Outsourcing Public Employment Services: The Australian Experience

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 04/00

Date: March 2000


Elizabeth Webster
Glenys Harding


While privatising or tendering out government infrastructure and public works services has become commonplace in Australia, its incursion into human services is comparatively new. Some outsourcing issues and problems are common to both types of service but the welfare or human dimension also brings forth different complexities. This paper discusses the theoretical rationale for outsourcing existing government services in the context of empirical studies. It also provides a short history of outsourcing in Australian job placement and labour market programs. Although large scale outsourcing placement services occurred two years ago (May 1998) with the introduction of the Job Network, there has been no published formal evaluations undertaken due to the lack of publication of administrative data.

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