Glasgow’s third sector is showing signs of struggling

Glasgow’s third sector is showing signs of struggling
Third Force News, by Paul Cardwell


There are signs Glasgow’s third sector workforce is beginning to struggle due to a combination of reduced funding and increased demand for services a new report has claimed.


Researchers from Glasgow Centre for Population Health’s (GCPH) interviewed 163 workers from 71 organisations on working conditions, organisational changes and support available to them to write their Changing nature of work in the third sector in Glasgow report.


They found 80% of organisations have seen an increase in demand for services over the last year despite 70% of organisations reporting an increase in tightening expenditure constraints.


One in 10 organisations reported a decrease in quality of their services due to demand and a “small number” of workers reported they had passed a "tipping point" of demoralisation and depletion.


Researchers also found some evidence that work place benefits and pay were deteriorating and suggested the danger is that this will increase as cuts get bigger and funding gets smaller.


Worryingly, the majority of those questioned reported feeling stressed and having a work overload. Around 8% of the workforce were also said to earn below £263 per week and are classed as living in poverty.


Despite the challenging conditions researchers found that the majority of third sector workers in Glasgow did however get “some satisfaction” from their role and the majority still felt their pay and conditions “adequately reflected” the effort they put in at work.


“The third sector workforce is unlike the workforce in other sectors in terms of the way they work,” the report’s authors said.


“Challenging times in communities mean that those in third sector organisations work harder to address these challenges in the face of adversity.


“Many in the workforce are maintaining their significant motivation despite these pressures, and the jobs provide many of them with terms and conditions they consider fair and many of the features of ‘good jobs’ in terms of flexibility, autonomy and purpose.


“However, we identified a number of organisations and individuals for whom the scale of the pressures was reaching – or had already reached – a tipping point, and there are indications that, if the financial and demand trends are sustained, more individuals and organisations may reach this point.


“It is important that funders are aware of these trends and that funders and the third sector work closely together both to maintain a close oversight of these trends and their impact and costs, but also to develop effective ways forward which can sustain the vital role played by the third sector in supporting the most vulnerable citizens in the city.”