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Dr Rob Macmillan BA(Hons), MA, PhD

Principal Research Fellow


Summary

Rob Macmillan is a Principal Research Fellow at CRESR - the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. He joined Sheffield Hallam University in June 2017 from the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) at the University of Birmingham.

He has over 20 years' experience of researching aspects of the third sector, voluntary and community action and community development in collaboration with other academics and researchers, policy makers and funders, and with key third sector organisations. From an inter-disciplinary background in social policy, politics, political economy and sociology, his main research interests are around the long term qualitative dynamics and contested politics of voluntary action, theoretical understandings of voluntary action, in particular the development and application of field theory in the third sector, the awkward relationships between markets, the state and the third sector, and a longstanding interest in the changing field of capacity building and third sector support infrastructure.

About

Rob has been co-investigator on two recent ESRC-funded research projects: (1) 'Change in the Making' (2016-2020, with colleagues at the University of Birmingham), a qualitative longitudinal investigation of organisational change in voluntary action, which builds upon an earlier programme of qualitative longitudinal research ('Real Times') with a diverse set of case studies of voluntary action; and (2) 'Discourses of Voluntary Action' (2017-2019, with colleagues in the Universities of Northumbria, Birmingham, Southampton, and University College, London), involving a comparison of debates on the role and position of voluntary action in social welfare in the 1940s and the 2010s - two transformative moments in the development of social welfare provision in England.

He is also involved in 'Our Bigger Story', the longitudinal multi-media evaluation of the Big Local programme (funded by Local Trust, and led by the University of Birmingham), and co-directs a long term evaluation of Power to Change's 'market development' work.

Rob's research has primarily been funded through the ESRC, but has also been supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, national and local voluntary organisations, and government departments.

He is part of Sheffield Hallam University's Voluntary Action Research Group (VARG), and a member of several external research and evaluation advisory groups.

  • Third Sector
  • Voluntary and Community Action
  • Public Service Markets
  • Community Development
  • Qualitative Longitudinal Methods

Research

2015-2022 Our Bigger Story: longitudinal multi-media evaluation of Big Local. Local Trust, Role: Evaluation team member.

2019-2022 Market Development - Evaluation and Learning Support, Power to Change. Role: Co-director.

2016-2020 Change in the making: a dynamic and relational landscape of voluntary action, ESRC. Role: Co-Investigator.

2017-2019 Discourses of Voluntary Action at two 'Transformational Moments' of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010s, ESRC. Role: Co-Investigator.

Selected research projects

‘TrackTR: Tracking the VCS in Transforming Rehabilitation’
(Clinks, 2015 – 2017, with Clinks, NCVO and Open University)
A partnership project led by Clinks which follows the experiences of voluntary and community organisations through the major ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ reforms to probation services. 

‘Understanding the role of diagnosis in the Voluntary and Community Sector’
(University of Birmingham, 2016 - 2017)
Using insights from market devices and performativity theory, this research examines the design, role, use and (latent) impact of diagnostic organisational health tools amongst medium sized voluntary and community organisations.

‘Our Bigger Story: longitudinal multi-media evaluation of Big Local’
(Local Trust, 2015 – 2017, with the University of Birmingham)
The first stage of a ten year multi-media evaluation of the 'Big Local' community-based regeneration programme, using creative visual data collection and interaction techniques - film, audio, photography and elicitation. 

Building Capabilities Scoping Study
(Big Lottery Fund, 2013-2014, University of Birmingham and CRESR)
A study to inform the emerging 'Building Capabilities' agenda within the Big Lottery Fund, based on an extensive literature review, a market mapping survey and stakeholder workshops. 

Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), University of Birmingham
(ESRC, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Cabinet Office, University of Birmingham, 2009-2015)
Coordinating the qualitative longitudinal 'Real Times' research programme, alongside work on the third sector delivering public services, third sector leadership, capacity building and infrastructure, and as research lead for TSRC Third Sector Futures Dialogue (2012-2013).

Collaborators

  • Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), University of Birmingham ('Change in the Making', 2016-2020; 'Discourses of Voluntary Action', 2017-2019; and 'Our Bigger Story', 2015-2017)
  • University of Northumbria, University of Southampton and University College, London ('Discourses of Voluntary Action', 2017-2019)
  • Clinks, NCVO and Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL), Open University ('TrackTR', 2015-2017) 

Sponsors

Currently 

  • Economic and Social Research Council

Previously

  • Big Lottery Fund
  • Local Trust
  • Ministry of Justice/NOMS
  • Home Office
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • NAVCA
  • NCVO

Publications

Journal articles

Macmillan, R., & Ellis Paine, A. (2020). The third sector in a strategically selective landscape - the case of commissioning public services. Journal of Social Policy. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279420000355

