Big Society contractors? Big questions for voluntary organisations
Purkis, Andrew J. (2012)

The experience of housing associations (HAs) has not been taken into account in many of the discussions about the transfer of responsibility for delivering public services from statutory bodies to voluntary agencies. This article addresses this omission by reviewing the recent history
of the larger HAs. It addresses six key issues that might yield lessons for other voluntary organisations considering invitations to become mass service contractors in the ‘Big Society’: independence; user satisfaction and empowerment; the ability to tackle needs flexibly across the boundaries
with other agencies; involvement in campaigning; recognition as part of civil society; and their ability to nurture the spirit of volunteering and giving. The article concludes by suggesting the questions that voluntary organisations should ask themselves before embracing the new role that
is being urged on them.

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