Article

Structurally Excluded? Structural Embeddedness and Civil Society Competition for Funding

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Abstract

The debate about the funding and support of civil society by government bodies has become a central and politicized issue in many countries. European states in particular have sought to make use of civil society to deliver key supra-national policy aims of addressing economic and social disadvantage, as well as delivering national and territorial outcomes. To this end European structural funding has been used at a regional level to develop and engage organizations and their beneficiaries. One of the key considerations in such activity is the ability of civil society organizations to engage with the funding available, and whether structural barriers exist that potentially prevent organizations with relevant expertise participating. In order to illustrate this, this article investigates how civil society organizations fared in gaining funds from the 2007–2013 European Social Fund (ESF) programmes in Wales, what, if any, barriers were found to exist in acquiring those funds and what this means for the sector in Wales in the context of future funding. The wider significance of this work is in revealing how the structural embeddedness of organizations plays a significant role in determining organizational success in gaining ESF funds, and how this contributes to a cleavage in the sector as a whole. Thus, this article concludes that it is organizations that are structurally embedded that will be most successful in gaining ESF funds, due to their organizational characteristics and their institutionalized relationships with, and receipts from, the state. Other organizations, conversely, are shown to become structurally excluded.

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They need to interact both vertically within a mandated set of institutional relations and cultivate horizontal relationships both within their own sector and the public sector to be financially sustainable (Entwistle, 2006). Benson (1975) suggests that ways in which organisations manage relationships both this internal network and with their external linkages will impact on their ability to achieve legitimacy and obtain resources. In Wales these partnerships are proving difficult to implement. Negotiating the fierce competition for public service contracts and strong institutional arrangements for local partnerships make it difficult for rural organisations to achieve the legitimacy and power needed to move beyond the established funding resources (Benson 1975). The paper suggests that in the competition for funding, rural organisations in Wales encounter a number of difficulties. Being embedded in their communities means they are constrained by geography. They are unable to compete with larger UK-wide agencies who have more freedom about where they operate. Also their networks become blocked as they are unable to overcome particularistic local power politics. They lack the people, the organisational capacity and infrastructure to identify, mobilise and secure funding. We suggest that national policies often ignore these rural realities and therefore urge strategies for funding sustainability that are very difficult to achieve for the majority of organisations. References Age Concern (2009) Products and Services website http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/all_products.asp Bahle, T. (2003). The changing institutionalization of social services in England and Wales, France and Germany: Is the welfare state on the retreat? Journal of European Social Policy, 13 (1), 5-20. Benson, J.K (1975), "The interorganizational network as a political economy", Administrative Science Quarterly, 20, 229-49. Chaney, P. (2002). Social capital and the participation of marginalized groups in government: A study of the statutory partnership between the third sector and devolved government in Wales. Public Policy and Administration, 17 (4), 20-38. Entwistle, T (2006). The distinctiveness of the Welsh partnership agenda. International Journal of Public Service Management, 19 (3), 228-237. Keating, M, & Stevenson, L (2006). Rural policy in Scotland after devolution. Regional Studies, 40.3, 397-407. Murdoch, J. (2000). Networks – a new paradigm of rural development. Journal of Rural Studies, 16, 407-419. National Assembly for Wales, Communities and Culture Committee (May 2008). The funding of voluntary sector organisations in Wales. Cardiff, Wales: Author. National Council for Voluntary Organisations (2009). The UK civil society almanac 2009: Executive Summary. London, England: Author. National Council for Voluntary Organisations (2009), Sustainable Funding Project Case studies http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/sfp/?id=2102 Office for Public Sector Information (1998) Government of Wales Act, London OPSI http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukpga_19980038_en_1 Shore, B. (2001) The Cathedral Within, Random House, New York
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It was anticipated that devolution and the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales would promote partnership, inclusiveness and openness in governance in Wales. Civil society engagement was viewed as crucial to making this new democracy work. Consequently, civil society's engagement with the Assembly is one of the benchmarks against which to assess political and economic developments post-devolution. This article takes advantage of the coincidence between devolution and the development of the European Structural Fund Programmes for 2000-2006 in Wales to examine the engagement of civil society organizations in these programmes, focusing particularly on the West Wales and the Valleys Objective 1 Programme. The article concludes that the first term of devolution promoted a more inclusive and open policy-making culture. However, disparities in the capacities of civil society organizations to engage in the programmes, more executive forms of government and a greater emphasis on the effectiveness of the Structural Funds during the second term of devolution highlighted the challenges facing the Assembly in order to deepen democracy in post-devolution Wales. In addition to contributing to the literature on devolution and policy making, the findings inform broader debates on contemporary governance; social networks; notions of participatory democracy; models of public policy making; and the state in post-industrial development.
