The Community Funding Agency and the voluntary sector : a study in purchase of service contracting in the Otago/Southland region
The research is focused on purchase of service contracting in the Otago/Southland region - from 1992 to 1998. For the purpose of this research, purchase of service contracting is defined as purchase of social services by the Community Funding Agency from the voluntary organisations in the Otago/Southland region. The aim of the research is to examine the potential of purchase of service contracting as an effective policy instrument. The research is based on a comprehensive study of the success and failure of purchase of service contracting in helping the voluntary organisations in the Otago/Southland region and the Community Funding Agency attain ten specific objectives, namely: - achievement of a genuine partnership between the purchaser and the providers; -increase in the quantity of services; -improvement in the quality of programmes; -decrease in the cost of production; -responsiveness to the changes in the demands of users; - acceptance of accountability requirements by both parties to the contract; -empowerment of clients and their communities; -clarity of contractual terms and conditions; -transparency of the contracting process; and -fair and just distribution of resources and outputs. The findings of the research, whose theoretical foundation is provided by a set of economic and administrative doctrines, are based on the information collected from a) the responses of fifty-seven participating voluntary organisations to the questionnaire mailed to them, b) face-to-face, open-ended interviews with twenty-eight voluntary sector managers and the three outreach workers operating in the Otago/Southland region at the time of writing, and c) informal discussion with eight people formerly associated with the Community Funding Agency at senior management level. The data obtained through field research are verified with prevailing literature -local and international. The research suggests that the protagonists of purchase of service contracting outnumber its opponents. While many of the advocates observe that purchase of service contracting needs to be improved upon, they conceive at the same time that it is beneficial for the voluntary organisations in Otago/Southland region as well as the Community Funding Agency and, broadly speaking, has the capacity to contribute to the creation of a public sector that works better and costs less. Even a number of critics consider purchase of service contracting to be occasionally helpful for the purchaser.
Advisor: Rudd, Chris; Wood, Antony; Poletti, Elena
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Political Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis