Christopher stone   big society - workforce planning conf
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Christopher stone big society - workforce planning conf



CPD Research Director Christopher Stone presents James Whelan's report on 'Big Society' policies in the UK, and their implications if adopted in Australia

CPD Research Director Christopher Stone presents James Whelan's report on 'Big Society' policies in the UK, and their implications if adopted in Australia



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  • Background: My qualifications are in law and psychology – like many policy areas, influenced by both legal structures and peoples perceptions and attitudes (will get into that at the end) CPD, progressive thinktank with two major research programs: on public sector and sustainable economies; also ongoing focus on refugee and health policies, and broader issues of democracy in Australia This talk based on second major report of Public sector research program Recommend check out our website and subscribe to our enews
  • Cartoonists get to be more straight-forwardly critical Is there less in Australia? Does Big Society mean even less? Can it deliver more?
  • These numbers refer to announced job cuts; not all have been implemented yet. Source: sources: Cabinet secretary Ian Watt“'I do not expect us to do more with less”
  • Some confusion both in UK and here as to what it is Explanation from its intellectual architect Argues nothing to do with cuts and implemented badly, but this is common claim of theory designers Maybe true, but what will stop the same sort of implementation in future? Need to look at what actually happened In practice talking about transfer of wealth to corporations, and reduced government support to community and community organisations while increasing workload
  • - Much more substantial cuts than what we’ve seen so far in Australia (mostly)
  • - Also cuts to community sector despite continuing to profess support for community
  • Outcomes for communities were poor, don’t want to dwell too much on this as getting off conference topic (but this is context UK public service is now working in, so needs to be noted) So just one example, libraries became a topic of interest in the UK media In UK over a range of different areas community sector figures have largely become disillusioned: Disappointed: 7 Too early: 3 Pleased: 2 Ambiguous: 2
  • Also important part of context Southern Cross, a corporate-run chain of aged care facilities, received public funding, realised a profit of £600 million then collapsed, leaving 30,000 people at risk. The chair of A4e, a for-profit employment services provider, paid herself over £8 million in dividends in 2011, whilst the company was accused of failing to meet targets. A fraud inquiry was launched into the company in February 2012 (also hired out home for meetings, so was paid to have meetings at home) G4S not the only problem, ticket sales company also caused delays and mistakes
  • - During our research, had people asking us “why Big Society? Relevance here?”
  • The term is not being used, but the rhetoric and concepts are being put forward in Australia Concepts are often nothing new: small government, privatisation and outsourcing, social entrepreneurship, use of mutuals and cooperatives in delivery of public services, social impact bonds New is way these are packaged with rhetoric designed to appeal to values un- or inversely related to the changes: citizen empowerment, diversity and community autonomyA Social Benefit Bond is a new financial instrument in which private investors provide up-front funding to service providers to deliver improved social outcomes. If these outcomes are delivered, there are cost savings to government that can be used to pay back the up-front funding as well as provide a return on that investment. Cheryl Kernot described NSW trial as a “pioneering initiative” with “innovative possibilities.”- Peter Shergold (previously Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) expressed his support for some elements of ‘Big Society’ Centre for Civil Society director Vern Hughes is enthusiastic about other aspects of ‘Big Society’. According to Hughes, it is, “Exactly the kind of social and political movement lacking in Australia… we desperately need this kind of thinking.”- Tom Tolchard, project director of Social Innovation in Western Australia. Inspired by the UK’s ‘Big Society Capital’, Tolchard advocates the establishment of a ‘Better Australia Bank’ to “support the not-for-profit sector by lending money drawn from a pool of unclaimed funds.”
  • - One element present is outsourcing Comment that has been made is that no chance of further outsourcing because it has all already been done Not true, looking at service delivery, some sectors heavily privatised, some only very lightly Heavy:sale of satellite network operator Aussat, and more significantly through the almost total sale of Telstra the sales of the Commonwealth Bank and all banks owned by the states during the 1990s left banking entirely in private hands Almost all state owned insurance organisations have also been sold off. However, Medibank Private remains government owned and holds 33% of the private health insurance market. Privatisation of Medibank was an election promise of the Howard government before it lost power in 2007 Moderate: energy: privatisation uneven across states education: significant minority private provided Light: postal services; although private competition exists to a degree, Australia Post is still the dominant player and has sole right to deliver letters While the sale of public broadcasters has not been seriously discussed in recent times, it should be noted that privatisation can occur within publically owned entities; SBS outsources a significant amount of its content production, and the ABC has been increasing its external productionwater: South Australia is the only state to contract out its entire urban water system defence:various support aspects have been outsourced, such as some elements of human resource management and maintenance facilities, but the actual armed services remain in government hands. Of course it could be argued that there is universal agreement that such functions should remain a state responsibility,223 and thus there is no realistic prospect of outsourcing. However, it should be noted that private security forces were employed in Iraq to replace American military escorts, so the possibility of partial outsourcing cannot be discounted
  • Law making: Some pubic sector consultancy contracts specifically state that they are for the provision of policy advice; others have vague descriptions such as “professional services” which could include work that has input into rule and policy. During its first four years, the current government has spent almost $2.2 billion on 17,736 consultancy contracts. Tax and finance: Department of Treasury is the tenth lowest spender on consultants, and ATO is only the eighth highest spender on consultants despite being the second largest agency in terms of staff Monitoring and enforcement:eg industry-based ombudsmen, such as Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) detention: Australia has the highest proportion of inmates in private prisons of any nation, at around 17 percent ($File/bg03-04.pdf)
  • Spending: UK 47% of GDP, Australia 35%Debt: UK 69%, Australia 5.5%
  • Partial introduction 19994 under Keating, 30% of intensive and specialised case management Howard in 1998 had all done under contract Like Australia limited introduction in 1990sAustralia: low level of funding provided by the contracts essentially forces provider organisations to “play the system” in order to survive in 2003 when the government needed to provide what was in effect a $30 million bail-out for Job Network providers perverse outcomes such as bribing corporations to create short-term work, and delaying finding work for clients in order to take advantage of long-term unemployed placement bonuses in 2006 and more this year system is failing some groups that have the most difficulty finding work, such as older jobseekers the number of providers has decreased, leaving provision increasingly undertaken by the larger organisationsUK one Work Programme executive stated, “It’s an outcome contract, not a service contract.” reports of strain on work programme providers Perverse outcomes are being seen, such as job seekers being forced to give up volunteering in a museum in order to work at a chain discount store for free scandal surrounding prime contractor A4e indicates that fraudulent reporting may also be occurring reports of most vulnerable disadvantaged small orgs being used as “bid candy”
  • Source: Big Society style packaging: rhetoric designed to appeal to values on citizen empowerment, diversity and community autonomy
  • Plus very recently Australian reported on audit commission:The final report borrows from the "big society" plans of David Cameron's government in Britain
  • Questions of efficiency

