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Part 3: Welsh politics

A Welsh Innovation in Inclusive Governance. Examining the Efficacy of the Statutory Third Sector-Government Partnership for Engaging the Third Sector in Policymaking

Une innovation galloise en matière de gouvernance inclusive : analyse de l’efficacité du partenariat entre le secteur associatif et le gouvernement gallois
Amy Sanders

Abstracts

This paper employs a discursive institutionalist lens to examine the efficacy of the Welsh statutory partnership between the government and the third sector (that is, the voluntary sector, the economic sector consisting of non-governmental organisations and other non-profit organisations). This is a governance innovation associated with devolution, designed to foster inclusive governance. It is set out in legislation and corresponds to a significant divergence from Westminster’s civil society relations. This study analyses policy actors’ accounts of Partnership efficacy in achieving policy change and in institutional processes for engaging the third sector. It draws on institutional change literature to explore the extent to which the Partnership has developed over time. This paper reveals that fractures in perceptions of the Partnership as a vehicle for policy change or in terms of its inclusive processes, are countered by discourses about its value and Welsh ways of working.

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Introduction

  • 1 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 20 (...)
  • 2 See Paul Chaney and Ralph Fevre, “Inclusive Governance and “Minority” Groups: The Role of the Third (...)

1A distinct feature of governance in Wales is the partnership between the third sector and Welsh Government that is written into the successive Welsh devolutionary statutes.1 This is a governance innovation of Welsh devolution and was designed to foster inclusive governance2. This article examines this statutory partnership to consider differing perceptions of partnership efficacy, how these relate the Partnership’s capacity to achieve institutional change and the place of agency in this Welsh institution. Thus, the research question addressed is: What are policy actors' perspectives on efficacy, agency and change in the institution of the third sector-government partnership?

  • 3 Colin Hay “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Chan (...)
  • 4 See Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political St (...)

2It begins by detailing the facets of this partnership feature of Welsh governance. It progresses to consider the third sector-government partnership’s efficacy in achieving policy change and the efficacy of institutional processes for third sector participation. It then addresses the institution’s ability to change in response to any perceived efficacy failings. In doing so, this paper draws on endogenous accounts of institutional change, whereby the impetus for change originates internally within the institution. Thus, building on Hay’s3 account of endogenous change, it considers to what extent institutional adaptation was perceived to take place. The focus on agency is a response to theorists’ calls for institutionalism to address the role agency plays in institutional change.4 This paper applies the agency lens to notions of institutional learning to understand Welsh policy actors’ roles in instigating or inhibiting institutional change to this governance innovation.

3This article will reveal interviewees’ perceptions of failings in the Welsh third sector-government partnership, of failings as a vehicle of policy change, in the equality of its processes and in its ability to change. Yet, these factors are countered by institutional discourses about its value as a governance mechanism. Additionally, the analysis provides new insights on the role of Welsh policy actors in inhibiting institutional change through its examination of agency. It concludes with a review of how these findings can inform our understanding of the Partnership as a distinctive feature of Welsh governance.

The Welsh Case Study

  • 5 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collab (...)
  • 6 Janet Newman, Modernising Governance New Labour, Policy and Society. (London, SAGE, 2001)
  • 7 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collab (...)
  • 8 Gillian Bristow, Tom Entwistle, Frances Hines, et al. (2008) “New Spaces for Inclusion? Lessons fro (...)

4In Wales, a partnership approach was embraced with devolution,5 although this could also be seen as part of a wider UK strategy of Blair’s New Labour which sought to overcome ideological barriers to private sector partnerships by locating the partnership discourse between the third sector and state.6 Nevertheless, a distinctive feature of Welsh devolution was the breadth of partnerships established at different scales, including sub-state level (involving business, trade unions and local government), local government level and sub-regional level,7 as well as community level with the establishment of the community regenerations partnerships.8 The present case study is an exemplar of the Welsh partnership ethos that underpinned devolution.

  • 9 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 20 (...)
  • 10 Derek Birrell, The Impact of Devolution on Social Policy. (Bristol, Policy Press, 2009).
  • 11 Robert K Yin, Case study research : design and methods (Los Angeles, London : Sage, 2014).

5This partnership is set out in legislation.9 Thus, this case study is a key locus to explore contemporary third sector-government relations due to its statutory nature,10 rendering it a revelatory case.11

  • 12 Welsh Government Third Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, Welsh Government, 2014).
  • 13 National Assembly for Wales, Voluntary Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, National Assembly for Wales, 2004).

6The legislation requires Welsh Government to uphold the interests of the third sector and publish a Third Sector Scheme to outline mechanisms through which government will assist and consult the sector. Successive Third Sector Schemes were published in 2000, 2004 and 2014.12 These schemes detail the Partnership structures, which include the Third Sector Partnership Council (TSPC) and a series of Ministerial Meetings, forming the key nexus between government ministers and representatives from twenty-five third sector thematic networks. The network themes include those concerned with an equalities category (gender, sexuality, youth, children and families, older people, disability, religion, and ethnic minorities), or multiple equalities categories (for example, the asylum seekers and refugees network); and those concerned with other types of third sector organisations (for example, Sports & Recreation; Arts Culture and Heritage; Environment). This study focuses on these formal engagement mechanisms collectively (the TSPC, Ministerial Meetings and the thematic networks, henceforward referred to as “The Partnership”). The Partnership is managed for Welsh Government by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).13

  • 14 Peter Alcock, “New Policy Spaces: The Impact of Devolution on Third Sector Policy in the UK”. Socia (...)
  • 15 Linda Milbourne and Mike Cushman, “Complying, Transforming or Resisting in the New Austerity? Reali (...)
  • 16 Rob Macmillan, “Decoupling the state and the third sector? The 'Big Society' as a spontaneous order (...)
  • 17 Peter Alcock, “New Policy Spaces: The Impact of Devolution on Third Sector Policy in the UK”. Socia (...)

