Presentation on theme: "The Voluntary Sector and Horizontal Policy- making devolution in the UK: the case of Northern Ireland Nick Acheson Social and Policy Research Institute,"— Presentation transcript:
The Voluntary Sector and Horizontal Policy- making devolution in the UK: the case of Northern Ireland Nick Acheson Social and Policy Research Institute, University of Ulster
The UK’s assymetrical federalism Differences in political context and administrative style; England is divergent from ‘traditional’ welfare state; Control over social policy seen as an important justification for devolution; Less difference between the 4 ‘nations’ in policy towards the third sector than other policy areas.
Why is devolution a question for voluntary sector studies? Both organizations and the problems they seek to address are embedded in ‘social economy’ of welfare and the political settlements that underpin welfare states; Insofar as these are different, over time there will be divergence in: What organizations exist; What they do; How they relate to state institutions ; Analysis of differences can contribute to theorizing state/sector relations
Where to look for differences There is a need to develop a shared theoretical framework on which to base comparisons; Extent of commitment to ‘horizontal’ policy- making towards the sector as a whole; The nature of that commitment; Extent of impact of ‘modernization’ agenda
Some Northern Ireland context The ‘Troubles’ and their consequences; The democratic deficit ‘Helicopter rule’ Nature of political settlement Lack of political commitment to civil society The divided nature of civil society The dependence of the NI economy on public expenditure
Total central government funding of voluntary and community organizations in the UK per capita per nation 2001/02 Total funding (£) England24.52 Northern Ireland49.76 Scotland34.17 Wales33.56 Total UK34.45
Horizontal policy on voluntary and community organizations in NI There is no ‘Third Sector’ as an object of policy in NI. Long history of government intervention in the sphere of voluntary action 1993 Strategy for Support of the Voluntary Sector and for Community Development First ‘horizontal’ policy in the UK Influenced the conclusions of the Deakin Commission
Voluntary Action, New Labour and the NI Peace Process 1 The 1998 ‘Good Friday Agreement’ civic forum Equality provisions in 1998 Northern Ireland Act Northern Ireland ‘Compact’ endorsed by the newly elected Executive in 2001 2003, Partners for Change: A Government Strategy for the support of Voluntary and Community Organizations - Joint Government Voluntary Sector Forum established
Voluntary Action, New Labour and the NI Peace Process 2 2003, Assembly suspended and a return to Direct Rule 2003 – 2007 application of New Labour policies 2005, Positive Steps: The Government’s Response to Investing Together: Report of the Task Force on Resourcing the Voluntary and Community Sector Narrative of the voluntary sector’s role closely aligned to that in England (minus the debate about the compact), but Modernization of government and cementing the peace conflated A strong narrative commitment to the vital role of the sector in this context accompanied by lacklustre support from individual government departments
Time for the voluntary sector to “move over” 2007 Newly elected Assembly and Executive reinstated; 2008 (Dec) existing policy framework ends, New policy framework due. Little ideological commitment to ‘New Labour’ assumptions among political parties in power; Time for the voluntary sector to “move over”; goodbye compact?
The voluntary and community sector in NI: Key trends Income from European Union sources has dropped from £82m in 1996/97, £58m in 2003/04 to £11m in 2006/07 Sector is contracting: Income down by 7.2% between 2003/04 and 2006/07, but Government funding is up: now the largest single funder, spending £259.1m (45% of total income, up from 35% in 2003/04) Two thirds (67.3%) of organizations were dependent for half or more of their income from government sources and more than one in five (20%) for 75% or more; Half of all income was generated by 5% of organizations;
Organizations by industry: earned income and funding from government % Organization % earned income %Funding from Government Advice and information 8.918.048.5 Arts/cultural/ heritage 8.38.723.3 Community development 27.020.031.5 Disability 7.482.581.6 Education/trai ning 6.562.083.1 Health7.333.513.8 Older people4.77.274.4
A switch to earned income? Trend data is unreliable and contradictory, but; Earned income accounted for 50.8% of all income, up from 23.5% in 2000/01; As a proportion of income from government, earned income increased from 7.7% in 2000/01 to 31.6% in 2003/04 and 64.3% in 2006/07.
Three key changes in funding environment Collapse of funding from European Union with the ending of the second Peace Programme and the redirection of EU funds towards accession states Increasing dependence on government funding A significant switch to earned income from voluntary and grant income (among the organizations responding to questionnaire)
Where is this going? the marriage of convenience is over; Increase in hybridity among insiders – welcome to the shadow state; A marginal life for outsiders (how will they make their voice heard?)