Debate: redefining the role of the state

Duncan McTavish

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

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There have been three broad boundary definitions explaining the borders of the state, third sector and civil society in the UK in the last 100 years or so. First is the pre 1930s (relatively) small state, albeit substantially increased by military expenditures up to and through two world wars, but with a limited if growing range of social and welfare provision: the space thus existing was occupied by the voluntary and charitable sector, philanthropy and civil society outwith the state. In some UK cities major healthcare and hospital provision was
provided by this sector, sometimes in association with local authorities and overseen by Boards, Guardians and others, pretty much independent of the state and often funded locally. Second has been the post 1940s social investment and welfare provision underwritten by the state and largely delivered through central and local government institutions. This led to the nationalisation and growth of services with civil society’s and third sector’s roles delimited within the ‘welfare state’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-78
Number of pages3
JournalPublic Money and Management
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2017


  • debate
  • role of the state
  • third sector
  • broad boundary definitions


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