7When Labour lost power following the 2010 UK general election there were different political parties holding office in the four UK nations.14 Labour retained its dominance in Wales. These political changes impacted on the third sector in different ways. With the Westminster austerity agenda, the space for the third sector to influence government shrank at UK Government level.15 This was described as a decoupling of the state from the sector.16 These developments put considerable strain on the sector in England, and there were significant reductions in the budgets of the national third sector infrastructures in England and Scotland. However, in Wales, WCVA did not face such rapid reductions.17 These differences set this Welsh Partnership apart from third sector-state relations in other UK nations, further rendering it of interest as a distinct governance structure.

  • 18 Paul Chaney and Daniel Wincott, “Envisioning the Third Sector's Welfare Role: Critical Discourse An (...)
  • 19 Paul Chaney, “Exploring the Pathologies of One-Party-Dominance on Third Sector Public Policy Engage (...)

8This Welsh governance innovation might be conceived as enabling Welsh policymaking to diversify from its neighbouring nations. Certainly, policy concerning the third sector has been shown to diverge between the different UK nations.18 However, this governance structure faces a stability double-bind: (i) The one-party dominance of Welsh Labour in Welsh Government rules out policy change through elections;19 (ii) in making the Partnership a statutory requirement, this renders it durable but constrained by legislation. This then raises the question of whether this Welsh governance mechanism enables institutional change allowing a growing governance divergence from its neighbours, or whether it is constrained in its capacity to bring about institutional change, resulting in this being the singular feature of the Partnership that is considered distinctively Welsh. This question shall be addressed through the following analysis.

9Having made the case for the relevance of this Welsh case study Partnership, consideration is now given to the theoretical framework that underpins this paper.

Theoretical Framework

Discursive Institutionalism

  • 20 Vivien Lowndes, “Urban politics: institutional differentiation and entanglement”. In Pierre J, Pete (...)
  • 21 See James March, and Johan Olsen, “The New Institutionalism: Organisational Factors in Political Li (...)
  • 22 Walter Powell and Paul DiMaggio, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. (Chicago, Lon (...)
  • 23 See Ibid; Peter Hall and Rosemary Taylor, “Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms”. (...)

10This case study is understood through the prism of discursive institutionalism, which is one strand of new institutionalism. Where old institutionalism sought to compare whole systems of government, and focused on making governments perform better, new institutionalism brought a focus to informal conventions alongside formal structures to understand institutional members’ behaviour.20 It recognises that an institution’s informal norms and discourses as well as formal structures shape its members.21 Differing forms of new institutionalism have developed with disparate understandings.22 Comparative analyses of the different strands have been done elsewhere.23 A brief overview of discursive institutionalism is presented below to elucidate its qualities as a theoretical lens.

  • 24 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual (...)
  • 25 See Fiona Mackay, Meryl Kenny, and Louise Chappell, “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: To (...)
  • 26 Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum (...)

11Discursive institutionalism focuses on the social construction of institutions, giving primacy to discourses which must be understood in their contextual usage.24 It therefore considers how language and ideas shape institutional design and development and vice versa.25 A discursive institutionalist approach is also more closely linked with policymaking than other forms of institutionalism.26 This means that it can be readily adapted to considering the relationship between the institution and the development of policymaking.

  • 27 See Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political St (...)
  • 28 See Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Conti (...)
  • 29 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual (...)
  • 30 Ibid.
  • 31 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studie (...)
  • 32 Ibid.

12Other forms of institutionalism have focussed on institutional stability and the persistence of institutional equilibrium but these have been criticised for failing to adequately explain how institutional change can occur and for not giving sufficient attention to the role of agency.27 For example, sociological institutionalism attributes this stability to the logic of appropriateness that underpins institutional norms whereas historical institutionalism attributes it to the paths of dependency that have built up from historical decisions that were made at the origins of the institution.28 In contrast, the more recently developed discursive institutionalism seeks to overcome the equilibrium-focus of the other forms by putting “the agency back into institutional change”.29 Discursive institutionalism recognises that individuals have discursive abilities to dissociate themselves from institutions so that they can critically appraise them, which allows for individuals to change the institutional constraints on behaviour.30 Thus, individuals are understood to be reflexive and can monitor consequences, learn, and adjust their strategies.31 Such an understanding allows for structure and agency to not be antagonistic but instead they are a complex duality linked in a creative iterative relationship between the institution and their members.32

13Thus far, details of how discursive institutionalism can be useful for understanding the relationship between the formal structure of the Partnership and its members’ informal discourses have been considered. We have seen that it also provides a way to understand the relationship between the agency of the Partnership’s different members and the achievement of change. Having provided an overview of discursive institutionalism, we progress to considering how institutionalist literature deals with understandings of efficacy.

Institutional Change and Efficacy

  • 33 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual (...)
  • 34 Roderick Rhodes, and David Marsh, “New directions in the study of policy networks”. European Journa (...)

14As noted, discursive institutionalism recognises that institutional change is dependent on the abilities of members to examine the efficacy of their institutions.33 While this understanding of institutional change is concerned with the capacity of an institution to change, it is worth noting that some of the institutional change literature refers to an institution’s ability to bring about policy change. Change in institutional structures is qualitatively different from the achievement of policy change.34 However, these differing understandings are seldom acknowledged in the literature. When these two forms of institutional change are applied to accounts of institutional efficacy, there is a distinction between the efficacy of institutional processes and the efficacy of an institution to achieve policy change. Both are important for our understanding of the present Welsh Partnership.

  • 35 See Harry Jones, A Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Policy Influence. (London, Overseas Developme (...)
  • 36 See Michelle Betsill and Elisabeth Corell, “NGO Influence in International Environmental Negotiatio (...)
  • 37 Vivien Schmidt, “Democracy and Legitimacy in the European Union Revisited: Input, Output and ‘Throu (...)
  • 38 Mark Suchman, “Managing Legitimacy: Strategic and Institutional Approaches”. Academy of Management (...)

15Measuring policy outputs is difficult to assess in the context of a structure where interest groups seek to influence policy due to the causality question, and where a number of factors means that it cannot be said which outputs are solely a result of these interest groups’ engagement.35 This is due to the many influencing activities that are at play, often informally and sometimes covertly, and the multiple organisations making claims collectively and simultaneously; as well as the multiple ways to measure success which can shift over time.36 Thus, constructionist researchers have concentrated less on measurable policy change and more on the discursive construction of policy outputs.37 Consequently, analysis of the discourse around perceived efficacy of policy change is a more appropriate approach for this study’s constructionist methodology. A similar problem exists with finding evidence to support the efficacy of institutional processes, since a constructionist approach casts doubt on whether such processes can be measured.38 Therefore, it is the policy actors’ perception of efficacy in the processes that we are concerned with addressing.

