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The Vexed Question of Market Stewardship in the Public Sector: Examining Equity and the Social Contract through the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme

G. Carey, H. Dickinson, E. Malbon, D. Reeders,

Academic Literature

2017

Personalized care and market-based approaches to public service provision have gained prominence in a range of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Australia has recently joined this trend, launching a complex and expansive programme of individualized care funding for disability through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Public sector markets (i.e. where governments either directly fund a market by way of competitive tendering, or through personal budgets) have been embraced by actors at different points of the political spectrum and for a range of reasons, including efficacy and efficiency gains, empowerment of citizens and efforts to cater for diversity. Despite the growing dominance of public sector markets and individualized funding, many questions about the role and responsibility of governments in managing and regulating these markets remain unanswered. In this article we outline different roles governments might assume in the creation and management of public sector markets, based on the types of risks governments are willing to take responsibility for. We argue that to fulfil the social contract between government and citizens, governments need to ensure that markets are properly stewarded and embedded in broader social safety nets. This, we contend, can ensure citizens receive the gains of market models while being protected from market failures or market-produced inequities. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Social Policy and Administration

Domain/s: Economic participation, Sector development and sustainability

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