Public Policies Impact on Third Sector Social Enterprises in UK Regions

Public Policies Impact on Third Sector Social Enterprises in UK Regions

Chi Maher (St Mary's University Twickenham, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9567-2.ch012
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This chapter provides an important perspective on how public policies impact small third sector social enterprises in UK regions. There is limited research that has explored the how government policies are impacting on small regional drug and alcohol social enterprises. The research employed a multiple case study design (Stake, 2006; Yin, 2009).of eight small drug and alcohol third sector social enterprise organisations based in three UK regions (The East Midlands, The South East (including London) and Yorkshire and Humber). Semi-structured interviews were conducted Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of these organisations to ascertain how government policy framework influences their service developments. The research finding contributes to the fairly limited empirical research investigating regional variations of third sector social enterprises. It advocates for changes in government regional funding polices help small third sector social enterprises to develop and sustain appropriate effective services where they are based – at the regional level.
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Contextual Background Of The Third Sector

The third sector originated in Egypt over 5000 years ago (Moulaert & Ailenei, 2005; Murdock, 2006). Third sector organisations were created in order to protect communities. In Anglo-Saxon times third sector organisations were found in the 9th and 11th century. Organisations such as, Association of workers were developed to provide members with food and support when they fell sick (Defourny & Develtere, 1997, Moulaert & Ailenei, 2005; Murdock, 2006).The distinctiveness of the third sector from the public and private sectors was first conceptualised by Polanyi (1968) in his work entitled: ‘Primitive, Archaic and Modern Economies’. According to Polanyi (1968), there are three integrations of economic circulation known as, market exchange, redistribution and reciprocity.

Market exchange in ‘primitive economies’ entailed recognising a product as something that had an exchange value and involved the separation of buyer and seller. In modern economies the private sector undertakes the role of market exchange, as the private sector’s mode of economic integration is that of the market. Redistribution in ‘primitive economies’ involved a third party in the centre between the supplier and the recipient. In modern economies the state assumes this role through the welfare system the mode of circulation involves contributions to the centre through taxation and payments out of it through social security benefits and pensions.

Reciprocity in ‘primitive economies’ entailed people producing goods and services for which they were best suited and then sharing them with those around them and others reciprocated. The objective is to produce and share, not for personal gain or profit. The third sector share some of these features, as it works on the principle of not-for-profit provision of services for the community (Polanyi, 1968). Birkhoelzer (1998) developed Polanyi’s (1968) ideas by suggesting that the third sector is a form of collective self-organisation by citizens who start to produce self-help on local, regional, national and international levels (Kendall & Knapp, 1995; Evans, 2000, Kendall, 2003). Other authors also suggest that the third sector is distinct from the private and public sectors, because third sector organisations are flexible and responsive to individualised care. Third sector organisations tailor care to meet individual changing needs rather than providing a standardised service for all clients (‘one service fits all’ syndrome) (Lee, 1993; Kendall & Knapp, 1995; Marshall, 1997). These organisations encourage citizen participation in the delivery of community services that is otherwise minimised or denied in the public sector provision (Office of the third sector, 2006).

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