  • 39 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Cha (...)
  • 40 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Cha (...)

16There is also a distinction between exogenous and endogenous perceptions which informs understandings of institutional change. Institutionalist literature about change has tended to be dominated by accounts of policy change precipitated by an exogenous event. In contrast, Hay39 gives a detailed account of how endogenous change can be accomplished and perception of efficacy plays an important role. As Hay40 explains, change requires the perception of failure, so that the systemic failure has “become politically and ideationally mediated”. This highlights the relationship between key actors’ perceptions of institutional failures in efficacy and endogenously generated change. An underexplored area of research is the consideration of whether perceptions of systemic efficacy failures in outputs or institutional processes meet the conditions to precipitate endogenous institutional change.

  • 41 Charles E. Lindblom, “The science of “muddling” through”. Public Administration Review 19(2) (1959) (...)
  • 42 Guy Peters, Institutional theory: problems and prospects. In: Pierre, J., Peters, B. G. & Stoker, G (...)
  • 43 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Cha (...)

17A different account of institutional change is found in the literature concerned with incremental change which refers to a series of small shifts occurring over time.41 A common “incrementalist problem” is to assess how big a shift constitutes a change.42 Relatedly, Hay43 describes “reactive”, “unreflexive” adaptations to systemic failure drawn from within pre-existing, unmodified structures which do not resolve failure. He contrasts this with cases of fundamental transformation. Therefore, accounts of change within an institutional structure in response to perceived efficacy failings should be scrutinised to understand the extent to which they are perceived to constitute fundamental change.

18The foregoing analysis distinguishes between the efficacy of an institution in bringing about policy change from the efficacy of its processes and the efficacy of an institution in changing as a response to failures. We need to recognise, in applying these distinctions to the present case study, that there are three ways of interpreting perceptions of institutional efficacy in the context of the Partnership: (i) understanding how it achieves policy change, (ii) understanding the Partnership’s institutional processes, and (iii) understanding how institutional change in the Partnership is brought about.

19Consideration is now given to how this relates to agency. To do this, we examine the literature concerned with institutional learning.

Institutional Change and Agency

  • 44 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studie (...)
  • 45 Walter Powell and Paul DiMaggio, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. (Chicago, Lon (...)
  • 46 Claire A Dunlop, “Policy learning and policy failure: definitions, dimensions and intersections”. P (...)

20The discursive institutionalist approach encourages a focus on agency, and specifically the policy actors’ ability to reflect on and instigate change. Hay and Wincott44 discuss how “strategic learning”, can result in institutions reorienting future strategies and overcoming “institutional inertia”. Thus, institutions can use their experience of institutional inefficiency to impact on future institutional “organising logics”.45 Extensive literatures exist on both institutional learning and institutional failure, but there are fewer studies about how institutions can learn from failure.46 There is even less focus on whose responsibility it is to do this learning.

  • 47 Rachel Minto and Lut Mergaert, “Gender mainstreaming and evaluation in the EU: comparative perspect (...)

21Accounts of institutional agency frequently do not identify whose agency is under discussion. Minto and Mergaert47 describe how a key indicator of effective formal accountability mechanisms is that actors responsible for them should be identifiable. An opening exists for exploring discourses on such institutional learning to understand which policy actors have the agency to enable institutional learning.

  • 48 See Joan Acker, “Inequality Regimes Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations”. Gender and Society 2 (...)
  • 49 Roderick Rhodes and David Marsh, “New directions in the study of policy networks”. European Journal (...)
  • 50 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studie (...)

22Feminist institutionalists have led the way in developing theories of resistance to change, recognising both direct opposition and the informal resistance strategies that occur when equality strategies are introduced48. Beyond feminist theorising, it has been argued that those involved in policymaking mechanisms resist change because they favour “the status-quo or the existing balance of interests”.49 This would suggest that it is within the interests of policy actors engaged in a partnership to resist change. However, Hay and Wincott50 also recognise that policy actors’ ability to transform institutions is restricted by the strategic resources and knowledge of the institutional environment available to them. Their account differs because it removes culpability from accounts of failures to change. So, there must be scrutiny of actors’ views of what inhibits change and who, if anyone, is responsible for this. Here, agency is understood in terms of who gets to shape or indeed prevent the shaping of institutional mechanisms for change.

  • 51 Rikki John Dean, “Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation (...)

23Dean51 distinguished between “negotiated participatory spaces” in which the condition of participation can be negotiated by the participants, and “prescribed participatory spaces” in which decisions about the process of participation are determined outside the space and imposed upon the participants. This concept can be applied to our understanding of the Welsh Partnership as an institution and questions of agency within it. This highlights the importance of recognising whether the agency for shaping mechanisms lies with all institutional members or with the gatekeepers of the institution. The foregoing analysis requires us to consider who within the Partnership has responsibility for change, and which policy actors might exert agency in terms of inhibiting change.

24Having laid out the theoretical framework that underpins this study, this paper now offers a brief overview of how the research was conducted.

Research Methods

  • 52 Katherine Smith, “Problematising power relations in ‘elite’ interviews”. Geoforum, 37, (2006) pp. 6 (...)
  • 53 Mark Garnett and Philip Lynch, Exploring British Politics. (Harlow, Pearson, 2012).

25The principal research method employed in this study was semi-structured, elite interviews with policy actors from the case study. The participants were identified through purposive sampling and drawn from three key groups comprising the WCVA, Welsh Government and third sector organisations. These were considered to be elite interviews given that participants were those who influence important decisions, have an elite form of knowledge, control resources, have political authority and/or have senior positions in authority.52 Policy actors recruited from the WCVA included staff involved in the TSPC Partnership directly, the ministerial meetings or networks during the period 2011-2019. Prospective interviewees from Welsh Government included officials with responsibility for the TSPC Partnership or the ministerial meetings during the same period, and cabinet secretaries and ministers, although politicians are difficult to recruit because of the political implications of them expressing their views.53 The participants recruited from the third sector were those in senior positions (primarily directors or chief executives, and occasionally senior management or policy officers).

