From activists-in-arms to arm's length? Changing relations between local government and third sector organisations

Earles, Wendy (2001) From activists-in-arms to arm's length? Changing relations between local government and third sector organisations. Third Sector Review, 7 (1). pp. 59-74.

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Abstract

Local government organisations and localised third sector organisations share common ground as participatory bodies and local providers, and as advocates of local interest. As providers, they can be 'near the people', whereas as participatory bodies and advocates they can be 'of and for the people'. These attributes--participation, local provision and advocacy-may be inhibited in changing local government-third sector relations.

This article reports the synthesised findings of case studies of changing relations between local government organisations and third sector organisations at specific Western Australian sites during the 1980s and 1990s. This period included many managerialist and economic rationalist reforms which cumulatively impacted both local government and the third sector.

During the study period there were distinct themes in the changing relations. There was a realignment of provision and funded service management which included the establishment of increasingly arm's length provision arrangements within local government and the divestment of funded service management to the third sector. There was also a realignment of planning and advocacy roles which included deregionalisation of local government collective structures and consolidation of planning roles within the central management levels of individual local government organisations. This realignment of relations was compounded by a reframing of relations within the discourse of business units, resource-sharing and consultancy groupings. The changing relations are cast as a shift from a sense of activists-in-arms to more arm's length relations.

Item ID: 13090
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: local government, third sector
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ISSN: 1323-9163
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2012 22:17
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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