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The influence of national competition policy in reshaping human service delivery

Mwaiteleke, Pendo (2007) The influence of national competition policy in reshaping human service delivery. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis sets out to look at the influence of Australia’s National Competition Policy reform in reshaping human services. In trying to understand this influence, the research explores the main threads of National Competition Policy – including concepts of contestable markets, Competitive Neutrality and Competitive Tendering and Contracting. It also notes the dominance of neoclassical economics and public choice theories underpinning the framing of this reform.

More specifically, the work tracks down the way in which National Competition Policy is impacting on human service delivery through using particular contractual arrangements with non-government providers in a bid to foster value for money through competition and market choice arrangements. This part of the research rests on two case studies, an employment assistance service (Labour Market Programs) known as Job Network and a crisis accommodation service (Supported Accommodation Assistance Program - SAAP). Through them the thesis explores and locates the parameters and the terms under which federal and state funding is accessed and the new organisational arrangements which regulate the terms of client treatment and the scope of professional practice.

In theoretical terms, the thesis draws on mainly a governmentality literature to illuminate the emerging modes of neo-liberal governance, particular attention is given to patterns of self regulation and the conditions governing distant actors.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor: Harris, Patricia and Abernethie, Loraine Isobelle
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