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Research Summary

Research  Summary

My research explores the relationship between the state and the third sector (broadly defined as charities, non-profits, community organisations and social enterprises).  The study focuses on Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) as a site for examining the third sector-state relationship.  TSIs are organisations that support and represent the third sector in each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.  The TSI model was instituted by the Scottish Government in 2011 with a four-fold remit to: build capacity, support volunteerism, encourage social enterprise, and represent the third sector in local Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs).   

Research on the relationship between the third sector and the state tends to focus on whether the sector’s active role as a delivery vehicle for the state has compromised its independence.  Of lessor focus, but of increasing significance, is the question of whether the sector’s independence is compromised by its active role as a partner in governance networks, such as Scotland’s CPPs.  This research uses a case study approach to explore the sector’s involvement in governance networks through the TSIs and considers the impact on issues of independence and representation.  

Research Interests

  • Third sector (voluntary and community sector)
  • Governance
  • Community representation
  • Third sector independence

Sponsor / Funder

What Works Scotland


    Additional Information

    My interest in the third sector’s relationship with the state is rooted in my work and volunteer involvement in the sector over the past thirty years.  Most of my experience has been in Toronto, Canada, where I moved as a teenager; I have been in Scotland since 2010.  While I have worked with a number of communities, my work has primarily been with immigrants and refugees. 

    Over the past ten years I have held Chief Executive roles, with key responsibility for the financial health of organisations; this health was primarily underwritten by funding from the state.  I became increasingly concerned that this new paradigm resulted in compromises being made by organisations delivering services on behalf of the state.  I have experienced first-hand the compromises that third sector organisations make in order to keep the money come in.  It is to these issues that my PhD is directed.

    I have a M.Ed. from the University of Toronto (2006), and a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University (1992).