Initially the UK third sector was embraced under New Labour’s “third way” banner, with its emphasis on the potential for productive partnership with the state. But more recently, in the context of austerity, it has been viewed with favour by Coalition/Conservative Governments through a belief that it has the potential to substitute for “Big Government” while strengthening a “Big Society”. These overarching labels are now politically unfashionable, but the interest they symbolise persists. Attention has been sustained by a series of statutory body and parliamentary committee reviews, while evidence on a range of controversies about governance inadequacies and unethical practices has played out, and been powerfully amplified, by an
increasingly critical national media.

Read the first TSI Barriers Briefing prepared by TSI partner institutions Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the University of Kent (SSPSSSR and PSSRU) in full detail. There is also supplementary reading available that moves towards a more nuanced account of the barriers to achieving impact third sector organisations face, paying particular attention to diversity and difference within the sector.