Public Sector Restructuring and Community Consultation in the Australian Capital Territory: Can Old and New Public Policy Trends Work Together?




Samantha Enfield


Discussion Paper No. 67
September 1999


ISBN: 0 7315 3410 7
ISSN: 1 030 219



Abstract


The aim and the reality of community consultation in the public policy process are often at odds. Simple mechanical remedies of consultative models and practices will not in themselves include the citizen beyond the ballot box. This Discussion Paper discusses the findings of a study conducted as part of PhD work in progress that examines two current public institutional trends in the ACT, purchaser-provider public sector arrangements and community consultation. The Australian Capital Territory offers the academic and practicing public policy community a unique opportunity to observe the interaction of old and new trends in OECD public policy best practice. Internationally, ideas about purchaser-provider models have been in place for some time. Current OECD activity is now emphasising community consultation to "strengthen government-citizen connections" in OECD countries and notes that there is now a strong trend towards renewal and expansion of public consultation in regulatory development which is underway in OECD countries (PUMA 1999). The ACT has both purchaser provider arrangements and significant investment in community consultation and provides a practical insight into the interaction of past ideas and current preoccupations in public policy.

The Discussion Paper's study has found indications in the ACT that public institutional and reported service delivery arrangements have conditionally resulted in greater government control over the policy process; elected representatives have greater determination of public services, expressed as outputs, and broad objectives, expressed as outcomes. There are, however, two issues of concern. Firstly, at a local level, Budget outputs, or expressed services provided to public sector recipients, do not readily reflect into practice. Purchaser provider arrangements and public service delivery in the ACT vary according to: the service provided; the mix of actors in the policy process; intergovernmental arrangements, national industry and local revenue considerations; and relative involvement of representative politicians enacting Assembly policy decisions. As a result, budget outcomes and outputs have low measures of veracity and lack credibility as an accountability and reporting tool. Secondly, community consultation does not necessarily translate directly into citizen input beyond the ballot box. International efforts may be informed by the ACT experience. A growing role for recipients of public services in the policy process requires a recognition that policy developed through government citizen connections is not necessarily compatible with current public institutional arrangements.



Introduction


The Australian Capital Territory invests heavily in community consultation but this Discussion Paper points to findings which call into question whether the rhetoric matches reality. This study has found that current ACT public institutional arrangements which determine public services and seek to increase responsiveness to recipients of public services do not have a direct relationship to ACT government community consultation arrangements. The ACT offers a unique opportunity to test the interaction of the old and the new OECD policy agendas and highlights what impediments and opportunities exist in practice to strengthen the government citizen connection in OECD countries.
With the enactment of Self Government legislation in 1988, the ACT was endowed with separate political, representative and administrative institutions and control over its own fiscus. Prior to the legislation, the Commonwealth government administered the ACT's functions and services. The ACT has taken the opportunity to significantly alter the public institutional arrangements of classic Commonwealth bureaucracy. In the short decade, successive ACT Governments have, among other things, reconfigured the provision of public services, introduced new public institutional arrangements and corporatised publicly owned entities. The economic environment in the ACT has been similar to that in OECD countries with the ACT echoing political and administrative awareness of decreased revenue and alternative management and organisational structural strategies practiced domestically and internationally (Chief Ministers Department, 1996b).


Public Institutional Trends in the ACT - Purchaser-Provider Split and Community Consultation


The purchaser provider split, promulgated as best practice in OECD countries, refers to a public policy model where there is separation of formerly co- located policy and delivery aspects of public service delivery (Boston 1991) . This public institutional disaggregation was argued to be a better means of meeting the needs of public service customers and achieving better value for money (Ormsby 1998). The idea for the purchaser provider split in the ACT originated with a New Zealand consultant, Steve Anderson, who was responsible for overseeing the implementing of financial reforms in the ACT Public Service in 1995 (ACT Study interview data). The ACT Government implemented purchaser provider public restructuring arrangements in 1996 based on the New Zealand model (ACT Study Interview data, 1998, 1999, Chief Ministers Department 1996a) . The ACT Government describes policy development thus: The ACT Government specifies its desired policy outcomes and purchases the minimum number of appropriate, efficiently produced outputs (goods and services) to achieve its desired outcomes. The Purchase Agreement, Ownership Agreements and Performance Agreements are explicitly based on outcomes and outputs. The Purchase Agreement is a contract between the Agency Chief Executive and the Minister specifying the substance of outputs sought. Ownership Agreements are established between the Treasurer and the Agency Chief Executive covering Government's ownership interest in the agency including "bottomline" financial performance, capital injections, major asset replacements and cash disbursements. Budget Paper reporting on outputs included an assessment against ACT Government Policy Performance Measures (Chief Ministers Department 1996a).