Article
Serving as an introduction to the UK's voluntary sector, this book builds on the foundations lain in an earlier book by Kendall and Dahrendorf. Using a comparative approach to place the UK voluntary sector in perspective, this book considers the scope, scale, structure, and impact of the voluntary sector's activities on society. Based on both qualitative and quantitative evidence, this informative book includes statistical mapping of the sector, as well as semi-structured interviews conducted with voluntary sector policy actors. A much-needed addition to the current literature, The Voluntary Sector provides a theoretical framework and in-depth analysis of an increasingly important area.
Article
Governments increasingly see partnerships as their delivery instrument of choice. There is disagreement, however, about how the proliferation of these institutions should be understood. One interpretation sees ungovernability, instability and unaccountability in the fragmented institutions of local governance. Another maintains that the new approaches to co-ordination have allowed for the reassertion of hierarchical control. On the basis of a theoretical exposition of the logic of co-ordination and a study of 10 partnerships in Wales, this paper presents evidence which suggests that partnerships suffer principally from the dysfunctional effects of hierarchical and market co-ordination.
Article
Rodriguez-Pose A. and Fratesi U. (2004) Between development and social policies: the impact of European Structural Funds in Objective 1 regions, Reg. Studies 38, 97-113. European regional support has grown in parallel with European integration. The funds targeted at achieving greater economic and social cohesion and reducing disparities within the European Union (EU) have more than doubled in relative terms since the end of the 1980s, making development policies the second most important policy area in the EU. The majority of the development funds have been earmarked for Objective 1 regions, i.e. regions where GDP per capita is below the 75% threshold of the EU average. However, the European development policies have come under increasing criticism based on two facts: the lack of upward mobility of assisted regions; and the absence of regional convergence. This paper assesses, using cross-sectional and panel data analyses, the failure so far of European development policies to fulfil their objective of delivering greater economic and social cohesion by examining how European Structural Fund support is allocated among different development axes in Objective 1 regions. We find that, despite the concentration of development funds on infrastructure and, to a lesser extent, on business support, the returns to commitments on these axes are not significant. Support to agriculture has short-term positive effects on growth, but these wane quickly, and only investment in education and human capital - which only represents about one-eight of the total commitments - has medium-term positive and significant returns.
Article
Multi-sector partnership working has become an increasingly important mode of governance across many Western European countries. It is seen as a means of overcoming social divisions, promoting more inclusive policymaking, and transforming governance systems. Partnership is perceived to be a more flexible form of governance, capable of resolving some of the complex policy and legitimation problems associated with more traditional statist approaches, and thus preferable for the delivery of public policy and services. However, as previous research has shown, there is an emerging ‘partnership crisis’ with partnerships often failing to be sufficiently inclusive of representative interests, leading to a lack of legitimacy, equity and effectiveness. This article explores the unique approach to addressing the lack of balanced and effective representation in partnerships developed by the Welsh Assembly Government. The Assembly has adopted a formal approach to structuring key partnerships on the basis of strict equality of representation across the public, private and voluntary sectors — the so-called ‘three-thirds principle’. This approach is conceptualized as a form of metagovernance whereby formal influence over partnership structures is being used in an effort to create institutional spaces for inclusion. The analysis indicates that while such network design does achieve improvement in partnership legitimacy, on its own it does not increase partnership effectiveness which remains constrained by the prevailing emphasis upon narrow, managerialist implementation agendas.
Article
Cooperation in organisms, whether bacteria or primates, has been a difficulty for evolutionary theory since Darwin. On the assumption that interactions between pairs of individuals occur on a probabilistic basis, a model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game. Deductions from the model, and the results of a computer tournament show how cooperation based on reciprocity can get started in an asocial world, can thrive while interacting with a wide range of other strategies, and can resist invasion once fully established. Potential applications include specific aspects of territoriality, mating, and disease.
The Added Value of the Structural Funds: A Regional Perspective
  • J Bachtler
  • S Taylor
Bachtler, J. & Taylor, S. (2003) The Added Value of the Structural Funds: A Regional Perspective, European Policies Research Centre IQ-Net Special Report (Glasgow: European Policies Research Centre, UoS).
Interorganisational networks
  • J Galaskiewicz
Galaskiewicz, J. (1985) Interorganisational networks, Annual Review of Sociology, 11(1), pp. 281–304.