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Third Sector Organisations: Unique or simply other qualified providers?

Miller , Robin (2012) Third Sector Organisations: Unique or simply other qualified providers? Journal of Public Mental Health. ISSN 1746-5729 (In Press)

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The Third Sector has been promoted by progressive English governments as a provider of health and social care services for people with mental health difficulties. This article considers the assumptions that lie behind these polices and reviews the evidence that Third Sector Organisations can be said to have a ‘unique’ role and approach. The challenges and opportunities of the current market based reforms on the Third Sector are discussed.
The article is based on literature reviews of the Third Sector’s role in mental health care and commissioning of Third Sector Organisations.
The Third Sector delivers a range of mental health services in England, in particular those related to accommodation, advice, advocacy and employment. Its activity extends into other roles such as campaigning and development of new approaches to care and support. Evidence of the distinctiveness of the sector as a whole is limited, but there are examples of such organisations providing innovative and user-led services. Market based reforms are seen as posing a threat to smaller organisations in particular but personalised approaches (including allocation of individual budgets), outcome based payments and the need for large scale service redesign are seen as offering considerable opportunity for expansion.
For the new market to include a strong Third Sector will require leadership within organisations, a collaborative approach within the sector, and commissioners that understand and engage positively with the sector in all its diversity.
This article draws together the research literature on the Third Sector’s engagement in mental health and the impact of market based reforms and in doing so provides original value in the fields of mental health and third sector studies.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2012 (Submission)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Health Services Management Centre
Keywords:Third Sector, commissioning, mental health, outcomes, personalisation
Subjects:H Social Sciences (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Emerald
ID Code:1316
Refereed:YES
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