To limit program eligibility criteria is simultaneously to reduce political pressures to expand program resources to meet the need. Growth of Government Contracting with Nonprofit Agencies. Despite the differences in organizational norms between government and the nonprofit sector, government officials are utilizing nonprofit agencies to delivery public services at an unprecedented rate.
Let us now take a brief look at the advantages public officials believe accrue to government that may attract them to contracting with nonprofit agencies. These reasons have varied in importance to public officials over the period that contracting has been ascendant. First, government agencies can respond to emerging service needs more quickly and effectively by contracting than by mounting new efforts utilizing public employees and public agencies. Second, public officials can purchase specialized services that would be difficult to find or develop within government ranks. Third, by using nonprofit agencies, public officials recognize that they can change program direction with relative impunity and can cut back on services more easily than they could if public employees were involved.
Fourth, government agencies can take advantage of the legitimacy already won for program initiatives of private organizations while avoiding the political costs that would be associated with attempting to usurp their role. Fifth, in contracting, government shifts the political financial risks of providing service at least in part onto the nonprofit sector.
Beyond these pragmatic reasons for encouraging contracting, other motives for contracting appear to operate as well. In particular, contracting for services is viewed by some analysts as a way to shift resources and responsibilities to the private sector, thereby reducing the role of government in public policy and halting the postwar rise in government's size and influence. This would be accomplished because of two additional advantages often thought to accompany contracting.
Sixth, government will save money, because competition among agencies bidding for government contracts will result in efficiencies spurred by competition.
Finally, government will save money because nonprofit contractors tend to pay lower wages and employ volunteers, allowing government to contract at low prices. As a result of these aspects of contracting, many analysts believe a new dynamic will rise in which public services will be sustained at a high level of quality by competition in the private market. This view is in error. It is based upon a model of independent buyers and sellers, when in reality the world of government and service providers is one of a mutual dependency.
It is faulty because it is inherently difficult to hold human service providers accountable for the quality of performance outcomes.
Hence, improvements in service quality and increased savings while holding quality constant are unlikely to be achieved in contracting for human services. Moreover, this view neglects recognition of the political interests that form around government's new way of doing business and the new clients of government the nonprofits that are created by contracting activities and are thus in a position to make demands. Contracting is not simply an administrative procedure than changes the mode of service delivery from public to nonprofit or for profit.
Rather, it fundamentally alters the politics of public service delivery. Over time this new politics brings issues of equity and of community autonomy to the fore. Consequences for Nonprofit Service Organizations. Critics of government contracting often express concern that nonprofits may compromise their original service mission in the process of responding to government priorities. However, it should be noted that government contracting requirements may alter nonprofit agencies approaches to services and clients, even if their goals are entirely compatible with those of government.
In essence, they may be forced to conform to standards imposed by contracting policy at the expense of their homegrown notions of what constitutes effective service delivery. Two caveats apply to these generalizations. Second, while we focus discussion on conflicts between governmental and private conceptions of service, we do not mean to imply that the contracting parties are invariably in conflict or always troubled by differences in perspectives. The people who arise to establish and direct community organizations are often not the people government officials regard as most appropriate to lead the organizations with which they contract.
Public officials have considered the. If these examples illustrate government concerns over accountability, other staffing requirements demonstrate the press of efficiency considerations. However, government officials also have forced layoffs because they charge that nonprofit agencies did not need as many staff members to provide quality service.
For example, a traditional child welfare agency had obtained a government contract in the 19 70s to provide protective services. In the early s, state officials gave the agency the choice of either terminating the contract or reducing the degree of its staffs involvement with clients. In the requirement to hire social workers or psychologists, staff upgrading results.
In the case of staff layoffs, deprofesionalization occurs, as workers are less able to use their own judgment in responding to clients' needs. Both cases illustrate the imposition of governmentally-derived requirements on private nonprofit agencies. They also highlight that government is interested in obtaining minimum standards of care: in the case of new agencies, such as shelters established through non professional auspices, government seeks to establish minimum care standards through professionalization; in traditional agencies with high levels of professional care, government concern with higher productivity leads to a reduction in professional standards.
Clientele and Program. One way in which these pressures for equity and accountability are particularly felt is in government's concern over the apparent open-endedness of enrollment in some community services. Government agencies are likely to pressure emergency service providers to establish or improve and enforce eligibility verification and enforcement; to restrict the amount of service any single recipient can obtain.
