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Professor Siv Vangen, Founding Director of CVSL, discusses why it’s important for those working in the Voluntary Sector.

The Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL) is a new research Centre established with a generous philanthropic gift from Anthony Nutt.

Over the last decade, the voluntary sector has been increasingly challenged by austerity measures and the shifting expectations of what support the voluntary sector can, could and should provide. Smaller organisations, which form the majority of the sector, have been particularly impacted by this increasingly unstable environment. Leaders and senior managers of organisations, whether paid or unpaid, are required to operate in a highly competitive, increasingly commercialised context.

The Centre will build on existing specialist research expertise and capability in the voluntary sector, public leadership corporate social responsibility and social enterprise to:

  • Establish The Open University Business School as a trusted source of expertise in leadership development thinking for the voluntary sector in the UK.

  • Lead on new areas of research where there are significant leadership knowledge and solutions-based gaps.

  • Provide free and flexible leadership development opportunities that meet the priority needs of the sector.

  • Ensure that all best practice and new thinking is disseminated as effectively as possible.

The Centre will seek to work collaboratively with stakeholder groups across academic, practitioner and policy communities with the view to advance understanding of the complexity of the problems organisations are facing, the ambiguities pertaining to stakeholders’ responsibilities and accountabilities, and the dynamics caused by ever changing public policies on matters that affect the work of voluntary organisations.