To identify outcomes and outputs that recipients want relies on the interaction of the ACT Government and the recipient in determining the public good or service. In 1996, the Chief Minister initiated the development and promulgation of a community consultation protocol and manual (Chief Minister's Department, 1997, 1998) in response to an Assembly Opposition members assertion that the Assembly "expresses its concern regarding perceptions amongst a wide range of community groups about the lack of Government commitment to community input and involvement in decision-making on issues affecting them and of perceived intimidation of groups and individuals who criticise Government policies and processes" (Tucker, ACT Assembly Hansard, 18/2/97). Associated initiatives included departmental training in consultation techniques, the establishment of a community group database (now numbering some 5000 groups and individuals), and an internal community consultation register to avoid duplication of consultation (ACT Study interviews 1999). As a result of the Chief Minister's response, the Community Consultation Unit and Customer Involvement Unit were also created and located in the Chief Minister's Department in 1997. Apart from an extensive budget consultation program on an annual basis, the Units are required, through their Purchase Agreements, to maintain effective liaison between community and the Government to inform policy development, advice for special intergovernmental forums, develop and coordinate initiatives, directory of Services, Community Liaison Newsletter, and the Meet the Minister Program (ACT Government 1999-2000) . Government Advisory Councils, including the ACT Women's Consultative Council, Chief Minister's Multicultural Consultative Council, Ministerial Youth Advisory Council and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Council, seek to "improve the community's involvement in policy development and decision making". Peak community groups regularly on reference groups for the development of policies include the Australian Capital Territory Council on Social Services (ACTCOSS); ACT Shelter, Council on the Aging, Ethnic Communities Council, Healthcare Consumers Assn., Disabled Peoples Initiative ACT, Women with Disabilities and Youth Coalition of the ACT (ACT Government 1999) . The ACT Government has formal regulation and negative feedback loops. The ACT Government has an Auditor General, the Health Complaints Commissioner, the ACT Ombudsman, the Privacy Act/Commissioner, Human Rights Act/Commission, Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and the ACT Community Advocate. Legislative regulation includes the Fair Practices Act, the Children's Services Act, the Mental Health Treatment Act and the Guardianship and Management of Property Act (ACT Government 1999) . While not specifically ascribing to the OECD's latest efforts in this area, these ACT Government activities reflect OECD efforts in strengthening government citizen connections, citing a recognition that there is a perceived need for ACT government to consult Canberrans about public policy decisions (ACT Government 1999).

As the following discussion and small domestic study show, public institutional arrangements such as the purchaser provider model may be argued to be more responsive to clients but have the potential in practice to be incompatible with new notions of government-citizen connectedness. At the micro local level, there has been considerable disquiet about the purpose and consequences of the purchaser provider reforms in the ACT Government context. Significantly, expressed concerns have gone to the heart of the current OECD pre-occupations: the government - citizen connection (ACT Study interviews 1998, 1999, Rogan & Johnston 1997, ACT Government/ACTCOSS 1998). In 1997, the ACT Government commissioned a public report by New South Wales based Institute of Public Administration Australia consultants Rogan and Johnson on the implementation of service purchasing arrangements under the purchaser provider model (Rogan & Johnston, 1997). The Rogan Johnson Report reflected widespread ACT community fears that "the implementation of service purchasing could potentially ignore and ultimately undermine the roles, strengths and wider contribution of the community sector" (Rogan & Johnston 1997, :36). ACT Study interviews and submissions to the ACT Assembly Inquiry into the Implementation of Service Purchasing Arrangements support these comments. The ACT Assembly Inquiry, which is reporting on the implementation of Rogan Johnson principles, is expected to report by the end of 1999. Inquiry submissions argue for the cessation of implementation of the purchaser provider arrangements to enable stakeholders to be better informed about its nature and future.

In spite of formal ACT consultative structures, programs and regulatory arrangements in the ACT, the Rogan Johnson Report also reported that "the pace of (purchaser-provider implementation) change was unrealistic and problematic....there was little, if any, consultation with consumers and community organisations around any of the matters which were subject to change...(1997 :37)". The Rogan Johnson Report noted that in response to the question "how will the government decide what to purchase" there was a concern that, through separating the purchaser and provider roles, the decisions about what to purchase will be taken by public servants without consultation and use of good strategic and operational planning processes" (Rogan & Johnston, 1997 :43).


THE ACT GOVERNMENT STUDY


This study was conducted in Canberra by semi structured interview with senior officials in the ACT government, officials external to the ACT Government but not independent of the government process and senior officials from publicly owned providers of government services. The objective of the study was to examine the nature of the relationship between purchaser provider outcomes and outputs and the primary mechanism of citizen government connections in the ACT: community consultation. Four publicly funded services in the ACT were selected for the study: Racing, Tourism, the Public Trustee and Mental Health. These services were selected because they all represent publicly funded services but had potentially different sets of recipients and, consequently, different recipient needs. In the ACT Government, outcomes and outputs form the basis of accountability and reporting in budgetary and performance agreements. The Government defines outcomes or broad objectives, which are too general to be related to service provision. For the purposes of the study, an emphasis on outputs as a reflection of public services was more useful. The study consequently examined the ACT Government outputs, the determination of those outputs and the relationship between outputs and community consultation. Research methodology and design, summarised budget and interview data and the schedule of interviews is Appendix 1.