2641 interviews took place, which included 19 from third sector organisations, eight WCVA staff, 12 Welsh Government officials, one Welsh Parliament member of staff and one Cabinet Secretary.

  • 54 Jonathan Potter, “Discourse analysis as a way of analysing naturally occuring talk”. In Silverman D (...)
  • 55 See Ruth Wodak, and Michael Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. (London, Thousand Oaks C (...)
  • 56 Norman Fairclough, Analysing Discourse - textual analysis for social research. (London & New York, (...)

27The interviews were transcribed. The theoretical framework that had been developed informed the development of both the interview schedule and the coding frame for analysis. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) was employed to analyse the interview data. CDA approaches can differ,54 so this study took a problem-orientated approach based on the theoretical framework55 rather than the prescribed steps associated with more linguistic-dominated CDA.56 This study made use of NVivo software. The coding frame provided the initial categories of analysis that were then expanded and developed through an iterative process, to achieve a rich, in-depth qualitative analysis.

28Having described how this study was conducted, attention now turns to its findings.

Findings and Discussion

Efficacy of the governance partnership

29When participants were asked to describe the overall impact of the Partnership on policymaking they tended to question ‘whether it’s as effective as it could be’ (Participant 20, Welsh Government). Both WCVA and the third sector interviewees commonly stated it did not ‘seem to have much impact or make much difference’ (Participant 33, third sector) or ‘have any demonstrable outcomes’ (Participant 6, WCVA). Accounts of Partnership meetings described the efficacy failure in policy change, as seen here: ‘I’m not sure how effective they are to be honest’ (Participant 31, third sector). This finding reveals a perceived failing in the Partnership’s efficacy to achieve policy change.

30Interviewees’ accounts of processes efficacy in the Partnership were also critiqued. Participants described some process failures concerning the participation of the third sector. For example, the two WCVA accounts below reveal flaws in the recruitment of network leads:

It’s basically any WCVA member can vote… Elections are every two years… there has only been one where it has been contested… there are only a few categories that have ever changed networks… None of [the organisations] have changed, or very little since I’ve been doing it. (Participant 7, WCVA)

The level of engagement that we get in the elections… is very, very low… All you need is probably a handful of nominations from your peers… We hold up that these are elected representatives but not many people elect them. (Participant 6, WCVA)

31These excerpts expose a flawed election process, in which representatives rarely changed and participation rates were low. Accounts also revealed inconsistencies in the election practices between the 25 thematic networks of the Partnership. Some networks would have their own election process to select their Partnership representative, but other organisations had been established to be the network and so did not use elections. This was just one example in a series of process failures relating to fair third sector participation and inconsistent Partnership processes which included recruiting network representatives, participation once they were representatives, and participation opportunities for network members.

32Against this backdrop, the present study now considers the extent to which the Partnership is perceived to learn and thus change in response to these noted efficacy failures.

Partnership’s ability to change

33The most frequently cited example of institutional adaptations in the Partnership was the changes made to TSPC meeting formats. These used to be held as a ‘big square meeting… with Ministers on one side of the room, officials along the back of it and … the third sector element of it in a horseshoe’ (participant 21, Welsh Government). These were criticised for being ‘horrific set pieces’ (Participant 12 Welsh Government) where ‘it was very staged’ (Participant 7, WCVA) ‘with a very dry agenda and lots of people around the table wondering why they were there’ (Participant 29, third sector). In response, the Partnership adapted by introducing ‘event meetings’ for the TSPC, in which they had speakers and the third sector then sat ‘around tables with Welsh Government officials and discuss[ed] a range of topics’ (Participant 7, WCVA). However, policy actors’ interviews revealed they had ‘two or three meetings [in this new format] at most, after which everybody becomes disillusioned’ (Participant 12, Welsh Government). These events were not seen to offer any actual outcomes’ (Participant 8, third sector). Thus, the events-style meetings were rejected, and they reverted to the round-table format. This reveals an instance of institutional change introduced to address a failure in institutional process efficacy that was ultimately rejected because it did not address failures in the efficacy of policy change.

34This contributed to the perception that the Partnership was unable to change, as the interview data revealed. For example: ‘In terms of the third sector Partnership stuff, that feels like it’s not really changed over time’ (Participant 37, third sector). The Partnership’s processes were perceived to be the same as when they were set up.

  • 57 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Cha (...)

35The inability to sustain this institutional change can be understood with respect to Hay’s57 distinction between reactive, unreflexive adaptations within pre-existing unmodified structures and fundamental transformations in institutional forms that resolved systemic failures change. This temporary change in TSPC meeting formats is an example of the former.

  • 58 Colin Hay, op. cit., p. 330.
  • 59 Ibid.

36Hay58 proposed that a series of unreflexive modifications could lead to the accumulation of unresolved issues that eventually would lead to crisis. As noted above, interviewees described a catalogue of efficacy failures, akin to Hay’s59 conception of accumulation of systemic failure, which raises the question of whether the crisis point had been reached.

37As one policy actor described ‘we’ve never really had that catalyst for change’ (Participant 6, WCVA), so there has not been an exogenous event precipitating change. Nevertheless, this WCVA participant was hopeful that a threshold for change had been met: ‘the mood music is we have to do something… there is a groundswell… this could be the time to do something differently’ (Participant 6, WCVA). Notably, this case study does not present evidence that such a crisis point has been reached that would result in change in Wales, but simply that policy actors hoped it would be.

