Research Focus

The Taking Part? Research Focus

‌Our Starting Points

There is a risk that Third Sector organisations could end up reproducing the very producer-dominated structures that they set out to challenge, in fact, a risk that may be exacerbated as Third Sector organisations play increasingly significant roles as service providers on a larger scale. In the current policy context, characterised as it is by rapid change, previous assumptions need systematic examination more urgently than ever.

Can Third Sector organisations tackle existing inequalities more effectively rather than reproducing them? How can they promote increasing social solidarity rather than increasing competition within as well as between sectors? How can infrastructure organisations best support smaller Third Sector organisations, enabling them to deliver public services in distinctive and effective ways, avoiding reproducing the dysfunctions of large bureaucracies?

And how can the long-term impacts upon individual volunteers and Third Sector organisations and groups be tracked more effectively?

Work has already been commissioned by the ESRC on the identification of the outcomes of active citizenship, (Ref. RES-177-25-0002) where ‘little is known about the link between interventions designed to stimulate participation, the level and depth of civic engagement, and policy outcomes. The study aims to increase the understanding of this civic-outcome link’.

This cluster’s focus on evidencing outcomes, following baseline setting, will evaluate the role of active learning in the active citizenship process and the ways that this can be facilitated through different types of Third Sector organisations.