Macmillan, R. (2020). Somewhere over the rainbow – third sector research in and beyond coronavirus. Voluntary Sector Review, 11 (2), 129-136. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080520X15898833964384

Milofsky, C., Rees, J., Kamerade, D., Halfpenny, P., Alcock, P., Pharoah, C., ... Macmillan, R. (2020). Ten years of Voluntary Sector Review. Voluntary Sector Review, 11 (3), 265-269. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080520X15983798469424

Bennett, E., Coule, T., Damm, C., Dayson, C., Dean, J., & Macmillan, R. (2019). Civil society strategy: A policy review. Voluntary sector review, 10 (2), 213-223. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080519X15617330887624

Dayson, C., Macmillan, R., Paine, A.E., & Sanderson, E. (2017). Third sector capacity building : the institutional embeddedness of supply. Voluntary Sector Review, 8 (2), 149-168. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080517X14896680067107

Cornforth, C., & Macmillan, R. (2016). Evolution in Board Chair-CEO relationships: A negotiated order perspective. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45 (5), 949-970. http://doi.org/10.1177/0899764015622705

Acheson, N., Macmillan, R., & Harris, B. (2016). Editorial. Voluntary Sector Review, 7 (1), 3-4. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080516X14556322623429

Macmillan, R., & Walton, C. (2015). What’s the problem? The role of diagnosis in building the capacity of voluntary and community organisations. Voluntary Sector Review, 6 (3), 325-332. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080515X14473387455149

Macmillan, R., & Livingstone, I. (2015). More than a provider: the voluntary sector and market diversity in criminal justice. Voluntary Sector Review, 6 (2), 221-230. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080515X14351477944808

Macmillan, R., & Scott, A. (2003). On the case? Dilemmas of collaborative research. Area, 35 (1), 101-105. http://doi.org/10.1111/1475-4762.00115

Beatty, C., Fothergill, S., & MacMillan, R. (2000). A theory of employment, unemployment and sickness. Regional Studies, 34 (7), 617-630. http://doi.org/10.1080/00343400050178429

Book chapters

Macmillan, R., & Kendall, J. (2019). The moving frontier and beyond: The third sector and social policy. In Social Policy Review 31: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2019. (pp. 177-195).

Macmillan, R. (2017). Capacity building for competition: the role of infrastructure in third sector service delivery. In Rees, J., & Mullins, D. (Eds.) The third sector delivering public services: Developments, innovations and challenges. (pp. 107-125). Bristol: Policy Press: https://policypress.co.uk/the-third-sector-delivering-public-services

Macmillan, R. (2017). Talking up the voluntary sector in criminal justice: market making in rehabilitation. In Rees, J., & Mullins, D. (Eds.) The third sector delivering public services: Developments, innovations and challenges. (pp. 237-256). Bristol: Policy Press: https://policypress.co.uk/the-third-sector-delivering-public-services

Macmillan, R. (2016). Talking up the voluntary sector in criminal justice: Market making in rehabilitation. In The Third Sector Delivering Public Services: Developments, Innovations and Challenges. (pp. 233-256).

Taylor, R., Arvidson, M., Macmillan, R., Soteri-Proctor, A., & Teasdale, S. (2014). What's in it for us? Consent, access and the meaning of research in a qualitative longitudinal study. In Camfield, L. (Ed.) Methodological challenges and new approaches to research in international development. (pp. 38-58). Palgrave Macmillan: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137293619

Macmillan, R., & Townsend, A. (2006). A ‘new institutional fix’? The ‘community turn’ and the changing role of the voluntary sector. In MILLIGAN, C., & CONRADSON, D. (Eds.) Landscapes of voluntarism: new spaces of health, welfare and governance. (pp. 15-32). Bristol: Policy Press: http://www.policypress.org.uk/

Yeandle, S., & Macmillan, R. (2003). The role of health in labour market detachment. In Work to Welfare How Men Become Detached from the Labour Market. (pp. 187-205). http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511488955.009

Macmillan, R. (2003). Getting by. In Work to Welfare How Men Become Detached from the Labour Market. (pp. 206-227). http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511488955.010

Alcock, P., Beatty, C., Fothergill, S., Macmillan, R., & Yeandle, S. (2003). New roles, new deal. In Work to Welfare How Men Become Detached from the Labour Market. (pp. 251-268). http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511488955.012

Fothergill, S., & Macmillan, R. (2003). Back to work? In Work to Welfare How Men Become Detached from the Labour Market. (pp. 228-248). http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511488955.011

Books

Alcock, P., Beatty, C., Fothergill, S., Macmillan, R., & Yeandle, S. (2003). Work to welfare: how men become detached from the labour market. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521802499