38Notwithstanding these accounts of perceived failures in institutional change, there were also counter discourses that prevented the Partnership from reaching the crisis point required to precipitate fundamental change to resolve these systemic failures. For example, both Welsh Government and third sector interviewees attributed an intrinsic symbolic value of the ‘formalised relationship’ (Participant 4, WCVA), which forms the ‘official engagement’ of the third sector by Welsh Government (Participant 18, Welsh Government). This was irrespective of evidencing its policymaking efficacy, as seen in the excerpt below:

There is always going to be a mixture of symbolic value and practical value… it’s important always to recognise and respect the value of both parts of the equation… It will always have a bit of a symbolic role, quite aside from what good it does or what it achieves… So, it’s always important with things that have that symbolic value to have a practical value as well… I think Wales is looked on in admiration. (Participant 16, Welsh Government)

39Thus, the symbolic value of the Partnership was viewed by some policy actors to be as important as any demonstrable measures of efficacy, when assessing the Partnership’s value. Furthermore, the intrinsic value was centred on how the Partnership is “unique to Wales (Participant 6, WCVA). As this interview illustrated: “We do have a huge advantage in Wales compared certainly to the UK level (Participant 23, third sector). These accounts are typical of the cherishing of the statutory Partnership that affords the third sector a close relationship with Welsh Government. This appreciation of the Partnership was voiced across the spectrum of the sample. It served as a counterweight to any criticisms directed at the Partnership’s efficacy and calls into question this binary notion of success and failure in policymaking.

40Thus far, we have considered efficacy with respect to policy change, institutional processes and institutional change. We now explore accounts of the agency that underpins this.

Agency in Partnership discourses

  • 60 Rachel Minto and Lut Mergaert, “Gender mainstreaming and evaluation in the EU: comparative perspect (...)

41Applying an institutionalist approach to understand agency, it is useful to consider both the formal structures and the informal discourses. We start by examining the formal processes that are in place to enable institutional learning. Minto and Mergaert60 described “accountability mechanisms” as one of the dimensions that enables a change in practice to be institutionalized. This requires consideration of the nature of Partnership accountability mechanisms.

  • 61 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 20 (...)
  • 62 Welsh Government Third Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, Welsh Government, 2014).

42Certainly, there were Partnership accountability mechanisms built into legislation.61 This required government to publish annual reports that must be laid before Senedd Cymru and obliged ministers to monitor the assistance the government provided to the third sector. The Third Sector Scheme62 identified the ‘Funding and Compliance Sub-Committee’ as the vehicle to achieve the latter.

43Policy actors’ accounts of the annual reports system and the sub-committee reveal much about how agency has shaped the Partnership’s formal mechanisms of institutional learning. One official’s account of the statutory annual reporting procedure was particularly revealing:

When we were initially publishing the Annual Report… it was far more accountable… Assembly Members were able to question the content of the report… That changed. And now …it goes through the WCVA… There was a time… when there was an annual Plenary debate… [in Senedd Cymru.] We sought advice in terms of what’s in the [Third Sector] Scheme and what’s in the legislation… and nowhere does it say that we have to have a Plenary debate. So… we could reasonably get away with not doing it, provided that we published the annual report. (Participant 21, Welsh Government)

44The above excerpt exposes the role Welsh Government played in curtailing plenary debates on the Annual Report. Laying the Annual Report before plenary simply became a matter of it being recorded and it was ‘drastically under-scrutinised’ (Participant 2, Senedd Cymru). Furthermore, the excerpt above implied that scrutiny of the Annual Report shifted from Members of the Senedd to the WCVA. Interviewees from the WCVA rejected the idea that they scrutinised the annual reports, as seen in this senior manager’s words:

I don’t really pay that much heed to it to be honest. I think I’ve only seen one copy. They [Welsh Government] don’t really do anything with it. It seems like a report they produce and then they file somewhere. (Participant 6, WCVA).

45Thus, neither Senedd Cymru nor the WCVA retained agency in applying these accountability processes that were key to achieving institutional learning.

46Interviewees’ accounts of the Funding and Compliance Sub-Committee revealed how this process was also similarly weakened. They described how ‘it doesn’t actually meet that often’ (Participant 31, third sector). This sub-committee was the only part of the Partnership mechanism managed by Welsh Government rather than the WCVA, thus it was outside of the WCVA’s control. Furthermore, even when it did meet, this Welsh Government interviewee explained that it had lost its focus on holding the Welsh Government to account: ‘It’s mostly about funding, if I’m honest, because that’s the easiest thing to be able to monitor, even though it was also meant to be ‘about the wider compliance with the [Third Sector] Scheme’ (Participant 21, Welsh Government). The Sub-Committee’s failure to meet or undertake much scrutiny beyond finances, and the way its management sat outside of WCVA structures, shows its limitations as an accountability mechanism that would enable institutional learning. Again, the agency rested with Welsh Government in allowing these accountability processes to weaken. In fact, WCVA policy actors showed a lack of awareness of the formal mechanisms altogether, as this account reveals:

Who should be holding them [Welsh Government] to account? … Should that be us? Or should that [be]… the Wales Audit Office?... the National Assembly? I don’t know… I don’t know how we would hold them to account. (Participant 6, WCVA)

47The effect of these scrutiny failings was that institutional learning was arrested and these mechanisms failed to enable institutional change to promote a more effective Partnership.

  • 63 Rikki John Dean, “Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation (...)

48Beyond these formal mechanisms, a discursive institutionalist lens requires scrutiny of the informal discourses around agency. This revealed each party felt the responsibility lay with another party. For example, Welsh Government participants argued that “the sector as a whole needs to really push for that relationship to change… We’re not interested in imposing it (Participant 12, Welsh Government). From this, we can see that Welsh Government seemed to give the third sector the lead in instigating institutional change in the Partnership. This appears to be akin to Dean’s63 account of ‘negotiated participatory spaces’, in which the participation conditions are negotiated by the participants, as opposed to them being imposed upon them. Yet, the third sector did not instigate substantial change during the period of study. The third sector interviewees explained that they felt their involvement in change was a drain on their own resources, as this participant described:

[The last meeting] was about talking about how the TSPC needs to change going forward and what concerned me was there was a lot about the process… I was thinking surely what the TSPC should be about was what policies do we want to change… It should not be about how often we meet and how we engage and what the systems are. (Participant 32, Third Sector)

49This excerpt reveals that a “negotiated participatory space” cannot be established if the participants neither have the resources nor interest to take part. Third sector representatives saw change instigation as Welsh Government’s responsibility, as this participant explained: “All these expectations on [the sector] and the sector is like ‘but this is being imposed on us. We didn’t ask for this. This is something the Welsh Government has to do... The sector didn’t set it up” (Participant 8, Third Sector). The sector representatives’ rejection of responsibility for changing the Partnership structures, mirrored Welsh Government’s refusal to instigate change. There were some government discourses that placed responsibility on the intermediary body, WCVA, as this participant stated: “[It] is for WCVA to manage those networks (Participant 21, Welsh Government). However, the WCVA’s resources were also stretched so they too did not have the capacity to initiate change. As this WCVA participant explained:

We’re all very busy doing, doing, doing, but not very good at looking at the impact of that… We’re not very good at, checking with our partners… I think it would be good if we did that, but then, everybody’s busy and it sort of slips under the radar. (Participant 7, WCVA).

