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Children's Charities in CrisisEarly Intervention and the State$
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Alison Body

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447346432

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447346432.001.0001

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Partnership working, securing advantage and playing the game: thriving, not just surviving

Partnership working, securing advantage and playing the game: thriving, not just surviving

(p.177) 7 Partnership working, securing advantage and playing the game: thriving, not just surviving
Children's Charities in Crisis

Alison Body

Policy Press

Chapter 7 focuses on how some children’s charities are not just surviving in this complex environment but indeed thriving. As the commissioning culture has matured, so too have the responses from children’s charities. We have seen two major opposing schools of thought manifest themselves. One, often driven by politicians and social policy decision makers which advocates for the commissioning and competition agenda as increasing choice and diversifying services. Another, often pushed by academics and practitioners, which is more critical arguing that commissioning is leading to the marketization and privatisation of services. Many children’s charities, and indeed Commissioners, feel inhibited by these difficulties, however we also identify a group of children’s charities, supported by particular Commissioners, who ‘play the game’, reinterpreting rules, and at times breaking rules, to secure what they consider the best outcomes for children. As a result, they successfully negotiate contracts to their advantage or even bypass commissioning processes altogether, to secure a mutually developed contract. This requires a relational approach in which some children’s charities deploy a range of tactics to secure additional advantage, whilst some Commissioners ‘bend the rules’ to facilitate advantage for certain children’s charities who they believe will deliver a ‘better’ service for children.

Keywords:   Relational commissioning, Social skill, Tactics, Survival, Rule-bound

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