P30 The third sector, social enterprises, and community-based initiatives as public service innovators (?)

Sanna Tuurnas, Kelly Hall, Jurian Edelenbos, Richard Hazenberg, José Nederhand, Madeline Powell, Yida Zhu and Malika Igalla

Corresponding Chairs:
Sanna Tuurnas, sanna.tuurnas@kuleuven.be and Malika Igalla, igalla@essb.eur.nl

The third sector, social enterprise and community-based initiatives (CBIs) are crucial to the delivery of public services in most countries around the world. These hybridised organisations are acclaimed for their ability to meet the needs of citizens more effectively than traditional public sector or private sector organizations with innovative approaches. However, there are also doubts about their actual impact, scale, and durability. Whilst these organisational forms are often seen to offer a sustainable and innovative solution to community needs and even to the world’s most pressing social problems, it is vital to examine what (positive and negative) outcomes they produce, whether they remain sustainable in their delivery of services, what challenges they face, and how they respond/behave to these challenges.

Further, whilst failure of traditional public service delivery is one of the reasons that in many countries social enterprises and community initiatives are being developed by citizens who take the lead to provide public services themselves, government interfaces are still critical for the development of these initiatives. Both citizens and governments are experimenting with new relationships and forms of support.

Abstract proposals

This panel seeks to explore these topics and invites contributions, which range from the relationship between government and civil society, to challenges of organization and management in third sector, social enterprise, and CBIs. The questions we are seeking to answer include:

  1. Is there a role for social enterprise, the third sector and CBIs in some of the most pressing social problems?
  2. How can you conceptualize these efforts (i.e. social enterprises, co-production, CBIs), and what do they mean for the roles of different actors (e.g. professionals, volunteers)?
  3. Do community initiatives, social enterprises and third sector organisations provide better outcomes in comparison with private for-profit and public providers when it comes to the delivery of public services?
  4. How can such initiatives/social enterprises/third sector organisations strive for sustainability (in terms of duration and independence)?
  5. What (new) forms of support and relationships exist between these initiatives and government, how do they affect impact and durability of these initiatives, and which conditions foster or hamper (new forms of) support and relationships?

Abstract proposals must not exceed 500 words including references.