Government rhetoric and policy discourse on the UK welfare-to-work quasi-market proclaims the need and virtue of contracting services to both third sector organisations (TSOs) and commercial actors. However, little is known about the TSOs involved, particularly how they have adapted and changed as the welfare-to-work market has developed over time. This presentation will cover the findings from a longitudinal qualitative study exploring how involvement in welfare-to-work contracting led to substantial organisational change in the Wise Group, a TSO based in Scotland. It contends that in line with the demands of the welfare-to-work quasi-market The Wise Group (which was until 2010 one of the largest and most successful TSOs involved in welfare-to-work programme provision) experienced much change between 1998-2010 including a shift in activities, organisational structure, management techniques, branding, and service provision. It is anticipated that this in-depth case study can provide an insight into the broader changes affecting TSOs and can help to fill the knowledge gap regarding organisational change and the marketisation of UK public service provision.
Hayley Bennett, Social Policy, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.
Hayley’s interests include the content and delivery of UK labour market policies aimed at reducing unemployment, labour market reforms, regional economic development and the marketisation of public services. Hayley held an ESRC (CASE) studentship with The Wise Group (2007-2011). She is now a research fellow in social policy at the Univeristy of Edinburgh.
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