In , when the program was just getting started, it emphasized giving away as much as food as possible through networks of private agencies, which first had to be located and then persuaded to participate. However, when the program was cut back sharply a year later in response to food retailer's complaints that the program was hurting their sales, the federal Food Nutrition Service FNS began to worry that the mismatch between the number of people eligible to receive food and the amount of food available would be too great.
Accordingly, it promulgated regulations that required states to establish more precise and restrictive guidelines, and it started procedures to insure that those guidelines were being followed. The FNS later proposed regulations that would further tighten the loose verification procedures of the food banks and soup kitchens.
It is evident that in developing policy for nonprofit contractors, governments often see the contract for services as a resource by which it can be achieved ancillary service goals. Government seeks not only to provide services in general, but to improve its performance in other aspects of its activities.
Thus, the Massachusetts Department of Social Service DSS reduced the number of contracts that permitted agencies to take referrals from any source known as open referral contracts and instead required agencies to take referrals only from DSS staff known as closed referral contracts. The state did the same with its daycare slots to support its employment and training programs for welfare recipients; and it restricted the use of some of its subsidized housing vouchers to support its policies to reduce homelessness.
The interest of equity, government standards push non profit agencies to broaden their client mix. Thus, battered women's shelters have been required to expand their catchment areas and to take clients from different racial and ethnic communities. A community agency in Boston that was established to serve a pre dominantly Hispanic community in the early 's now servers clients from the entire Boston area. Increasingly, government also imposes various limitations on the actual treatment provided by a contract agency. Battered women's shelters have been required to limit the amount of time women can stay in the shelters, although the shelters prefer to allow women to stay until they are deemed able to act independently.
Similar pressures are felt by old-line agencies whose traditional policies are practice of family social service encouraged working with the family until it was judged to be stable and well or well-enough adjusted.
Government contracts, however, require the agencies to limit say, to a year the amount of time any single family receives counseling from a caseworker. While the shift prevents gross disparities in length of treatment, it also constrains treatment discretions by limiting the opportunity for long-term treatment for clients who need it. Some of the same strain is currently experienced by emergency housing shelters, which must agree to maximum-stay limits when they contract with government.
Here, however, there is generally agreement between government and providers that every effort should be made to limit the extent to which guests come to depend upon shelters as permanent refuges.
Finally, government applies the equity standard that the neediest should be served first to a host of nonprofit services including group care for children, emergency shelter programs for adolescents, and counseling. The result is that these agencies are now serving an increasingly disturbed client population that requires intensive service intervention. For emergency youth shelter programs, for example, this shift represents a sharp break from the founding vision of these organization as vehicles for early treatment and prevention in a non-0threatening supportive environment.
In the case of counseling for children and their families, many nonprofit agencies that began to provide services under contract in the 's served children and families who could be described as experiencing adjustment problems. In recent years, however, these contracts have been restructured to emphasize protective services for abused and neglected children - a high priority for state government and a more profoundly needy group.
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In general, government pressures toward accountability in admission to the rolls and equity in distribution will be more evident under some conditions than others. If government is paying on a per capita basis, as is the case, for example, in job training and some emergency services, government is more likely to make demands for careful scrutiny of the rolls than if it is contracting with agencies for blocks of service.
Asked to assess which are the most serious difficulties related to human resource management, recruitment of volunteers turned out to be rated as a serious or even very serious problem in particular by stakeholders from Austria and Germany, countries which belong to the welfare partnership cluster. Why use the voluntary sector to provide public services? This document should confirm that proposals are economically efficient, viable, additional and cost-effective, and should cover affordability and appropriate arrangements for management, monitoring, evaluation and benefits realisation. In the context of health-care systems, Marmor and Okma argue that the growth of comparative analysis is linked to three developments:. To be part of this sector is to be different from the market and the state in terms of governance, resources, organizational culture as well as mission and vision.
Further, if quasi-objective indicators of need are utilized, such as income or participation in other government programs, government can demand accountability from agencies overseeing eligibility standards. Community-based services are often located in unlikely places. Although sometimes they are housed in multi-service neighborhood centers with good facilities, they are also found in church basements, dilapidated storefronts, and even private homes. Government funding is often accompanied by demands to upgrade the quality and extensiveness of the facilities.
These demands range from fire code compliance to greater scrutiny over cooking and washing facilities, and more space per client. In themselves, government demands on facilities often have some validity.