Third sector organisations: multilevel enactors of widening participation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Alongside universities, there are an increasing number of 'third sector' organisations actively involved in shaping widening participation (WP). In partnering with universities, employers and collaborative programmes like Uni Connect, they are responsible for delivering on institutional and national policy objectives around WP, as well as accountable to their own organisational missions. Despite being part of established practice in WP, with their activities praised by policymakers, their roles and practices are rarely considered in assessments of WP activity. In comparison with universities, they can experience different expectations, challenges and opportunities and can also have separate agendas driven by their missions and organisational sustainability. This chapter explores how these organisations have emerged, the roles that they have created for themselves and how they have attempted to sustain or develop these. It traces how these organisations have emerged as key players in national and institutional policy and draws on interviews with third sector leaders and practitioners to understand how WP is understood and done outside higher education providers (HEPs).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe business of widening participation
Subtitle of host publicationpolicy, practice and culture
EditorsColin McNab, Jon Rainford, Ruth Squire
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781800430495
ISBN (Print)9781800430501
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Evaluation
  • Expertise
  • Hybrid organisations
  • Networks
  • Philanthropy
  • Policy enactment
  • Third sector
  • Widening participation


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