Abstract: Traditional funder-purchaser-provider models position the state as funder/ purchaser and non-profit organisations as providers. Rationales for contracting non-profit organisations to provide services for the state have been based on the potential for gearing voluntary and philanthropic resources; for reducing hierarchy and increasing responsiveness and flexibility in meeting needs; and for devolving to and utilising local networks for participation. Situations arose within a new place-based funding brokerage model for children and family services in Australia, in which non-profit organisations as funder/purchasers contracted state agencies to provide services to the community. This article addresses the research question: what happens when a non-profit organisation contracts the state as a service-provider to the community? An exploratory multi-site comparative case study approach was used to identify themes across four cases. The practice of lead non-profit organisations purchasing from the state within place-management models reintroduced some negative aspects, such as increased hierarchy and tensions with more rigid clinically oriented practice models. However, there were positive aspects, such as increased local capacity and capability in service-provision and greater linking of state supra-organisational networks with community networks. This reversal of roles - with the state as provider and lead non-profit organisations as funder/purchasers - challenges the notion of funder-purchaser-provider and contracting models as one-way scenarios, and shatters assumptions about a narrow service-provider role for the non-profit child and family services sector.
To cite this article: Earles, Wendy and Baulderstone, Jo. What happens when a non-profit organisation contracts the state as a service-provider to the community? [online]. Third Sector Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2012: 99-116.
[cited 23 Jun 17].