There are complex policy and practice issues as well as tensions in where responsibility lies in relation to mental health needs of children in the care of the state in the UK. Collaboration across many organisations and leadership from key individuals in the system are essential for the needs of these most vulnerable children to be better met. There is a moral imperative and a financial incentive to getting this right. Alison O’Sullivan explores the role of corporate parenting at a time of increased focus on meeting the mental health needs of children in the UK, making the case for improved mental health support for children in the care of the state as an important part of the solution.Read More
The start of 2017 has been marked by growing tensions between socially disparate forces eager to disentangle from the decades-long pervasiveness of neoliberalism, and the political forces that conspire to maintain the status quo. Social Policy Whisperer Professor Paul Smyth outlines the growing global policy momentum towards 'inclusive growth' and 'shared prosperity', and examines implications for how Australia's voluntary sector might engage in an anything-but-orderly transition.Read More
Specialised health and human services have ‘credence attributes’ that make it difficult for users to discern the quality of care they receive. Thu-Trang Tran from the University of Melbourne argues that recent behavioural economic research and theories on the credence attributes of goods and services fundamentally challenge assumptions underpinning the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for the future of human services and add another layer of important considerations that must be factored into any design of market and regulatory reforms.Read More
Some have suggested that vocational education and training in Australia provides an exemplar for the further marketisation they urge within health, community and educational services. But is a reality check in order?
David Freeman has worked on Australian skill reform resources and research since 1993. He is currently completing a history of its three decades to 2016.Read More
What impact does competition have on the social services sector? Does it help or hinder our ability to serve the needs of Australia's most vulnerable? Today’s contribution comes from Professor Robyn Keast, who is the Chair of Collaborative Research Network Policy and Planning for Regional Sustainability, and located at the Southern Cross University.Read More
With the Productivity Commission inquiry into human services examining 'competition, contestability and informed user choice', the sector faces further transformation as part of a 'marketisation' agenda. Social Policy Whisperer Prof Paul Smyth argues the time is ripe for a 're-invigoration' of the sector.Read More
According to Victoria’s Secretary of Premier and Cabinet Chris Eccles, Victoria will take a lead in the development of a new social governance model based not on the ‘consumer’ but the ‘citizen’, while leveraging the distinctive value-adds of the three sectors. This post by Social Policy Whisperer Prof Paul Smyth reflects on what now seems the terminal decline of the Treasury-PC’s 1980s-90s governance model and invites speculation on where the Victorian initiative might lead.Read More
It has been more than twenty years since the Australian Government opened case management services for the long-term unemployed to the market, laying the foundation for its now fully privatised employment services system. The system is cited as a successful model of outsourced service delivery in the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations of the Competition Policy Review to ramp up competition in the delivery of human services. Yet the employment services system’s measures of success, focused on aggregate outcomes and service delivery costs, mask the adverse impact of its marketisation on ‘hard to place’ jobseekers and on not-for-profit organisations that have traditionally championed those jobseekers (Gallet 2016).
Dr. Helen Dickinson, Associate Professor Public Governance, Melbourne School of Government and School of Social and Political SciencesRead More