Findings


In short, the findings were as follows. The purchaser provider model explicitly guides government service provision in the ACT. Public sector institutional arrangements are defined as the "Government as Owner, the Government as Purchaser and Agencies as providers". The Government determines broad objectives or outcomes and purchases public goods and services, or outputs. The Government awards public funding for service output provision through contractual Purchase Agreements and reports on outputs in Budget papers as an accountability governance tool. These institutional arrangements are based on domestic and international experience, reflect OECD best practice and have been designed to be better responsive to public recipients or public customers. This small study has found indications in the ACT that public institutional and reported service delivery arrangements have conditionally resulted in greater government control over the policy process; elected representatives have greater determination of outputs and outcomes. Institutionally separating policy advice from both purchasing and providing arms further limits the extent to which public servants can potentially advance their own agendas.

There are, however, two issues of concern. Firstly, at a local level, outputs reported in the budget papers do not readily reflect practice. Most interviewees expressed the view that the "rhetoric did not match reality". The purchaser-provider model was loosely interpreted depending on the service. For example, health and tourism purchasing referred to a "purchaser-provider-purchaser-provider model", reflecting the practice of cascading subcontracting of provision of services. For both of these services, the relevant Department purchased services from an agency who then contracted out the services to other service providers who contracted out to others and so on. The ACT Public Trustee was described as "outside the purchaser provider model" because there was no choice about the services purchased but operated within imposed purchaser provider budget and reporting requirements. For example, the ACT Public Trustee was required to service a planned output of a certain number of welfare funerals; a guess at best. Racing services were described as independent from the ACT Government jurisdiction. While a "cash cow" for the ACT Government, the relationship between policy and delivery was argued by interviewees to be vested in the national racing industry and subject to the racing product and State and international TAB ownership and cooperation. As descriptors and measures of service provision, therefore, outputs fall short.

The purchaser provider model does not represent the complexity of government allocative decisions, at least in the case of the ACT. At a policy making level, public service delivery in the ACT varies according to: the service provided; the mix of actors in the policy process; intergovernmental arrangements, national industry and local revenue considerations; and relative involvement of representative politicians enacting Assembly policy decisions. Nevile (1998) observes that, typically, policy decision making is not simply a function of the relative interaction of a recipient, provider, purchaser, policy adviser, Purchaser and Owner. The interests of those other groups that wield significant political and economic power, institutional arrangements, social or economic factors and the ideology of key actors are the factors which have the most influence on the decision making process. This observation is consistent with the finding that, according to interview, sometimes exogenous factors and political expediency influence how public funding is allocated and services purchased. Interviews suggest that policy advice is not confined to contracted agreements between the ACT public service and the Government as Purchaser and Owner; not only do policy advice mechanisms to the Government as Purchaser and Owner vary according to the service provided but the agents of policy advice are broader than departmental officials. Other policy agents in the ACT include regulatory authorities and legally appointed individuals, non government organisations, Ministerial advisors, Government Advisory Councils and policy advice developed through the Meet the Minister Program and activities of the Chief Minister's Community Consultation Unit (Government 1999) . In the ACT, Mental Health outcomes and outputs were argued by interviewees to be primarily driven by Federal Government priorities and funding; interviewees noted instances of politically expedient intergovernmental health allocations and formulation of Purchase Agreements consistent with federal priorities. Racing and Tourism outcomes were argued by interviewees to be financially driven from within the Chief Ministers Office and outputs driven by the national Racing and Tourism industries, both of whom were being "propped up financially by the ACT Government" in the local jurisdiction to reap rewards of national industry strength. Interviewees argued that without government intervention in tourism and racing, the industries in Canberra would fold because while the returns and industry was strong nationally, there were jurisdictional weaknesses. ACT Public Trustee outputs were argued by interviewees to be driven by legal obligations under the Community Advocate Act, the Children's Services Act, the Mental Health Treatment and Protection Act, the Guardianship and Management of Property Act.

Most purchasers, providers and those outside the purchaser provider model regarded the Budget reporting and consultation arrangements as superficial and unrepresentative of practice. Some regarded budget information and the expression of outcomes and outputs to be "the best at the moment in spite of needing work" while others were more scathing and reported them as "absurd", "irrelevant" and "under-scrutinised politically". Interviewees noted that in the short time the budget papers had included outputs, those outputs had changed dramatically and were still evolving. Interviewees complained of having to represent their activity according to a reporting framework that was externally imposed and "meaningless".

Finally, community consultation, at least through the ACT Budget process, did not address either broad outcomes or budgetary outputs. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that Budget submissions and government responses about outcomes were extremely general and did not relate directly to the articulated "A Clever, Caring Capital vision through: a healthy, safe, diverse and contributing community; a dynamic, sustainable economy; and accessible, cost effective services" (ACT Government 1997/98), (ACT Government 1998/99), (ACT Government 1999/2000) . Budget submissions and government responses about specific outputs were non existent. Prior or future outputs were not mentioned in any submissions. Those involved with the Budget preparation argued that "the document needed to strike a balance between detail and overview ...... and intended the document and the consultation process to encourage comment on general priorities and directions rather than a detailed analysis of budget measures" (ACT Government 1998/99) . Therefore, the budget consultation was never intended to specifically address or determine outcomes or outputs. ACT Budget documentation and Purchase agreements, which characterise, describe and evaluate the delivery of services in the ACT, do not reflect the efforts of ACT community consultation.

