At the height of the neoliberal period in Australia, Anti-Poverty week was always a somewhat dismal reminder of the absence of any serious political agenda on the subject. But are people listening now? And are the moving beyond listening to action? In this post, Whisperer Paul Smyth tackles these questions and more.
Social Policy Whisperer Professor Paul Smyth reflects on the recent Volunteering Victoria annual conference and its attempts to reframe volunteering not as a replacement to the welfare state but as central to the workings of a good society - at risk from the encroaching role of for-profit players in historically not-for-profit environments.
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.
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.
James Lloyd’s recent post on the LSE Impact Blog “Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change” has been raising eyebrows in research and policy circles. Lloyd’s basic claim is that it is neither realistic nor desirable to expect academics to achieve policy impact. Bold, but should we take his position as correct? Luke Craven, Chris Neff, and Paul Smyth investigate.
Part One of this contribution to the SSF Dialogue proposed that we are currently in the midst of an economic policy model change from ‘market efficiency’ to ‘inclusive growth’ that will inevitably impact our thinking on social governance as equal weight is given to fairness and equality alongside market efficiency. While others are providing much needed SSF discussion of marketization failure in the social services and community sector, I want to look ahead to the principles and practices which might shape up an inclusive governance model. And it is not as though we have time to waste. In a year when the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers (2016) to the President of the United States begins with ‘Inclusive Growth in the United States’ the idea of an economic model change is not loose talk. A policy window is opening and we need to be talking right now about the new inclusive governance agenda if we want to influence this policy transition.
Social Service Futures Dialogue: Toward an Inclusive Governance Reform Agenda (Part One)
The marketisation of health, education and welfare is one inquiry the Productivity Commission may well wish it had never been given, reflects Policy Whisperer Paul Smyth of The University of Melbourne.
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.
In a major development for the not for profit sector in Australia, three of its heavyweights David Crosbie (CCA), Tim Costello (World Vision) and Paul Ronalds (Save the Children) have been prominent in a concerted call for ‘charities’ to ‘merge or close’. The agenda is to be further progressed through several CCA forums. Clearly not the usual suspects (New Public Managers/ Competition Policy Economists), their views warrant our serious attention. What do they see as the problem? Why are mergers the solution?