Reports

Dobson, J., Harris, C., & Macmillan, R. (2021). Network Support: Community business peer networking before and during coronavirus. Power to Change. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/network-support-community-business-peer-networking-before-and-during-coronavirus

McCabe, A., Wilson, M., & Macmillan, R. (2021). Building on local learning about big local in 2020. TSRC. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/building-on-local-learning-about-big-local-in-2020

Wells, P., Macmillan, R., & Dobson, J. (2020). Food for thought: Understanding market development in the community business sector. Community Fund. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/food-for-thought-understanding-market-development-in-the-community-business-sector

Walton, C., & Macmillan, R. (2014). A brave new world for voluntary sector infrastructure? Vouchers, markets and demand-led capacity building. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/documents/tsrc/working-papers/working-paper-118.pdf

Macmillan, R., Ellis-Paine, A., Kara, H., Dayson, C., Sanderson, E., & Wells, P. (2014). Building Capabilities in the Voluntary Sector: What the evidence tells us. Third Sector Research Centre. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/building-capabilities-in-the-voluntary-sector-what-the-evidence-tells-us

Wells, P., Batty, E., Pearson, S., Dayson, C., Platts-Fowler, D., Trinnaman, J., ... Macmillan, R. (2010). Evaluation of the South Yorkshire Social Infrastructure Programme - Report A: Summary Report. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/evaluation-of-the-south-yorkshire-social-infrastructure-programme---report-a-summary-report

Wells, P., Dayson, C., & Macmillan, R. (2010). Evaluation of the South Yorkshire Social Infrastructure Programme - Report B: Changing Policy Agendas and Contexts. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/evaluation-of-the-south-yorkshire-social-infrastructure-programme---report-b

Wells, P., Dayson, C., & Macmillan, R. (2009). Evaluation of the South Yorkshire Social Infrastructure Programme - Report J: Evaluation Framework. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/evaluation-of-the-south-yorkshire-social-infrastructure-programme---report-j-evaluation-framework

Fletcher, D., Gore, T., Macmillan, R., Batty, E., & Pearson, S. (2008). Qualitative evaluation of the Jobseeker Mandatory Activity (JMA). Department for Work and Pensions; Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/qualitative-evaluation-of-the-jobseeker-mandatory-activity-jma

Coule, T., Pearson, S., & Macmillan, R. (2008). Valuing the Voluntary and Community Sector in Rotherham in 2008. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/valuing-the-voluntary-and-community-sector-in-rotherham-in-2008

Coule, T., Pearson, S., & Macmillan, R. (2008). Valuing the Voluntary and Community Sector in Rotherham in 2008: Summary. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/valuing-the-voluntary-and-community-sector-in-rotherham-in-2008-summary

Pearson, S., Batty, E., & Macmillan, R. (2006). The future of neighbourhood-level infrastructure in Rotherham. Voluntary Action Rotherham.

Macmillan, R. (2006). Part of the Picture: The Voluntary and Community Sector across South Yorkshire - Executive Summary. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/part-of-the-picture-the-voluntary-and-community-sector-across-south-yorkshire---executive-summary

Macmillan, R. (2006). Part of the Picture: The Voluntary and Community Sector across South Yorkshire. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/part-of-the-picture-the-voluntary-and-community-sector-across-south-yorkshire

Macmillan, R. (2006). A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Benefits of Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/a-rapid-evidence-assessment-of-the-benefits-of-voluntary-and-community-sector-infrastructure

Macmillan, R. (2005). Mapping the Voluntary and Community Sector across South Yorkshire: a scoping study. Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/mapping-the-voluntary-and-community-sector-across-south-yorkshire-a-scoping-study

Macmillan, R. (2004). Shaping the future...The development of voluntary and community sector infrastructure in County Durham. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www.shu.ac.uk/centre-regional-economic-social-research/publications/shaping-the-future-the-development-of-voluntary-and-community-sector-infrastructure-in-county-durham

Pearson, S., Macmillan, R., Alcock, P., Vincent, J., & Harrow, J. (1999). Making funding work: Funding regimes and local voluntary organisations. Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Other activities

Rob is currently a member of

  • the IPPR North Future of Civil Society in the North Advisory Group
  • Home-Start UK's Research Advisory Group
  • the Advice Services Alliance Standing Committee on Advice Research and Evaluation 

Previously he has been a Commissioner on the NAVCA-supported 'Change for Good' Independent Inquiry on the Future of Voluntary Sector Infrastructure (2013-2014), and a member of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales 'Value of Small Charities' Research Advisory Group.

Postgraduate supervision

Bruce Moore (2016)
Vita Terry (2017)

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