50This account illuminates how institutional learning was hampered by the WCVA’s limited resources. There was another factor inhibiting the WCVA from instigating change, which this excerpt reveals: “You don’t really get anywhere by pissing off the people that are the gatekeepers to the change you want to see (Participant 9, WCVA). This response reveals that the WCVA were afraid of the consequences of holding their Welsh Government counterparts to account.

  • 64 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Cha (...)

51There was a sense of powerlessness to change the Partnership, as is seen here: “Me and [my manager] talked about [the meeting] afterwards and we were just in despair (Participant 20, Welsh Government). Collectively, this is a case, of what Hay64 described as “catastrophic equilibria”, in which failure is “readily apparent and widely perceived”, but no decisive intervention is made to remedy it. This would suggest that willingness to change and allocation of responsibility for instigating change are prerequisites for the crisis point to be achieved to secure endogenous change. Thought must be given to considering both the theoretical implications and where this leaves the Partnership as a distinctive Welsh governance mechanism.

Conclusion

  • 65 Gerry Stoker, “Governance as theory: five propositions”. International Social Science Journal, 50, (...)
  • 66 Emma Carmel, & Jenny Harlock, Instituting the 'third sector' as a governable terrain: partnership, (...)

52Institutionalist accounts of agency tend to focus on whether agency can occur within an institution, but the present analysis of multiple policy actors in the Partnership allows this to be extended to consider who might have agency. Extant third sector literature has highlighted concern over the government playing a state-steering role in such partnerships,65 thereby rendering the third sector a “governable terrain”.66 The current study reveals a more complex picture. The empirical analysis showed no responsibility was attributed to any partner organisation to instigate Partnership change in response to institutional failings. The upshot was a vacuum in monitoring the institutional efficacy of the Partnership and determining who was responsible for responding to this and effecting change. The analysis revealed this seeming absence of agency to instigate institutional change in response to efficacy failures was an act of agency on Welsh Government’s part to circumnavigate the institutional learning mechanism that had previously been taking place. The theoretical contribution this makes to knowledge is in recognising that any analysis of institutional change, whether towards policy change or institutional process change, not only needs to consider agency and the allocation of responsibility for this agency, but also the role that agency might have in inhibiting institutional change.

  • 67 Graham Moore, Suzanne Audrey, Mary Barker, et al. “Process evaluation of complex interventions: Med (...)
  • 68 Isabelle Engeli and Amy Mazur, “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: the politics (...)
  • 69 See Paul Chaney, “Strategic Women, Elite Advocacy and Insider Strategies: The Women's Movement and (...)
  • 70 Allan McConnell, “Policy Success, Policy Failure and Grey Areas In-Between”. Journal of Public Poli (...)
  • 71 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collab (...)

53A key tenet of social policy evaluation is the importance of the independence of the evaluator.67 In this case, those managing the policymaking mechanisms had vested interests in maintaining the status quo. As Engeli and Mazur68 recognised, evaluation processes are compromised when there is a lack of political will. However, as has been shown, the Welsh Government did not simply lack political will, they actively undermined the statutory Partnership accountability mechanisms, which indicates the Welsh Government’s agency in arresting institutional change. This inhibiting agency role is notable because it is the antithesis of “elite advocacy” or “norm entrepreneurs”, which refers to key actors who provide agency for advancing institutional change, in feminist institutionalist literature.69 McConnell70 has described how perceived failures in both policy change and processes can result in governments being driven to at least maintain political success. An indirect consequence of this drive to ensure the Partnership’s political success was for the institutional learning mechanisms to be actively neglected. This offers an explanation of why government tended to inhibit scrutiny, which has been shown here to hinder the Partnership’s ability to change. Yet, Welsh Government openly acknowledged that the agency for change should not rest with them. However, the wider third sector and also the WCVA revealed their lack of resources to instigate it. Heley and Moles71 have previously described that policy actors within such partnerships often do not have the capacity or the desire to instigate alternative ways of working, and this appeared to be the case here.

54A recommendation for practice is that it is important to build in institutional processes to ensure institutional learning and adaptation into governance mechanisms. This should be written into the formal structures with periodic review, which could coincide with the term of government office. Crucially, such institutional learning mechanisms should ensure institutional changes are expected and instigated in response. It is clear that such structures must identify who carries responsibility in order to periodically instigate these changes. These must be properly resourced, and this responsibility should sit outside of government. In the specific case of Wales, the Welsh Government and the WCVA must make better use of the institutional learning mechanisms that are already written into legislation. This should include the WCVA assuming control of the Funding and Compliance Sub-Committee from the Welsh Government. Similarly, the WCVA and Senedd Cymru should be encouraged to resume scrutiny of the Annual Report of the Third Sector Scheme.

  • 72 Rob Macmillan, “Somewhere over the rainbow third sector research in and beyond coronavirus”. Volu (...)

55One limitation of this study is that it has confined itself to the Welsh case study. An area ripe for further examination is a comparative study of how other sub-state institutional structures shape the relationship between the third sector and the state (for example, in the other devolved nations of the UK and at the meso-level across Europe and beyond). Future avenues for research could be related to this study’s examination of the role of agency in inhibiting change and could be further explored alongside more established historical institutionalist theories around how path dependency inhibits change. For example, this could be researched with respect to the coronavirus crisis or current costs of living crisis, given that Macmillan72 identified such events as macro-events whose destabilising impact has created new discourses on institutional change that may have disrupted third sector path dependencies.

