The outsourcing of social care in Britain: what does it mean for voluntary sector workers?

I.R. Cunningham, P. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


While recent decades have witnessed a growth in the outsourcing of public services in Britain, the post-1997 UK Labour governments have sought to put in place mechanisms aimed at encouraging long-term collaborative contracting relationships marked by less reliance on cost-based competition. This article explores empirically how far these mechanisms have achieved their aims and thereby acted to protect the employment conditions of staff, and links this exploration to debates concerning the employment implications of organizational reforms within public sectors internationally. It concludes that in terms of bringing income security to the voluntary sector and stability to employment terms and conditions these efforts have been unsuccessful, and consequently casts doubts on more optimistic interpretations of the employment effects of organizational restructuring in the British public sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • job security
  • marketization
  • outsourcing
  • social care
  • terms and conditions
  • voluntary sector
  • work intensity


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