NCIA Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services – Help Required

NCIA Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services – can you help with this?

NCIA is conducting an inquiry into the future of voluntary services. This stems from our concern about the increased ‘de-coupling’ of voluntary agencies that provide services (often with state funding) to individuals and communities, from the rest – activists and community groups. In this new order, voluntary agencies providing services have been re-engineered to become contracted public services providers. At the same time, the profit to be made from public services privatisation has attracted massive private sector involvement and this too impacts on voluntary sector agencies, operationally and strategically. It is time to ask whether voluntary agencies, providing professionalised, ‘managerialised’ services under contract to the state or private companies have a future within a radical tradition of social justice?


In addition to a targeted research exercise to interview key informants, we are in the process of preparing a series of position papers. These will deal with:


·           Social enterprise, social investment, ‘mutuals’ and related initiatives;

·           The role of the state and voluntary services agencies in the provision of public services;

·           The impact of procurement and commissioning policies and practices on voluntary services agencies;

·           The activities and impact of national corporate charities delivering public services, including local services;

·           Relationships between voluntary services agencies and activist and campaign activity, aimed at tackling inequality, social injustice, disenfranchisement from civic life and the environmental crisis;

·           Relationships between professionalised voluntary services agencies and volunteer-based community groups providing support to individuals and communities.


Further information about the Inquiry is to be found on our website:


·           Notes of the launch event held on the 10th May;

·           The full terms of reference for the Inquiry;

·           A background and issues paper for the work on social enterprise and investment;

·           A background and issues paper for the work on the role of the state and voluntary services in public services (available shortly).


These papers can be accessed here – .


In addition to a general call for evidence on this wide range of issues, we would welcome offers of help from academics, researchers and others sympathetic to our aims and perspectives. This could include literature review, identifying and interviewing respondents, small pieces of investigative work, or merely directing us to useful sources of information and intelligence. If any of this grabs you then please get in touch with me, Andy Benson on 0208 800 7509 or email to



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