The voluntary sector and conservation for England: achievements, expanding roles and uncertain future

Cook, Hadrian and Inman, Alex (2012) The voluntary sector and conservation for England: achievements, expanding roles and uncertain future. Journal of Environmental Management, 112, pp. 170-177. ISSN (print) 0301-4797

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The voluntary sector is value driven, issue focussed and considered economically efficient due to volunteer engagement and low administrative overheads in meeting conservation objectives. Independence and flexibility make it an intermediary between stakeholders and government and it is proving an effective vehicle for public engagement. NGOs are emerging as a key player in environmental action, making them a partial replacement for 'big government action' and may be heralding a 'Big Green Society'. The sector ranges in scale from small, local conservation charities to nationally important organisations. This article focuses on functionality because resource issues relate to funding, competences of personnel, continuity of mission and access to expertise, and all are affected during times of austerity. NGOs were largely task-oriented, yet they rapidly developed a campaigning role encapsulating an ever deeper role in both planning and policy formulation. Subsequently, they have developed community inclusion at the core of their function. While the portents remain good, potential problems relate to economic resources, task allocation, impacts on labour markets, interactions with the statutory sector, operational independence and to relations with local democracy. Outlined in this paper are historic functions, operation and development of the sector and perceived issues for the future.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme, jointly financed by ESRC, BBSRC, NERC, the Scottish Government and Defra.
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation, voluntary sector, big society, environmental governance
Research Area: Geography and environmental studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing (until 2017) > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
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Depositing User: Automatic Import Agent
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2012 07:53
Last Modified: 03 May 2013 12:08

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