Friday, March 07, 2008

Surveying UK civil society

As a corporate affiliate of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, today I received my copy of the new UK Civil Society Almanac 2008 (pdf of the executive summary available). It is a pretty comprehensive review of where the third sector is at. Significantly it takes over from the previous NCVO almanacs of the voluntary sector with their narrower coverage.

The Almanac's executive summary notes that civil society organisations account for £109 billion of income in 2005/6. That’s a lot of activity. (I would query the inclusion of “independent schools” as part of civil society but the omission of Further Education Colleges which give so many young and not-so-young people a second chance as well as opportunities to develop skills for citizenship and employability.)

The Almanac addresses many important issues for the third sector which I will no doubt blog about as I read my way through the book.

Looking forward to a period of financial uncertainty the Almanac comments: “It remains to be seen how this will affect civil society, but the difficulties at Northern Rock plc highlight the dangers.”

1 comment:

ryderman said...

Why has the Government's objective of a transformational tripartite relationship of equals between the public sector, the private sector and the so-called third sector not amounted to much? I suggest that there are two reasons. First, the third sector is too fragmented into niche lobbyists for narrow causes for either Government or industry to work with it efficiently and achieve significant benefits from such a partnership. Second, those third sector organisations that are relatively large and claim nationwide coverage have a patchy and inconsistent presence across the country - perhaps inevitably when they are at least partly dependent on voluntary effort. Ask any local authority how well it works with some of the leading third sector organisations in their area, and you will see what I mean.