After a century in which charities suspected the motives of cynical business people, and business people dismissed the contributions of amateur volunteers, the two sectors are coming together today as never before. The third sector has increased its business capacity through the experience gained from a decade of providing commissioned services to the public sector. Society today expects employers to do more to engage with both communities and good causes and the business case for doing so can be and is being made. But business also realises that charities do conscience better than they can and so co-working is increasingly being sought. In Partners for Good, Tom Levitt points the way to successful partnerships at local, national and international levels. There is now even an agreed international standard on what constitutes the social responsibility obligations of organisations operating in all sectors, in all parts of the world, over and above international legal frameworks. Sustainability today refers to the triple bottom line (financial, social, environmental) rather than being a green concept alone. On the down side, grants and other funding opportunities provided by governments to the third sector over the last ten years are suddenly ending and support structures are disappearing. The incentives for forging successful and sustainable win:win partnerships between businesses and charities in the new Big Society are therefore high, however demanding the time scale on offer.
"Although "politics" has become a notion that society wants to keep at bay, nothing is politically neutral; it is good for the progressive cause that Tom Levitt is playing such a key role in helping to steer fourth sector interactions in a genuinely inclusive and cooperative direction. Partners for Good sets out a clear agenda for this."
- Dr Henry B. Tam, Director, Forum for Youth Participation & Democracy, University of Cambridge
"Tom Levitt has written an erudite and timely book on the changing relationships and boundaries between the business, public and third sectors. It should be read by those responsible for a wide range of public policies from "big society" to personalisation of public services and localism - and it should also be read by those involved in their implementation. Some of the major barriers to effective cross-sector collaboration are a result of a lack of mutual respect and a general misunderstanding of the accountabilities, governance, values and objectives of other sectors, and different cultures. Levitt gets behind these high-level statements to identify their origins and more importantly, he draws on practical examples of where and how these barriers have been overcome."
- The Guardian, Guardian Professional
"Never have we more needed a willingness to think and act differently for the common good. Tom Levitt, a shrewd observer of the public sphere, chronicles the changing space between corporations, charities and government. Evidence of past, present and future partnerships between what some see as polar opposite sectors - the charitable and the corporate - helps to dispel the ignorance, cynicism and suspicion which so often clouds discussion of these fruitful relationships. Rich with examples of success, Partners for Good is timely, refreshing and important."
- Dame Suzi Leather
"An excellent navigation through the fog of private, public and voluntary sector coalescence which highlights the huge mutual benefit of getting cross-sector partnerships right as well as the significant current untapped opportunities."
- Pam Webb, Head of Zurich Community Trust (UK) Ltd
"I think it is important that people of your experience and background do share their thought leadership in a structured and referable way. It was very interesting to see how you have pulled it all together and was challenging to all of us in places. Congratulations on a well presented and important publication. "
- John Low, Chief Executive, Charities Aid Foundation
Contents: Preface; Who do they think they are?; A word about history; Social responsibility and the corporate sector' The fourth sector; Regulating partnerships: taking risks; Partnerships in the developing world; Partnerships and challenges in the Big Society; Bibliography; Index.