Posts tagged markets in public services
Mind the gender gap: The hidden data gap in transport

There has been much lament over the discarding of Australia’s Women’s Budget Statement as part of the budgeting process, and reinstating this process was one of Labor’s promises should they have won the election. While this is an absolutely critical document, there is an upstream problem that also needs addressing - data collection. The data which is collected and analysed is often itself subject to gender bias, resulting in huge gaps in our understanding of how policies effect women.

Today’s analysis looks at the problem of women’s invisibility in data sets using the example of transportation policy. Transport policy researcher Nicole Badstuber (@NicoleBadstuber) has written an explosive piece that resonated strongly with readers in the U.K. but also hit a nerve with Australians, as evidenced by a viral tweet on the piece from Per Capita’s Abigail Lewis. This piece originally appeared in London Reconnections and can be viewed in its original format here.

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Does tree-shaking work? Evidence based policy and welfare conditionality

This article from Dr Simone Casey explores why Australia’s Mutual Obligation requirements are so demanding and whether this is based on evidence about what works. It asks why critical research evidence has not received more attention from Australia ‘s activation policy makers. She argues that lack of engagement with critical social research is a limitation which hampers social justice efforts and reflects disregard for social suffering, and says there is plenty of room for stronger engagement with participatory policy design approaches. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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We are creating new inequities around PrEP HIV Prevention

When the debate about public funding for PrEP started up, I was concerned that it would go down the same path as PEP — with a set pool of funding, left to state/territory governments to administer, with de facto rationing based on sexual risk, and only available from a set number of locations. So my own position on PrEP was that it needed to be funded via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and not rationed.

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Citizens are happier in countries where the government intervenes more frequently in the economy

What types of public policy promote greater happiness among citizens? Many governments justify pro-market policies on the basis of offering their citizens ‘choice and control’. Today’s post by Patrick FlavinAlexander C. Pacek and Benjamin Radcliff presents results from an analysis of survey data across 21 industrialised democracies between 1981 and 2007. They find that in countries where governments intervene more frequently in the economy, insulating citizens from market fluctuations, there is a higher degree of self-reported happiness among citizens. While the authors note that these findings cannot strictly be taken as evidence that social democratic policies are better in a normative sense overall, the results suggest that more research is needed on the impact of a country’s political context on the happiness of its citizens. This article was originally published on the LSE EUROPP - European Politics and Policy – blog.

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Can we have a pro-community welfare state without the big society bullshit?

In this blog Simon Duffy explores the question of how to narrow the gap between public services (the official welfare state) and the community. He asks whether it is possible for use to develop a pro-community welfare state, one which works in harmony with its citizens, not against them.

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Quarter Time at the Productivity Commission inquiry into social services: who’s winning?

The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Human Services has released its interim report, and Policy Whisperer Paul Smyth identifies the social services sector as leading the match – but is there scope to carry this important conversation to completion?  Together with Eleanor Malbon and Gemma Carey, Paul led a coordinated response to the Inquiry in the form of the report Social Service Futures and the Productivity Commission

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Reform and the (not so) new role of stewardship

Australian reform discussions have of late focused around some seemingly new language and ideas concerned with stewardship and commissioning.  This is being touted as a fundamental change in what government does, but what does this actually mean and will it really lead to significant reform? Helen Dickinson asks these questions and more in our latest post.

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Is neoliberalism making you anxious? Metrics and the production of uncertainty

Market models of delivering publicly-funded services are underpinned by systems and processes of measurement designed to change the way citizens and service providers behave and interact. David Beer argues that to understand how markets shape our behaviour, we need to think about the role of measurement in our lives and reflect on how it makes us feel. This post originally appeared on the LSE Politics and Policy blog.

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Reality check: is VET really an exemplar for the marketisation agenda?

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.

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Competition in healthcare-myth mantra or mandate?

Yesterday, Paul Smyth provided a reflection on the Government's response to the Harper Review from a community sector perspective. In today's piece, Dr Lesley Russell from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy reflects on the Review from a healthcare perspective. Lesley worked in Washington DC  on a range of issues around the enactment and implementation of health care reform, initially as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress (known as the 'Obama think tank') and later as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General in the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Social Policy Whisperer: Taking Harper out of the Social Services and Community Sector

While most in the social services and community sector assumed that the 2014\15 Harper review concerned the ‘economy’ and not them (see the very limited range of ‘social’ submissions) it has indeed turned out to be a Radical Liberal push to undermine social services and the community sector by an inappropriate extension of market principles into our community and social life.  Even as the Federal Treasurer initiates a ‘reform’ process together with the States we have Mr Harper himself already positioned as an ‘independent’ advisor (representing the for-profit firm Deloites) to the Victorian Government’s current Roadmap for Reform.   Push is turning to shove and it behoves anyone with a concern for the future of Australian society to take stock of the situation and develop their action plan.

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Is Australia ready to give people with disability real choice and control over services?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been built to enable people with disability a greater choice in the services they wish to use. However, what if these choices are different to supports that have been funded traditionally? If this is not enabled, are people with disability really being given a choice?

Helen Dickinson from the University of Melbourne explores this in an article originally published in The Conversation.

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Social Policy Whisperer: Whitlam, Fraser and Ian 'Competition' Harper: From the Grand to the Grotesque

Mine was not the only heart warmed by the recent public celebrations of the grand contributions of Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser to building a greater Australia. In tune with their era they understood the vital roles of democracy and social policy alongside the mixed economy in building a good society. And I will not be the only one frustrated by the grotesque banalities of the recommendations for ‘human services’ in Ian Harper’s - back to Hilmer!’ (1995) - report on competition policy. It is irretrievably locked in a market utopian policy time warp

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