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The voluntary sector delivering public services: Transfer or transformation?

Will Paxton and Nick Pearce, Julia Unwin and Peter Molyneux

25 August 2005

Two papers reviewing the political and practical impact of expanding the role of the voluntary and community sectors in delivering public services. The two papers in this study review both the political impact and the practical effect of the proposed expansion in the role of the voluntary and community sectors in delivering public services. Will Paxton and Nick Pearce explore two different policy agendas for the voluntary and community sector: these highlight its role in providing public services and its contribution to civil renewal.

The authors examine how these agendas interact and what the future might hold for the sector. Julia Unwin and Peter Molyneux examine how best to manage the transfer from state to voluntary and community sector to deliver effective and sustainable change. Drawing on several case studies, they show how very different organisations have transformed a particular service. However, they suggest that the voluntary sector will need to do more than simply run public services more effectively, and that demonstrable improvements are vital in building public trust.

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