Christopher stone   big society - workforce planning conf Christopher stone big society - workforce planning conf Presentation Transcript

  • Big Society and Australia:How the UK Government isdismantling the state andwhat it means forAustraliaChristopher StoneAugust 2012
  • CPD – Public SectorResearch Program February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 2
  • Delivering services in a ‘more with less’ fiscal environment13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 3 View slide
  • Context “if that means that some public servantsFede 4,200 are going to have to do more, well thats real life” NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell ra 15,00 “The Newman government ... has l 0 guaranteed frontline services will not be affected” Qld Treasurer Tim Nicholls NSW 7,500 “A smaller public sector needs to be more productive” SA Treasurer Jack Snelling Qld 5,100 “We are already seeing a managed reduction in back office and administrative SA 4,200 positions, putting us on track to deliver our policy without impacting on frontline Vic 2,000 service delivery” Vic Premier Ted Baillieu Tas13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 4 View slide
  • What is Big Society?• Manifesto of UK PM David Cameron, based on ideas of think tank director Phillip Blond• More with less?13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 5
  • Public Sector Cuts in the UK Public sector £81 billion spending £7 billion Welfare £350 million Legal aid 66% Communities 60% department 40% New public 27% housingHigher education 20% Local 19% government 10-20% Police 240,000 (2011) Average government13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 6
  • Community Sector Impacts• £5 billion funding cut to sector (2012-2014)• 2,000 charities affected by £110 million cut in 2011• Community sector employment fell by 70,000 (9%)• Impacts on NFP working conditions• Silencing or diminishing of NFP’s advocacy role13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 7
  • Local services cutsExample: Local libraries in the UK• Over 100 closed• 600 (20%) under threat of closure or transfer to community• Legal challenge over ability of untrained volunteers to run• Cuts to hours, services and staff in remaining13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 8
  • Corporate Scandals• Southern Cross aged care: £600 million profit before collapsed leaving 30,000 people at risk• A4e: fraud inquiry, targets not met, chair paid £8 million• G4S: promised 12,000 Olympic security guards, provided 7,000, army called in13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 9
  • What elements of Big Society exist in Australia, and what direction can we expect this agenda to take?13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 10
  • Big Society Ideas inAustralia• Anti-big government, privatisation and outsourcing• NSW trial of Social Benefit Bonds• Support for Big society: – Cheryl Kernot – Peter Shergold – Vern Huges – Tom Tolchard13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 11
  • Public Services Outsourcingin AustraliaHeavy: Moderat Light:• Telecommu e: • Postal nications • Energy • Broadca• Banks • Educati st• Insurance on • Water • Transp • Defence ort13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 12
  • Other Public ServiceFunctions• Law making, rule making, and policy development – Consultancies significant• Tax collection and managing government finance – Probably the area of least outsourcing• Monitoring and enforcing – Quasi-regulatory regimes13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 13
  • Transferable lessons?• There are difference between Australia and the UK: – Federal system – % government spending – Government debt13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 14
  • Comparison: Outsourcingemployment servicesAustralia • UK• Full introduction • Full introduction 1998 2011• Systemic • Systemic problems: problems: – Outcome measure – Outcome measure focus focus – Tight margins – Tight margins – Perverse outcomes – Perverse outcomes – Fraudulent – Fraudulent reporting reporting13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 15 – Failing the – Failing the
  • Will a change of government bring us one step closer to the Big Society?13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 16
  • Big Society in Australia?‚community controlled public schools‚securing our future depends more and public hospitals‛ citizens than on big on strong government‛‚you can’t have stronger communities without a stronger economy to sustain them and you can’t have a stronger economy without13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 17
  • Philip Blond in Australia• Author ‘Red Tory’• A ‚friend of Australia‛ – Abbott• Briefed senior shadow cabinet members in mid 2011• Back again recently: – Q&A – Radio national – Various seminars13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 18
  • Downsizing the state and how this will impact on workforce planning in the APS13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 19
  • ‚Size‛ of the AustralianPublic Service• Over time by different measures• In comparison by different measures13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 20
  • Outsourcing• Potential for spinouts and mutuals?• Need for, and challenges of, small community groups• Accountability issues – Big corporations can influence assessment – Ultimately, risk always lies with the public sector13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 21
  • Keeping the Work• Staff asked to do more – Personal costs – Annuls the benefits?• Barriers to doing more – Politicians? – State/Federal issues? – Reward and punishment issues, and attitudes to risk?13 February 2013 Centre for Policy Development 22