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Voluntary sector outsourcing: A reflection on employment‐related rationales, developments and outcomes

Philip James (Department of Management and Organisational Studies, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a reflection on the other contributions to this special issue of IJPSM on the “employment implications of the outsourcing of public services to voluntary, not‐for‐profit organisations” in the light of more widely available discourses and evidence.

Design/methodological approach

The paper, in line with the purpose, draws on relevant secondary sources, including those forming part of this special issue.

Findings

The provided analysis centrally concludes that, against the backcloth of growing competitive pressures and public expenditure cuts, there is a real threat of a general downward trend in the employment conditions of voluntary sector staff engaged in the delivery of outsourced public services that has the potential to adversely affect service quality.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need for much more extensive research on how market‐based outsourcing is impacting on the work experiences of voluntary sector staff outside the area of social care and the implications that it has for the quality of service provision.

Practical implications

The analysis draws attention to the need to consider further regulatory action to protect the terms and conditions of voluntary sector staff engaged in the delivery of outsourced public services.

Originality/value

The paper serves to highlight that, rather than improving the value for money of social care services, outsourcing has the potential to do the opposite by adversely impacting on the employment conditions of staff and hence the quality of services provided.

Keywords

Citation

James, P. (2011), "Voluntary sector outsourcing: A reflection on employment‐related rationales, developments and outcomes", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 684-693. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513551111172503

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited