Capturing diversity: a typology of third sector organisations' responses to contracting based on empirical evidence from homelessness services

Working Paper 41

The impacts of government contracting on third sector organisations (TSOs) have attracted much discussion amongst third sector researchers and practitioners. However, the diversity of the organisations that comprise the sector means that these impacts have varied considerably between TSOs.

In order to better understand this complexity, and to analyse and articulate TSOs’ experiences in a more meaningful way, it is useful to think about different response types. Based on empirical evidence from a study of homelessness TSOs in two South East England local authorities, this paper presents a typology of organisational responses to contracting. The four types identified are: Comfortable Contractors, Compliant Contractors, Cautious Contractors, and Community-based Non-Contractors. The varied experiences of these different types of organisation with regard to contracting are described in the paper and point to the need for greater precision and differentiation within both academic and policy debates about the third sector.

Research contact

  • Heather Buckingham