?
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