In recent years, the emphasis of the New Labour government on partnership and civil renewal has opened up new governance spaces in the UK. These spaces have provided new opportunities for voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) but also posed new dilemmas. This article draws on research into the role of these organisations in the policy process, exploring how open the new spaces are, who is engaged in them and what scope for influence they offer. It concludes that, while there is room for optimism, operating in these new spaces can be risky and challenging. It welcomes the growing dialogue between North and South and the resource that this offers for negotiating the challenges they pose.
IDS Bulletin - Vol 35 No 2, pp. 67-75 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2004.tb00123.x]