56We conclude with an acknowledgement and a warning. Notwithstanding the efficacy failings of the Partnership, there is no denying the extent to which this governance mechanism is valued by its members. This Partnership continues to sustain its reputation as an innovation in inclusive governance. However, if steps are not taken to write institutional learning adaptation into its processes, then the Partnership may endure, but the singular Welsh quality that this third sector-government partnership will become known for will be its inability to instigate institutional change. This is an opportunity for its gatekeepers to instigate systemic endogenous change which would be as innovative a step as the embedding the partnership in legislation had been 25 years previously. This shift is vital to improve the Partnership’s own systems, but also ultimately to achieve inclusive policymaking that defines its fundamental purpose.

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Dean, Rikki, John, “Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation in policy decisions”. Policy and Politics 45(2) (2017), pp. 213-230.

Dunlop, Claire, A., “Policy learning and policy failure: definitions, dimensions and intersections”. Policy and politics 45(1) (2017), pp. 3-18.

Engeli, Isabelle, and Mazur, Amy, “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: the politics of gender equality policy”. European Journal of Politics and Gender 1(1-2) (2018), pp. 111-129.

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Hay, Colin, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), pp. 317‑344.

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Notes

1 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 2006. Section 74.

2 See Paul Chaney and Ralph Fevre, “Inclusive Governance and “Minority” Groups: The Role of the Third Sector in Wales”. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 12(2) (2001a), pp. 131-156; Paul Chaney and Ralph Fevre, “Ron Davies and the Cult of Inclusiveness: Devolution and Participation in Wales”. Contemporary Wales 14(1) (2001b), pp. 21-49.

3 Colin Hay “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), pp. 317-344.

4 See Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 951-957; Daniel Wincott, “Policy Change and Discourse in Europe: Can the EU Make a 'Square Meal out of a Stew of Paradox'?”, West European Politics 27(2) (2004), pp. 354-363.

5 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collaboration in Wales”. Regional science policy & practice 4(2) (2012), pp. 139-153.

6 Janet Newman, Modernising Governance New Labour, Policy and Society. (London, SAGE, 2001)

7 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collaboration in Wales”. Regional science policy & practice 4(2) (2012), pp. 139-153.

8 Gillian Bristow, Tom Entwistle, Frances Hines, et al. (2008) “New Spaces for Inclusion? Lessons from the ‘Three-Thirds’ Partnerships in Wales”. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(4): 903-921

9 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 2006. Section 74.

10 Derek Birrell, The Impact of Devolution on Social Policy. (Bristol, Policy Press, 2009).

11 Robert K Yin, Case study research : design and methods (Los Angeles, London : Sage, 2014).

12 Welsh Government Third Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, Welsh Government, 2014).

13 National Assembly for Wales, Voluntary Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, National Assembly for Wales, 2004).

14 Peter Alcock, “New Policy Spaces: The Impact of Devolution on Third Sector Policy in the UK”. Social Policy & Administration 46(2) (2012), pp. 219-238.

15 Linda Milbourne and Mike Cushman, “Complying, Transforming or Resisting in the New Austerity? Realigning Social Welfare and Independent Action among English Voluntary Organisations”. 44(3) (2015), pp. 463-485.

16 Rob Macmillan, “Decoupling the state and the third sector? The 'Big Society' as a spontaneous order”. Voluntary Sector Review 4(2) (2013), pp. 185-203.

17 Peter Alcock, “New Policy Spaces: The Impact of Devolution on Third Sector Policy in the UK”. Social Policy & Administration 46(2) (2012), pp. 219-238.

18 Paul Chaney and Daniel Wincott, “Envisioning the Third Sector's Welfare Role: Critical Discourse Analysis of ‘PostDevolution’ Public Policy in the UK 1998–2012”. Social Policy & Administration 48(7) (2014), pp. 757-781.

19 Paul Chaney, “Exploring the Pathologies of One-Party-Dominance on Third Sector Public Policy Engagement in Liberal Democracies: Evidence from Meso-Government in the UK”. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 26(4) (2015), pp. 1460-1484.

20 Vivien Lowndes, “Urban politics: institutional differentiation and entanglement”. In Pierre J, Peters BG and Stoker G (eds), Debating Institutionalism. (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2008), pp. 154-163.

21 See James March, and Johan Olsen, “The New Institutionalism: Organisational Factors in Political Life’. The American Political Science Review 78(3) (1984), pp. 734-748; Fiona Mackay, Meryl Kenny, and Louise Chappell, “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?”, International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique 31(5) (2010), pp. 573-588; Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science : The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum, 2012).

22 Walter Powell and Paul DiMaggio, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

23 See Ibid; Peter Hall and Rosemary Taylor, “Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms”. Political Studies 44(5) (1996), pp. 936-957; Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 951-957; Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum, 2012).

24 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual Review of Political Science 11: 23 (2008).

25 See Fiona Mackay, Meryl Kenny, and Louise Chappell, “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?”, International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique 31(5) (2010), pp. 573-588; Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum, 2012).

26 Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum, 2012).

27 See Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 951-957; Daniel Wincott “Policy Change and Discourse in Europe: Can the EU Make a 'Square Meal out of a Stew of Paradox'?”, West European Politics 27(2) (2004), pp. 354-363; Jon Pierre, Guy Peters and Gerry Stoker, Debating Institutionalism. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008).

28 See Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science: The New Institutionalism. (London, Continuum, 2012); Fiona Mackay, Meryl Kenny, and Louise Chappell, “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?”, International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique 31(5) (2010), pp. 573-588.

29 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual Review of Political Science 11: 23 (2008) p. 316.

30 Ibid.

31 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 951-957.

32 Ibid.

33 Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse”. Annual Review of Political Science 11: 23 (2008).

34 Roderick Rhodes, and David Marsh, “New directions in the study of policy networks”. European Journal of Political Research 21(12) (1992), pp. 181-205.

35 See Harry Jones, A Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Policy Influence. (London, Overseas Development Institute, 2011); Isabelle Engeli, and Amy Mazur, “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: the politics of gender equality policy”. European Journal of Politics and Gender 1(1-2) (2018), pp. 111-129.

