Income & funding of Welsh Voluntary sector post austerity – Wales Public Services 2025
The impact on statutory public services of the UK Government’s austerity policy since 2010 has been analysed in a number of studies but there has been less attention to the voluntary sector. This is an initial, short study of the recent changes in the income and funding sources of the voluntary sector in Wales – with a particular focus on voluntary organisations based in Wales which deliver public services, as distinct from services delivered by the public sector.
The study relies on published data for the most part, from the WCVA, NCVO, Welsh Government and other sources. To supplement the published data, we have also analysed the annual accounts of 82 Welsh-based organisations whose turnover ranges between £500,000 and £5 million to track changes in income between 2009-10 (i.e. before the austerity policy was introduced) and 2016-17. The sample does not include registered social landlords, because of their distinctive trading model and regulatory environment. It is important to emphasise that the study offers a window into the resourcing of the voluntary sector but it is far from comprehensive.
The sector is extensive and highly diverse: this study is primarily focussed on just one part. There are also limitations to the published data on voluntary sector finances as a whole, much of which only extends to 2014-15. This report uses both terms of voluntary and third sector under the definition of the first one: ‘formal organisations having an institutionalised character, constitutionally independent of the state which are self-governing; non-profit distributing, and involve some degree of voluntarism’, excluding the political parties, religious congregations, trade unions, universities, schools, sports and social clubs, and business associations (Kendall, 2003).
The report uses the acronym ‘VSOs’ and focuses on organisations which are mostly charities, i.e. institution established for charitable purposes for the public benefit (UK Government, 2018).