ACT Government consultation arrangements were, in any case, argued by most interviewees to be too broad, resource intensive and unfocussed. Some interviewees expressed the view that consultation results were not passed on to those who needed them, that the ACT community was over-consulted and representativeness of community views in those consultations was skewed. Interviews suggest that the community consultation was in part politically expedient. The most significant factor bearing on the determination and pursuit of publicly defined values in the ACT Government was the almost exclusive emphasis on consultation about municipal rather than state functions. Interviewee views indicate that the unique nature of the ACT Government City State has enabled the development of processes that channel consultation energies into potentially politically expedient municipal issues and not state issues.


Conclusion


This Discussion Paper's study indicates that, in practice, community consultation is potentially incompatible with public institutional arrangements such as the purchaser provider split. In the case of the ACT, the aim and the reality of community consultation in the public policy process is at odds. On the one hand, public services are expressed and determined as budgetary outputs. On the other hand, community consultation does not directly influence outcomes and outputs through budgetary, purchaser or provider channels, at least in any systemic way. The ACT experience suggests that community consultation arrangements could be better targeted to descriptors of service provision to make the output framework more relevant. Alternatively, institutional reporting arrangements and contractual provision of services could more realistically reflect how services vary and invite relevant community consultation in each case. International OECD efforts may be informed by the ACT experience and, in considering models of community consultation, may need to assess their compatibility with standing institutional arrangements. Fundamentally, however, the ACT study shows that including community consultation in the policy process does not necessarily translate the fruits of such arrangements into public policy. In considering how to go about "strengthening government citizen connections" the OECD may benefit from this study's conclusion that determination of public services and government citizen interactions are considerably more complex.

Bibliography


ACT Government (1999). ACT Government Webpage , ACT Government, Canberra.
ACT Government/Australian Capital Territory Council on Social Services (1998 ) The Quality of Life Project , Canberra, ACT Government/ACTCOSS.
ACT Government (1997/98). 1997/98 Budget Papers . Canberra, ACT Government.
ACT Government (1998/99). 1998/99 Budget Papers . Canberra, ACT Government.
ACT Government (1999/2000). 1999/2000 Budget Papers . Canberra, ACT Government.
Boston, J., Martin, J., Pallot, J., and Walsh, P., (1991). Reshaping the State . Auckland, Oxford University Press.
Boston, J., et al (1996). Public Management: The New Zealand Model . Auckland, Oxford University Press.
Chief Ministers Department (1996a). Reform in the ACT Public Service . Canberra, ACT Government.
Chief Ministers Department, (1996b) A Capital Future , Canberra, ACT Government
Dalton, R. (1988). Citizen Politics in Western Democracies . New Jersey, Chatham House Publishing.
Hughes, O. (1994). Public Management and Administration . London, MacMillan.
Institute of Public Administration, A. (1999). Community Participation in Decision Making and Service Delivery - Government for Ourselves, by Ourselves - Does It Work? IPPA Professional Program, Hyatt Hotel, Canberra.
Leedy, P. (1997). Practical Research, Planning and Design . New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Long, S. (1998). Action Research, Participative Action Research and Action Learning in Organisations . Department of Commerce Seminar Series, ANU, Canberra.
Mulgan, R. (1998). "Identifying the "Core" Public Service." Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration (February).
Nevile, A. (1998) PhD Dissertation, yet to be published.
Ormsby, M. (1998). "Country Report: The Provider Purchaser Split: A Report from New Zealand." Governance 11(3 July).
PUMA (1999). Strengthening Government Citizen Connections - Agenda and Further work, Paris, OECD.
Rogan, L., & Johnston C., (1997). Implementation of Service Purchasing Arrangements in the Australian Capital Territory - A Report to the Chief Minister's Department . Canberra, ACT Government.
Various (1999). Submissions to the ACT Legislative Standing Committee Inquiry into Service Purchasing Arrangements. Canberra, ACT Government.

APPENDIX 1



ACT GOVERNMENT STUDY - Research Design and Methodology


Research data was derived primarily from two sources (a) Budget Papers and Purchaser Agreements and (b) formal interview data. After examining formal articulation of outcome and output setting within the ACT Government Purchaser Provider context, the study sought to test the congruence of budget and other data with qualitative interview data. This combined research design methodology was selected to best describe and explain multiple constructed realities about public institutional arrangements and government citizen mechanisms; account for unknown variables and context bound research data; accommodate the methods of data collection such as informative small sample observations and account for inductive analysis and narrative findings (Leedy 1997), (Long 1998) .

