Bob Davidson

Postgraduate Research

Research Topic: Contestability and human services: A case study of community aged care
Supervisors: Prof Peter SaundersProf Deborah Brennan

Description: A major argument for the substantial marketisation of human services over the last thirty years has been the belief of its proponents in the positive impact of contestability on service providers. The first part of this research examines the theoretical implications for the concept of contestability when the ‘product’ is a human service, given the distinctive features of human services that are the source of substantial, intrinsic market failure. The second part of the research is an empirical study of the community aged care (home care) industry in NSW, examining contestability in the industry and its impact on service providers. The empirical study considers what providers and types of providers have been most successful in winning funding and clients, how service providers manage the tensions and complementarities between social and commercial objectives in a market environment, and how their response impacts on their capacity to achieve the social policy objectives of the services. The broad intention of the research is to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of marketisation and commercial imperatives on human services providers, and to develop theory and methodology that can facilitate examination and comparison of these impacts across a wide range of types of human services and markets.