What are the constraints on voluntary organisations seeking to influence policy?
Lee, Yvonne; Asamany, Yaa; Paul, Geoff (2015)

Over the last decade, a variety of environmental constraints that have changed the symbiotic relationship between the government agencies and voluntary sector organisations in the UK. This discussion paper describes how these constraints have affected the operability of the voluntary organisations as they increasing become dependent on both central and local government funding and the consequential issues of apolitical positioning, mission drift, management of reputational risk and the pursuit of financial stability. It also argues that these issues, in addition to the introduction of the Lobbying Act have weaken the resolve of voluntary organisations to ‘bite the hand that feeds them’. The paper concludes that this change in relationship has and continues to be detrimental to the provision of services to the end-user.


Dr Geoff Paul is the Programme Director for the MA Charity Management programme at St Mary’s University Twickenham. He has worked as a Trustee for Victims Support and worked with charity professionals across a range of sectors. He has presented research on the charity sector at both national and international conferences.

Yaa Asamany is a practitioner and consultant in the voluntary and private sector working with a diverse range of charities. She has particular interest in strategic management, governance, volunteer management and training and development. She has worked for Centrepoint and AgeUK at senior level.

Yvonne Lee Is the Head of Campaigns and Community for Harrow Mencap she has worked in the community and Voluntary sector and has been responsible for leading on voice related programmes for the last 11 and has developed and lead a large range of campaigns