University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is part of a multi-institutional project which aims to better understand the scale, scope and contribution of the third sector in the UK.

The £680,000 ESRC-funded project will create the first national database on the population of organisations forming the third sector. It is hoped it will open new avenues for research on their survival and growth, their contribution to public service delivery, and the level of voluntary sector activity in different parts of the country.

Diarmuid McDonnell, Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Sciences at UWS, said: “Our project aims to make the contribution of the third sector much more visible.

“These organisations play a vital role in delivering public services, enabling communities to flourish, and providing meaningful employment and volunteering opportunities. Having a better understanding of their scale, scope and contribution will be of high value to funders – such as charitable foundations – as well as central and local government, local and regional councils for voluntary service, which sustain these organisations locally, and commissioners of public services such as the NHS, which rely substantially on the voluntary sector to deliver services.”

After the database has been compiled, the project team plan to link it with other important datasets, such as the Business Structure Database (BSD), a central government dataset on organisations, enabling the team to obtain data on the income, staffing and geography of third sector organisations, an area previously lacking.

After that, the team will also link it up with open data on government and NHS spending, to give a detailed picture of which third sector organisations are involved in partnering with government in the delivery of public services, and information on the distribution of grants to voluntary organisations across the country.

Find out more about the project here:

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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