Volunteering, Governance and Leadership: Reflections on England

Dr. Jason L. Powell

Abstract


One of the key issues in recent times in England is how voluntary organisation sustain themselves. It is very tempting to view voluntary agencies rather like very fragile “black boxes” adrift on a turbulent sea and at the mercy of powerful social, economic and political pressures.  The direction of their journey and their very survival is determined by critical success factors. Although the spate of studies have undoubtedly advanced the state of knowledge about voluntary organisations, we still know very little about the internal composition and operation of the black boxes and even less about the way in which internal factors interact within the external world. The point of this research article is to assess the factors that impinge upon opening and understanding the ‘black box’ such as governance and quality, leadership, workforce, performance, partnerships and finance and funding. These different critical success factors are part of the inter-locking infrastructure tools of voluntary organisations to perpetuate what works; and what the implications are if some do not work. This requires engagement with research literature on these significant tools of thinking and practice. Arguably the voluntary sectors infrastructure has come under unprecedented scrutiny in the last three to five years, following the British coalition government’s express intention of creating a step change in the support provided to the sector. Lots of searching questions are being asked of infrastructure, not least by the sector itself.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v1i1.800

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