Independence as a principle of voluntary action Independence

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Independence as a principle of voluntary action

Independence as a principle of voluntary action

Independence means: The ability of organisations have to enjoy a range of freedoms to:

Independence means: The ability of organisations have to enjoy a range of freedoms to: § Agree values based on their own experience and vision § Carry out work that delivers on those values according to their own lights § Challenge others and engage in public debate on the basis of those agreed values § Contribute to a defence of a public realm that values independent value-based social action

Threats to Independence Co-optation: § Seduction through the apparent sharing of power Intrumentalisation: §

Threats to Independence Co-optation: § Seduction through the apparent sharing of power Intrumentalisation: § Harnessing an organisation to objectives other than its own Incorporation: § an organisation’s activities becomes wholly defined and financed as part of a public programme

The NI context: money talks § Between 2006/07 and 2010/11: § Total income increased

The NI context: money talks § Between 2006/07 and 2010/11: § Total income increased by £ 172. 9 m (30% increase) § Total income from government increased by £ 133. 1 m (51% increase); § The increase in contract income accounted for £ 100 m of the £ 133 m (60% increase) §

The main pressure points § The switch to building relationships on the basis of

The main pressure points § The switch to building relationships on the basis of public procurement models from a trust-based partnership model; § The need to drive down costs is making collaboration harder and forcing organizations to become much more competitive; § a much narrower and more instrumental view of the role of voluntary organizations in public policy; § An atmosphere of fear and timidity among organizations coupled with a lack of capacity in the sector as a whole to develop new stories on what voluntary action is for.

Ducking and diving: is it the best we can hope for? § Strategic positioning

Ducking and diving: is it the best we can hope for? § Strategic positioning –charity and social enterprise as brand management? § presenting different faces to different stakeholders; § Increasing the costs to the funder of regulatory oversight – exerting a high price for exit; § Maintaining distinctiveness through accessing alternative sources of funding

It’s happening here too § “the ability to work unfettered to deliver services in

It’s happening here too § “the ability to work unfettered to deliver services in a particular way is threatened by micromanagement by funders who are not professionals in the area in ways that are not appropriate and sufficiently sensitive”. § We’re losing the ability to be more creative; we have to work to narrow contract specifications with little pre-engagement with organizations” § There is a very fine line: we have tried to stick to our mission but there is certainly a bit of drift and we are jumping to the government’s fiddle more and more” § Mission and autonomy are the historic reasons for sector’s existence, but the ability to compete is becoming the mark of success

Small steps lead to unplanned destinations § How ever did we become a service

Small steps lead to unplanned destinations § How ever did we become a service delivery organization? § “we didn’t plan it; it just happened, but if you don’t grasp opportunities you’re lost”

what’s to be done – finding a new story to tell? § Create space

what’s to be done – finding a new story to tell? § Create space for debate; § Building support for value-based collaborations and coalitions; § Resourcing local voluntary action to build ties both outwards and upwards