Talking about voluntary action and the welfare state: Historical reflections, current debates

London, N1 9RL, Society House
Tuesday 30 April 2019 (10:00-12:30)

We are currently witnessing considerable changes in the ways in which welfare services are provided in England.

Significant shifts in access and entitlement to basic services are being rolled out, and the funding and delivery of services is being rethought. These changes have major implications for voluntary action in welfare provision. The boundaries between the state and the voluntary sector are being renegotiated, to the extent that some have called it ‘a revolutionary moment’. The same term was used to describe the establishment of comprehensive welfare services in the 1940s. At these two transformational moments, fundamental questions have been raised about who is responsible for the provision of welfare services. 

The Discourses of Voluntary Action study has been exploring these debates both in the 2010s and the 1940s. We have been comparing and contrasting the ways in which the general public, politicians, and voluntary sector organisations talk about these issues; highlighting the contested nature of the boundaries between sectors and challenging some of the prevailing wisdom.

We would like to share our emerging findings with people from across the voluntary, community and public sectors. We ask participants to challenge and question our findings, to extend our thinking, and to help us to work through the implications. This will be a highly interactive workshop that will inform our final stages of analysis. We are most grateful to all participants for their contributions.

The workshop is free to attend and a limited travel bursary is available, upon request.