This chapter looks at the way in which the changing social policy environment in the UK has been accompanied by increasingly stringent measures to regulate the activities of voluntary organisations in order to minimise the risks inherent in using private bodies, rather than the institutions of the state, to meet social need. It examines the impact of regulation, registration and inspection on the activities and organisation of the many thousands of small local organisations which make up the great majority of the population of the voluntary and community sectors.1 And it shows how the burdensome nature of risk-minimisation measures can be at odds with the encouragement of voluntary action and community involvement which has been a social policy goal for successive administrations and which is an important component of the Blair government’s ‘Third Way’ project.
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