Blog: “The Role of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector?” by Clarity CIC

We’d really welcome any views you have on Sarah Tagagon of Clarity CIC‘s latest blog, in which she  asks whether the VCSE sector is enabling successive governments and decision-makers not to tackle the big challenges faced by society by providing solutions that put a sticking plaster over issues rather than confronting them.

If you have any thoughts on this challenging issue, we’d love to hear them. Please email any comments to and we’ll pass them on to Sarah and Stephen (Woollett) at Clarity. 

“The Role of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector”

“There seems to be an assumption now (across all political parties) that the VCSE will somehow ‘pick up’ the fallout from Government decisions and lack of investment in statutory provision.

“And they do. Or they try to.  But is this really the role that the Sector should be holding?  How can charities and social enterprises innovate when they are having to pick up people in crisis, and solve huge social issues with no extra resource.   The statutory sector is referring into the sector at a great rate – think benefit system referrals to food banks, or CAMHS referring to local youth charities.

“It is great (for example) that there are foodbanks for those in poverty; local youth charities to offer therapeutic support to young people when the statutory services don’t even accept them onto their books; and social enterprises giving excellent support to people with dementia, in a ways that statutory services can’t begin to offer. 

“But is this a sticking plaster that means that the big questions don’t get asked?  As a sector, are we enabling a society that doesn’t really look at the big challenges because there is a VCSE organisation who picks up the slack?  Are we providing solutions that cover up the issues with the current statutory services and within society rather than solving them?  Could the sector leave people in crisis to suffer short term to highlight the issues?  How can the sector keep filling these gaps when there is no more resource available?

I have many questions… and would love to hear your views.”

Clarity CIC enables social purpose organisations, including community groups, charities and social enterprises to be effective, sustainable and well-run. It helps organisations solve everyday problems, build their own capability, think and act strategically and demonstrate the value of their work.