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Voluntary action, New Labour and the ‘third sector’1

Voluntary action, New Labour and the ‘third sector’1

(p.158) 8 Voluntary action, New Labour and the ‘third sector’1
The Ages of Voluntarism
Pete Alcock
British Academy

This chapter charts the relationships between the state and the voluntary sector under the 1997–2010 Labour governments. The period inaugurated a new stage in the social welfare role of voluntary action, which has developed since the nineteenth century from leading provision, through complementarity and supplementarity with regards to state welfare programmes in the twentieth century, and into the partnership seen at the start of the twenty-first century. Charting the various initiatives and institutional innovations of these years, the chapter makes the case for a ‘strategic unity’ amongst all the key agents and agencies, who had a collective interest in maintaining and developing the third sector as a space for policy intervention and forward planning. Overall, it demonstrates the significance of adaptation and renewal within the sector, rather than decline or co-option.

Keywords:   voluntary sector, Third Sector, New Labour, Labour governments, welfare programmes

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