Thirty interviews were conducted within a twelve month period in two six week periods. The timing of the interviews was designed to avoid capture of the data by controversial issues unique to one point in time. The interviews were conducted on the condition that the study did not identify interviewees because the interviews were discussing politically sensitive data. No lengthy quotes will be cited in presenting the data to preserve the ethical undertakings of the researcher. Most of the interviews followed a semi structured format and were taped and transcribed and covered the following topics:


There are a number of limitations of the method that should be noted at the outset. Interviews may yield socially sanitized data because the interviewer was an "outsider", a tape recorder was present and views expressed were personal and not necessarily consistent with political ideology and public policy. Conclusions drawn from the literature and the study are necessarily limited to the subjective interpretation of the author. Further, the ACT Government is unique in the sense it is both a city and a state jurisdiction. The nature of this environment may have unforeseen consequences on the data interpretation and may further limit the transferability of study conclusions.





Quantitative Data - Budget Papers


Budget Consultation about Outcomes


Budget submissions and government responses about outcomes were extremely general and did not relate directly to the articulated "A Clever, Caring Capital vision through: a healthy, safe, diverse and contributing community; a dynamic, sustainable economy; and accessible, cost effective services" (ACT Government 1998/99), (Government 1999-2000) . Of the four services, most submissions addressed mental health concerns (4 of 41 in 1997-98, 5 of 55 in 1998-99 and 3 of 55 in 1999-2000), followed by Tourism (with 1 of 41 in 1997-98, 1 of 55 in 1998-99 and 2 of 55 in 1999-2000). Racing and the ACT Public Trustee service provision attracted little budget comment over the four years.

Budget Consultation about Outputs


Budget submissions and government responses about specific outputs were non existent. Prior or future outputs were not mentioned in any submissions. ACT Study interviews suggest that Budget articulation of outputs in each year also received next to no political scrutiny in the Assembly in the budget or estimates process.

Budget Consultation about the Purchaser Provider and Service Purchasing


There was some comment in the budget process about the introduction of the purchaser provider model and service purchasing arrangements, mainly by the Australian Capital Territory Council on Social Services (ACTCOSS). Of 41 submissions in 1997-98, 3 submissions made comment on purchaser provider arrangements (ACT Government 1997-98) . One of these submissions was from ACTCOSS, which was at that stage one of four community representatives on the reference group for the Rogan Johnson implementation of service purchasing arrangements Report in 1997. Of 55 submissions in 1998-99, ACTCOSS submitted the only comment on purchaser provider arrangements through the budget process, arguing for the implementation of recommendations of the Quality of Life Report (ACT Government 1998/99) such as the development of qualitative as well and quantitative outputs .

Comment on purchaser provider and service purchasing arrangements in 1999-2000 was mainly manifested in February 1999 submissions to the ACT Legislative Standing Committee Inquiry into Service Purchasing Arrangements (Rogan 1997), (Various 1999). Of 23 submissions, one was from the Rogan Johnson Reference Group (ACTCOSS, Council on the Aging, the Youth Coalition of the ACT and Volunteering ACT) and ACTCOSS submitted an additional one. The ACT Government also provided a submission .

Themes in the non-government submissions were similar. The main concerns included the observation that the implementation of Rogan Johnson recommendations had been patchy, inconsistent, slow and problematic. Health purchasing policy, for example, far exceeded progress in other areas. While Health purchasing describes services purchased, this set of arrangements was not transferable however to all areas of public service delivery; courts did not have flexibility of which services would be delivered. Some submissions expressed the view that resources were inadequate for the development of technical expertise of providers; providers were not skilled in formulating business plans, did not know how to express accountability requirements. In the case of health, small providers were being driven from the market due to the cost of legislative changes to the award and some argued for financial compensation. Women and church groups argued "an economic model should not be used for human services as client outcomes are threatened by commercial rivalry and adversarial relationships between providers". Of greatest significance to the study, some submissions argued that the recipient of the service was not considered in the development of outputs: "agreements meet the needs of purchasers and providers but not recipients". Over half the submissions recommended that implementation should cease and be reviewed (Various 1999).

Consultation outside budget processes but recorded in Budget and purchasing documentation


There is consistent comment in Budget submissions in Budget papers from 1997-98 to 1999-2000 to provide additional support and recognition to the volunteer sector and ongoing need for community consultation in the Budget and other consultation processes arrangements (ACT Government 1997-98; ACT Government 1998/99), (Government 1999-2000). Each of the Budget papers details an output for the Chief Minister's Community Consultation Unit. Initially the Unit's output was to maintain effective liaison between community and the Government to inform policy development. This output became "support the development and maintenance of a strategic relationship with the ACT Community in the development and delivery of Government policy" in 1998-99 Budget papers to "ACT community policy initiatives and projects" in 1999-2000 Budget Papers.

Qualitative Data - Interviews


The following views were expressed in the context of the study's interviews and reflect perceived dilemmas rather than directions for improvement.


While some ACT Government public sector officials and publicly owned entities perceived recipients as "customers" in a classic economic principal agent sense, most interviewees voluntarily expressed distinctions between customers and citizens and noted elements including the lack of choice, consumer sovereignty and purchasing power of the recipient in all four selected ACT Government services. "Customer" and "Community" were argued to be the "same in the language of government" but most providers argued for a more complex understanding of the recipients and their non-economically driven needs and choices. The price mechanism alone was argued to lead to inequitable and inappropriate service delivery.

Some interviewees expressed the view that there was a continuum between customer and community that affected the degree to which service provision could meet the need of the recipient. Racing could be argued to be customer driven but the ACT government was supporting the racing industry in Canberra, reflecting an inefficient market. Interviewees argued it was the racing product, not the punter, driving demand because there was no punter critical mass. The ACT Public Trustee's recipients included those unable for physical or mental reasons to take care of their own affairs, or in other words, deemed legally to be unable to make an informed choice. Public mental health service recipients were also argued in interviews to be unable to make an informed choice. Recipients of publicly funded tourism services were not, in fact, those Canberra tax payers who paid for the services. Interviewees argued that their "customers" were the Chief Minister and tax payers who were beneficiaries of the commercial exchange. Nevertheless, the pure purchaser provider metaphor does not accommodate the additional complexity of relationships and exchanges in the case of tourism.


No interviewees argued that there was a direct relationship between the recipient and the determination of outcomes and outputs and there was no assertion that citizen-government arrangements in the ACT Government were directly linked to the determination of outcomes and outputs. Indeed, those involved with the Budget preparation argued that "the document needed to strike a balance between detail and overview...and intended the document and the consultation process to encourage comment on general priorities and directions rather than a detailed analysis of budget measures" (ACT Government 1998/99) . Therefore, the budget consultation was never intended to specifically address outcomes and outputs and consultation was never considered to be directly focused on determining outcomes and outputs. ACT Budget documentation and Purchase agreements, which characterise the delivery of services in the ACT, do not directly reflect the recipient or the citizen-government connection: community consultation.


Most purchasers, providers and those outside the purchaser provider model regarded the Budget reporting and consultation arrangements as superficial and unrepresentative of actual government service provision. Most interviewees expressed the view that, in practice, the "purchaser-provider" model was loosely interpreted depending on the service. For example, health and tourism purchasing referred to a "purchaser-provider-purchaser-provider model", reflecting the practice of cascading subcontracting of provision of services. For both of these services, the relevant Department purchased services from an agency who then contracted out the services to other service providers who contracted out to others and so on. The ACT Public Trustee was described as "outside the purchaser provider model" because there was no choice about the services purchased but operated within imposed purchaser provider budget and reporting requirements. For example, the ACT Public Trustee was required to service a planned output of a certain number of welfare funerals; a guess at best. Racing services were described as independent from the ACT Government jurisdiction. While a "cash cow" for the ACT Government, the relationship between policy and delivery was argued by interviewees to be vested in the national racing industry and subject to the racing product and State and international TAB ownership and cooperation.

Some regarded budget information and the expression of outcomes and outputs to be "the best at the moment in spite of needing work" while others were more scathing and reported them as "absurd", "irrelevant" and "under-scrutinised politically". The lack of scrutiny of specific outputs in the Assembly budget and estimates process was a result of, in one interviewee's view, a lack of political understanding of the role of outputs in performance and accountability. Interviewees noted that in the short time the budget papers had included outputs, those outputs had changed dramatically and were still evolving. Interviewees complained of having to represent their activity according to a reporting framework that was externally imposed and "meaningless".

Mental Health outcomes and outputs were argued by interviewees to be primarily driven by Federal Government priorities and funding; interviewees noted instances of politically expedient intergovernmental health allocations and formulation of Purchase Agreements consistent with federal priorities. Racing and Tourism outcomes were argued by interviewees to be financially driven from within the Chief Ministers Office and outputs driven by the national Racing and Tourism industries, both of whom were being "propped up financially by the ACT Government". Interviewees argued that without government intervention in tourism and racing, the industries in Canberra would fold. ACT Public Trustee outputs were argued by interviewees to be driven by legal obligations under the Community Advocate Act, the Children's Services Act, the Mental Health Treatment and Protection Act, the Guardianship and Management of Property Act; the ACT Government could not legally choose not to have the public trustee service.


ACT Government consultation arrangements were argued by most interviewees to be too broad, resource intensive and unfocussed. Some interviewees expressed the view that consultation results were not passed on to those who needed them, and, that, the ACT community was over-consulted and representativeness of community views in those consultations was skewed. The most significant factor bearing on the determination and pursuit of publicly defined values in the ACT Government was the almost exclusive emphasis on participation in municipal rather than state functions. Interviewee views indicate that the unique nature of the ACT Government City State has enabled the development of processes that channel consultation energies into potentially politically expedient municipal issues and not state issues.






Schedule of Interviews


Service
Owner
Purchaser
Providers
Health
outcomes management, Department of Health and Community Services 14/5/99
Purchasing, Department of Health and Community Services 5/5/99
Canberra Hospital, 12/5/99
Calvary Hospital, 10/5/99
ACT Community Care, 10/5/99
Racing
Bureau of Sport and Recreation 6/5/99
Gaming and Racing Authority, 11/5/99
ACTTAB Management and Finance, 2/9/98
Public Trustee
Department of Justice and Community Service 14/5/99

ACT Public Trustee, 14/5/99
Tourism
Tourism and 21C Projects, 13/5/99

Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation
13/5/99
Community Consultation
Community Consultation Unit 25/2/99, 18/5/99


Territory Owned Corporations
GBE Management 21/8/98
Director Business Improvement,14/8/98
Human Resources, 14/8/98, 24/8/98
GBE Management 21/8/98, 2/9/98
Industry Policy and Regulation, 12/8/98
CanDeliver, 4/9/98
Totalcare, 7/9/98
ACTEW 3/9/98
ACTEW, 28/8/98

Other

ACT Auditor General, 18/5/99
ACT Community Advocate, 19/5/99
ACTCOSS Director, 24/5/99
Chief Minister's Department, Purchasing Policy, 27/5/99
ACT Government, Chief Minister's Department Financial Management 1/6/99


Public Policy Program Discussion Papers

The Public Policy Program publishes occasional Discussion Papers by staff, students, visitors and others associated with the Program.

In November 1997 the program began making electronic copies of most recent Discussion Papers available to be down loaded from the program's website at http://www.anu.edu.au/pubpol/discussp.html (*marked below with an asterisk).

Enquiries should be directed to: The Editor, Discussion Papers, Public Policy Program, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200.

Papers published thus far are:

No. 1 Larry Dwyer, Estimating the Lifesavings Benefits of Controls on Hazardous Wastes: Two Problems for the Policymaker. (July 1986)

No. 2 Jane Marceau, Unequal Returns: Aspects of Opportunity in Australia. (October 1986)

No. 3 Rolf Gerritsen, Making Policy Under "Uncertainty": The Labor Government's Reaction to the "Rural Crisis". (February 1987)

No. 4 Eleanor Moses, The Oil Price Fall of 1986. (July 1987)

No. 5 P J Forsyth, Productivity Measurments in the Public Sector. (August 1987)

No. 6 Rolf Gerritsen, What Do Budget Outcomes Tell Us About the Australian States? (September 1987)

No. 7 Rolf Gerritsen, Collective Action Problems in the Regulation of Australia's Common Property Renewable Resources. (October 1987)

No. 8 Neil Marshall, Bureaucratic Politics and the Demise of the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. (March 1988)

No. 9 Charles Maskell, Does Medicare Matter? (May 1988)

No. 10 Ray Jureidini, Public Policy and Marketplace Discrimination: Life Insurance and Superannuation. (June 1988)

No. 11 Roger Wettenhall, Overlapping Public Sectors; Notes on Foreign Public Enterprise Activity in Australia. (July 1988)

No. 12 Deborah Mitchell, Assessing the Adequacy of Social Security Payments. A Study Using U.K. Data. (August 1988)

No. 13 Rolf Gerritsen, Informing Wilderness Policy: The Distributional Implications of Conservation. (January 1989)

No. 14 Christine Fletcher, Isolated Aborigines and Road Funding Policies in Western Australia. (March 1989)

No. 15 Rolf Gerritsen, A Comment on the Appropriate Assignment of Policy Powers in the Australian Federation. (November 1989)

No. 16 Deborah Mitchell, Comparative Measures of Welfare Effort . (January 1990)

No. 17 Ann Cronin, Trends and Tensions in Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector. (February 1990).

No. 18 Deborah Mitchell, Comparing Income Transfer Systems: Is Australia the Poor Relation? (May 1990)

No. 19 John Uhr, Ethics in Government: Public Service Issues. (June 1990).

No. 20 Peter Cochrane & Rolf Gerritsen, The Public Policy Implications of Eucalypt Plantation Establishment: An Introductory Survey. (September 1990).

No. 21 F G Castles & D Mitchell, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism or Four? (September 1990)

No. 22 Francis Castles & Michael Flood, Divorce, the Law and Social Context: Families of Nations and the Legal Dissolution of Marriage. (January 1991)

No. 23 Rolf Gerritsen, The Impossible "Politics" of Microeconomic Reform. (February 1991).

No. 24 Duane Swank, Electoral and Partisan Influences on Australian Fiscal Policy From Menzies to Hawke. (May 1991)

No. 25 Francis Castles, On Sickness Days and Social Policy. (July 1991)

No. 26 Adrian Kenneth Noon, The Negligible Impact of Specific Purpose Payments and Australia's "New Federalism". (August 1991)

No. 27 Kerry Barwise & Francis G. Castles, The "New Federalism", Fiscal Centralisation and Public Policy Outcomes. (September 1991)

No. 28 Francis G. Castles & Jenny Stewart, Towards Industrially Sustainable Development? Industry Policy Under the Hawke Government. (October 1991)

No. 29 Stephen Albin, Bureau-Shaping and Contracting Out: The Case of Australian Local Government. (January 1992)

No. 30 Adrian Kenneth Noon, Determining the Fiscal Policy Time-Frame: the Dominance of Exogenous Circumstances. (February 1992)

No. 31 Christopher John Eichbaum, Challenging the Intellectual Climate of the Times: Why the Reserve Bank of Australia is Too Independent? (January 1993)

No. 32 Joan Corbett, Child Care Provision and Women's Labour Market Participation in Australia. (February 1993)

No. 33 Francis G. Castles, Social Security in Southern Europe:
A Comparative Overview. (March 1993)

No.34 Francis G. Castles, On Religion and Public Policy: Does Catholicism Make a Difference? (April 1993)

No.35 Rolf Gerritsen, "Authority, Persuasion and Exchange" (Revisited): The Public Policy of Internationalising the Australian Economy. (August 1993)

No.36 Deborah Mitchell, Taxation and Income Redistribution: The "Tax Revolt" of the 1980s Revisited. (September 1993)

No.37 Kim Terrell, Desperately Seeking Savings, Performance and Accountability. Policing Options for the Australian Capital Territory. (September 1993)

No.38 Francis G. Castles, Is Expenditure Enough? On the Nature of the Dependent Variable in Comparative Public Policy Analysis. (February 1994)

No.39 Francis G. Castles, The Wage Earners' Welfare State Revisited: Refurbishing the Established Model of Australian Social Protection, 1983-1993. (March 1994)

No.40 Francis G. Castles, Testing the Limits of the Metaphore: Fordist and Post-Fordist Life Cycles in Australia and New Zealand. (May 1994)

No.41 Louise Watson, Making the Grade: Benchmarking Performance in Australian Schooling. (August 1994)

No. 42 Siwan Lovett, Evaluating Reform of the New Zealand Science, Research and Development System: New Deal or Dud Hand? (September 1994)

No. 43 Choon Fah Low, An Evaluation of the Impact of the ANU's Graduate Program in Public Policy on its Student's and Graduate's Careers. (October 1994)

No. 44 Einar Overbye, Different Countries on a Similar Path: Comparing Pensions Politics in Scandinavia and Australia . (August 1995)

No.45 Grant Jones, Games Public Servants Play: The Management of Parliamentary Scrutiny Before Commonwealth Estimates Committees. (August 1995)

No.46 Stephen Horn, Disagreeing About Poverty: A Case Study in Derivation Dependence . (August 1995)

No 47 Douglas Hynd. Concerned with Outcomes or Obsessed with Progress? Characteristics of Senate Committee Reports During the Period 1990-1994 . (September 1995)

No. 48 Pip Nicholson. Does the System of Appointing Australian High Court Judges Need Reform? (November 1995)

*No. 49 Fred Argy, The Balance Between Equity and Efficiency in Australian Public Policy (November 1996)

*No. 50 Deborah Mitchell, Family Policy in Australia: A review of recent
developments. (March 1997)

*No. 51 Richard Mulgan, Contracting Out and Accountability . (May 1997)

*No. 52 Cynthia J. Kim, Will they still pay up-front? An analysis of the
HECS changes in 1997 (May 1997)

*No. 53 Richard Mulgan, Restructuring -The New Zealand Experience froman Australian Perspective (June 1997)

*No. 54 P.N. Junankar, Was Working Nation Working? (July 1997)

*No. 55 Deborah Mitchell, Reshaping Australian ?Social Policy: alternatives to the breadwinner welfare state (December 1997)

*No. 56 Irene Krauss, Voluntary Redundancy from the Australian Public Service-its impact on people and families in the ACT (March 1998)

*No. 57 Peter Taft, Does who wins matter more or less? An analysis of major party candidate views on some aspects of economic policy, 1987-1996 (July 1998).

*No. 58 Elise Sullivan, A Case Study In The Politics Of Retrenchment: The 1997 Coalition Residential Aged Care Structural Reform Package (November 1998).

*No. 59 Richard Mulgan, Have New Zealand's Political Experiments Increased Public Accountability * (January 1999).

*No. 60 Michael Bergmann, The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme: How did it Manage Without an EIA? (Februaary 1999)

*No. 61 Clive Hamilton, Using Economics to Protect the Environment (March 1999)

*No. 62 Withers, Glenn Essays on Immigration Policy (March 1999)

*No. 63 Withers, Glenn A Younger Australia (March 1999)

*No. 64 McMullan, Bob; Shadow Minister for Industry and Technology, The Responsibilities Of Opposition (May 1999)

*No. 65 Evans, Harry, Clerk of the Senate, The Senate And Parliamentary Accountability (June 1999)

*No.66 Barrett, Pat, AM, Auditor General for Australia, Auditing in contemporary public administration , (June 1999)

*No.67 Enfield, Samantha, Public Sector Restructuring and Community Consultation in the Australian Capital Territory: Can Old and New Public Policy Trends Work Together? , (September 1999)

* electronic copy available to be down loaded from our web site at

http://www.anu.edu.au/pubpol/discussp.html