Standing apart, working together: a study of the myths and realities of voluntary and community sector independence

Document type
Blackmore, Ann
Date of publication
1 February 2004
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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Report exploring the issues around voluntary and community sector independence. The report examines what is meant by independence, who and what can constrain independent action and the implications of these relationships and constraints. The report considers that due to the multiple relationships, environments and contexts through which voluntary and community sector organisations operate the notion of total independence is a myth and the status, role and independence of these organisations, and the sector, should instead be thought of in terms of interdependence and interaction. The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at preserving the independence of voluntary and community sector organisation whilst acknowledging that this independence is always a relative interdependence. The recommendations are grouped under the following areas: governance structures; charity law and regulation; funding; transparency and accountability; partnership working; recognising and asserting values; shared values and responsibilities; and The Compact agreement. The report concludes that whilst independence is an important issue for the voluntary and community sector, it must be recognised that independence is never absolute and the independence of sector action is constrained in a variety of ways by a variety of bodies.

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