36 See Michelle Betsill and Elisabeth Corell, “NGO Influence in International Environmental Negotiations: A Framework for Analysis”. Global Environmental Politics 1(4) (2001), pp. 65-85; Harry Jones, A Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Policy Influence. (London, Overseas Development Institute, 2011).

37 Vivien Schmidt, “Democracy and Legitimacy in the European Union Revisited: Input, Output and ‘Throughput’”. Political Studies 61(1) (2013), pp. 2-22.

38 Mark Suchman, “Managing Legitimacy: Strategic and Institutional Approaches”. Academy of Management Review 20(3) (1995), pp. 571-610.

39 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), pp. 317-344.

40 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), p. 324.

41 Charles E. Lindblom, “The science of “muddling” through”. Public Administration Review 19(2) (1959), pp. 79-88.

42 Guy Peters, Institutional theory: problems and prospects. In: Pierre, J., Peters, B. G. & Stoker, G. (eds.) Debating institutionalism. (Manchester: Manchester University Press. 2008) p. 13.

43 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), pp. 317-344.

44 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 954-956.

45 Walter Powell and Paul DiMaggio, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1991) p. 33.

46 Claire A Dunlop, “Policy learning and policy failure: definitions, dimensions and intersections”. Policy and politics 45(1) (2017), pp. 3-18.

47 Rachel Minto and Lut Mergaert, “Gender mainstreaming and evaluation in the EU: comparative perspectives from feminist institutionalism”. International Feminist Journal of Politics 20(2) (2018), pp. 210.

48 See Joan Acker, “Inequality Regimes Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations”. Gender and Society 20(4) (2006), pp. 441-464; Fiona Mackay, Meryl Kenny and Louise Chappell, “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?”, International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique 31(5) (2010), pp. 573-588; Isabelle Engeli and Amy Mazur, “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: the politics of gender equality policy”. European Journal of Politics and Gender 1(1-2) (2018), pp. 111-129.

49 Roderick Rhodes and David Marsh, “New directions in the study of policy networks”. European Journal of Political Research 21(12) (1992), p. 198.

50 Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott, “Structure, Agency and Historical Institutionalism”. Political Studies 46(5) (1998), pp. 951-957.

51 Rikki John Dean, “Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation in policy decisions”. Policy and politics 45(2) (2017), p. 217.

52 Katherine Smith, “Problematising power relations in ‘elite’ interviews”. Geoforum, 37, (2006) pp. 643-653.

53 Mark Garnett and Philip Lynch, Exploring British Politics. (Harlow, Pearson, 2012).

54 Jonathan Potter, “Discourse analysis as a way of analysing naturally occuring talk”. In Silverman D (ed), Qualitative Research : Theory, Method and Practice. 2nd ed. (London: SAGE Publications, 2004), pp. 200-221.

55 See Ruth Wodak, and Michael Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. (London, Thousand Oaks California: SAGE, 2001); Simon Goodman, “How to conduct a psychological discourse analysis”. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines 9(2) (2017), pp. 142-153.

56 Norman Fairclough, Analysing Discourse - textual analysis for social research. (London & New York, Routledge, 2003).

57 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), pp. 317-344.

58 Colin Hay, op. cit., p. 330.

59 Ibid.

60 Rachel Minto and Lut Mergaert, “Gender mainstreaming and evaluation in the EU: comparative perspectives from feminist institutionalism”. International Feminist Journal of Politics 20(2) (2018), p. 209.

61 UK Government, Government of Wales Act 1998. Section 114; UK Government, Government of Wales Act 2006. Section 74.

62 Welsh Government Third Sector Scheme. (Cardiff, Welsh Government, 2014).

63 Rikki John Dean, “Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation in policy decisions”. Policy and politics 45(2) (2017), p. 217.

64 Colin Hay, “Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change”. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 1(3) (1999), p. 327.

65 Gerry Stoker, “Governance as theory: five propositions”. International Social Science Journal, 50, (1998) pp. 17-28.

66 Emma Carmel, & Jenny Harlock, Instituting the 'third sector' as a governable terrain: partnership, procurement and performance in the UK. Policy & Politics, 36, (2008) pp. 155-171.

67 Graham Moore, Suzanne Audrey, Mary Barker, et al. “Process evaluation of complex interventions: Medical Research Council guidance”. BMJ : British Medical Journal 350(h1258) (2015), pp. 1-7.

68 Isabelle Engeli and Amy Mazur, “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: the politics of gender equality policy”. European Journal of Politics and Gender 1(1-2) (2018), p. 117.

69 See Paul Chaney, “Strategic Women, Elite Advocacy and Insider Strategies: The Women's Movement and Constitutional Reform in Wales”. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change 27 (2007), pp. 155-185; Rachel Minto and Alison Parken, “The European Union and Regional gender equality agendas: Wales in the shadow of Brexit”. Regional Studies 55(9) (2020), pp. 1550–1560.

70 Allan McConnell, “Policy Success, Policy Failure and Grey Areas In-Between”. Journal of Public Policy 30(3) (2010), pp. 345-362.

71 Jesse Heley and Kate Moles, “Partnership working in regions: Reflections on local government collaboration in Wales”. Regional science policy & practice 4(2) (2012), p. 143.

72 Rob Macmillan, “Somewhere over the rainbow third sector research in and beyond coronavirus”. Voluntary Sector Review, 11, (2020) p. 133.

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References

Electronic reference

Amy Sanders, “A Welsh Innovation in Inclusive Governance. Examining the Efficacy of the Statutory Third Sector-Government Partnership for Engaging the Third Sector in Policymaking”Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique [Online], XXVIII-3 | 2023, Online since 22 December 2023, connection on 21 June 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rfcb/11339; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/rfcb.11339

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About the author

Amy Sanders

Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), Aberystwyth University and Cardiff University

Amy Sanders is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD) at Aberystwyth University. This article draws on research conducted when she was a WISERD researcher based in Cardiff University. Her research interests are in civil society and the third sector, governance and policy impact, representation, equality and intersectionality.

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