ePapers Repository

“Very small, very quiet, a whisper…” – Black and Minority Ethnic groups: voice and influence

Ware, Phil (2013) “Very small, very quiet, a whisper…” – Black and Minority Ethnic groups: voice and influence. Working Paper. Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), Birmingham.

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives .


URL of Published Version: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/documents/tsrc/working-papers/working-paper-103.pdf


The Black and Minority Ethnic Voluntary and Community Sector (BME VCS) in the UK has largely emerged and developed since the 1950s. This paper raises questions about the nature and coherence of a distinctive BME sector, if indeed it exists as such, and considers its voice and influence. The present political and economic climate has provided significant challenges for many third sector organisations, so this paper is about exploring how BME organisations are faring in this context.
Key elements of the current context are the economic downturn and the introduction of austerity measures which have impacted on funding opportunities, particularly from statutory sources as support from local authorities, in particular, has been adversely affected. Many organisations in the sector were originally funded, and subsequently maintained, through a range of Area Based Initiatives (ABI) funding streams such as the Inner City Partnership and successor programmes. Such funding streams have been completely curtailed. Additionally, the current political context has made many managers and employees in BME organisations feel their work is less valued than previously. For example initiatives such as the Single Equalities Act, have led to many in the BME VCS feeling their effective contribution has been constrained and diluted, through being one of a range of equalities covered by the Act, rather than being covered by specific legislation, as was the case previously.
The aim of the research was to test out how the BME VCS was faring in relation to voice and influence in the current context by interviewing a range of staff of BME voluntary and strategic organisations. Specifically the research set out to identify:
 whether there is a BME Sector as such and, if so, its characteristics;
 the extent of differences between longer established BME communities and those formed by more recently arrived refugees and migrants;
 the perceived extent of the voice and influence of the BME organisations, both within the Community and Voluntary Sector and wider policy circles;
 the resilience of BME organisations in the face of the current economic and political challenges. What strategies are they using to survive develop or influence?

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Social Policy, Third Sector Research Centre

Abbas, M.S. and Lachman, R. (2012) The Big Society: The Big Divide? JUST West Yorkshire, Bradford.
Afridi, A. (2007) Performance and Race Equality Project Research Report, brap, Birmingham.
Afridi, A. and Warmington, J. (2009) The Pied Piper, brap, Birmingham.
Allen, C. (2010) Islamophobia, Ashgate, Farnham.
Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2010) ‘Struggles for Institutional Space in France and the UK: Inter-sectionality and the Politics of Policy’, Politics & Gender, 6 (4): 517-44.
brap (2011) Changing Faces, Changing Places, brap, Birmingham.
Cabinet Office (2010) Making it easier to set up and run a charity, social enterprise, or voluntary organisation, Cabinet Office, London.
Cantle, T. (2001) Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team, Home Office, London.
Capacitybuilders (2009) Evaluation of ChangeUp 2004–2008: summative evaluation, TSRC, Birmingham.
Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and Centre for Local Policy Studies (CLPS) (2012) Open for All? The changing Nature of Equality under Big Society and Localism, CLES and CLPS, Manchester.
Churches Community Work Alliance (CCWA) (2011) What is Community Capacity Building? CCWA, London.
Clarke, J., Kane, D., Wilding, K. and Bass, P. (2012) UK Civil Society Almanac, NCVO, London.
Craig, C. (2011) ‘Forward to the Past: Can the UK black and minority ethnic third sector survive?’, Voluntary Sector Review, 2 (3): 367-89.
De Lima, P. (2001) Needs not numbers – an exploration of ethnic minority communities in Scotland, Commission for Racial for Racial Equality and Community Development Foundation, London.
Fawcett Society (2013) Red Tape, Red Line: five reasons why government should not “drop its duty” to tackle women’s equality, Fawcett Society, London.
Guardian Society (July 24 2013) ‘Charities: we’ve got five years left, at best’, The Guardian, London.
Hepple, B. (2010) The New Single Equality Act in Britain, The Equal Rights Review, Volume Five.
Kendall, J. (2003) The Voluntary Sector – Comparative perspectives in the UK, Routledge, London.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2012) Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2012, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York.
Lachman, R. and Malik, F. (2012) West Yorkshire Public Sector Cuts: The Impact on the BME Voluntary and Community Sector, JUST West Yorkshire and University of Leeds, Leeds/Bradford.
Mashjari, K. (2013) ‘The Black And Minority Ethnic voluntary sector needs to get wise quick to deal with turbulent times ahead’, North West Voluntary and Community Sector website, accessed January 30th 2013, .
Macmillan, R. and Buckingham, H. (2013) A Strategic Lead for the Third Sector? TSRC Third Sector Futures Dialogues, Big Picture Paper 5, Birmingham.
Mayblin, L. and Soteri-Proctor, A. (2011) The Black Minority Ethnic Third Sector: a resource paper, TSRC Working Paper 58, TSRC, Birmingham.
McCabe, A. and Phillimore, J. (2011) All Change? Surviving below the Radar in a Big Society’, TSRC Working Paper 87, TSRC, Birmingham.
Mohan, J. (2011) Mapping the Big Society: perspectives from the Third Sector Research Centre, TSRC Working Paper 62, TSRC, Birmingham.
Mohan, J. (2012) ‘Geographical Foundations of the Big Society’, Environment and Planning, 44 ():.
Office for National Statistics (ONC) (2012) Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales 2011, ONC, London.
Phillimore, J. (2011) ‘Approaches to health provision in the age of super-diversity: Accessing the NHS in Britain’s most diverse city’, Critical Social Policy, 31 ():.
Phillimore, J. and Cheung, S. (2013) The role of social capital in refugee integration, Nuffield Foundation, London.
Race on the Agenda (ROTA) (2009) The Economic Downturn and the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Third Sector, ROTA, London.
Rees, J., Taylor, R. and Damm, C. (2013) Does sector matter? The experiences of providers in the Work Programme, TSRC Working Paper 92, TSRC, Birmingham.
Stokes, E. (2011) The Impact of the Economic Downturn on BAME Education Services, ROTA, London.
Yeung, W. (2010) Report on the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Black and Minority Third Sector Organisations, Council of Ethnic Minority Organisations (CEMVO), London.

Date:October 2013
Keywords:Black and Minority Ethnic, Voluntary and Community Sector, Voice and Influence.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:Economic and Social Research Council , Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Copyright Status:CC-BY-NC-ND
Copyright Holders:Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC)
ID Code:1857

Export Reference As : ASCII + BibTeX + Dublin Core + EndNote + HTML + METS + MODS + OpenURL Object + Reference Manager + Refer + RefWorks
Share this item :
QR Code for this page

Repository Staff Only: item control page