Government grants - an abrogation or management of risks?

Morris, Debra, McGregor-Lowndes, Myles, & Tarr, Julie-Anne (2015) Government grants - an abrogation or management of risks? In Hoque, Zahirul & Parker, Lee (Eds.) Performance Management in Nonprofit Organizations : Global Perspectives. Routledge Taylor & Francis, New York, United States of America, pp. 369-393.


New public management (NPFM), with its hands-on, private sector-style performance measurement, output control, parsimonious use of resources, disaggreation of public sector units and greater competition in the public sector, has significantly affected charitable and nonprofit organisations delivering community services (Hood, 1991; Dunleavy, 1994; George & Wilding, 2002). The literature indicates that nonprofit organisations under NPM believe they are doing more for less: while administration is increasing, core costs are not being met; their dependence on government funding comes at the expense of other funding strategies; and there are concerns about proportionality and power asymmetries in the relationship (Kerr & Savelsberg, 2001; Powell & Dalton, 2011; Smith, 2002, p. 175; Morris, 1999, 2000a). Government agencies are under increased pressure to do more with less, demonstrate value for money, measure social outcomes, not merely outputs and minimise political risk (Grant, 2008; McGreogor-Lowndes, 2008). Government-community service organisation relationships are often viewed as 'uneasy alliances' characterised by the pressures that come with the parties' differing roles and expectations and the pressures that come with the parties' differing roles and expectations and the pressurs of funding and security (Productivity Commission, 2010, p. 308; McGregor-Lowndes, 2008, p. 45; Morris, 200a). Significant community services are now delivered to citizens through such relationships, often to the most disadvantaged in the community, and it is important for this to be achieved with equity, efficiently and effectively. On one level, the welfare state was seen as a 'risk management system' for the poor, with the state mitigating the risks of sickness, job loss and old age (Giddens, 1999) with the subsequent neoliberalist outlook shifting this risk back to households (Hacker, 2006). At the core of this risk shift are written contracts. Vincent-Jones (1999,2006) has mapped how NPM is characterised by the use of written contracts for all manner of relations; e.g., relgulation of dealings between government agencies, between individual citizens and the state, and the creation of quais-markets of service providers and infrastructure partners. We take this lens of contracts to examine where risk falls in relation to the outsourcing of community services. First we examine the concept of risk. We consider how risk might be managed and apportioned between governments and community serivce organisations (CSOs) in grant agreements, which are quasiy-market transactions at best. This is informed by insights from the law and economics literature. Then, standard grant agreements covering several years in two jurisdictions - Australia and the United Kingdom - are analysed, to establish the risk allocation between government and CSOs. This is placed in the context of the reform agenda in both jurisdictions. In Australia this context is th enonprofit reforms built around the creation of a national charities regulator, and red tape reduction. In the United Kingdom, the backdrop is the THird Way agenda with its compacts, succeed by Big Society in a climate of austerity. These 'case studies' inform a discussion about who is best placed to bear and manage the risks of community service provision on behalf of government. We conclude by identifying the lessons to be learned from our analysis and possible pathways for further scholarship.

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ID Code: 79387
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: new public management, Government grants, management of risks
ISBN: 9781138787988
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Routledge
Deposited On: 17 Dec 2014 06:34
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2015 15:12

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