Performance-oriented practices and outsourcing in voluntary organisations in the UK

Friday, 3 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.1.01 (Tower One)
Bethania Antunes, University of Greenwich - Work and Employment Research Unit (WERU), London, United Kingdom
Amy Humphris, University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
Government reforms have led voluntary organisations to become more involved in the provision of mainstream public services in the UK and consequently they have been subject to an increasingly demanding regime of performance measurement and inspection if they wish to provide services on behalf of the state. The creation of a contract culture has put voluntary sector providers in a position where they have to bid against each other to deliver pre-determined services, resulting in a very competitive operating environment. Moreover, this marketisation of the voluntary sector shifts the risks to providers who get paid only for successfully completed contracts. Using data from the WERS 2004-2011, this paper investigates whether the growing reliance of voluntary organisations on public funding, as well as increased emphasis on performance-based contract competition have influenced the use of performance-oriented practices, as well as outsourcing, in the voluntary sector. Voluntary organisations, drawn into the contract culture and encouraged to use the performance measures established by public funders, may introduce performance-oriented practices in their organisations to evidence purposeful and proper management, leading to a high degree of uniformity between public and voluntary sector organisations.