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Municipal reforms in Tasmania : the impact of the purchaser-provider split on service delivery in Hobart and Sorell councils

Abdulai, KM 2007 , 'Municipal reforms in Tasmania : the impact of the purchaser-provider split on service delivery in Hobart and Sorell councils', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis examines the purchaser-provider split in the contexts of two Tasmanian
local government areas — Hobart and Sorell. In particular, it addresses whether the
focus of the purchaser has been redirected in a way that prioritises the assessment
and meeting of the needs of public service customers over the hitherto preoccupation
with service production. This implies a clear shift of emphasis from inputs and
processes to outputs and outcomes. In proceeding with that assessment, other
research is reviewed along with the presentation of the results of the council case
The study investigates whether that split has had an effect on councils' total service
spending, employment and organisational culture and practices. The behaviour of
these variables over time then provides the basis for determining whether there is an
asymmetry in outcomes between the two councils as a result of the introduction of
the purchaser-provider split. The thesis uses a longitudinal research design to analyse
data collected from interviews and secondary sources such as reports, strategic and
annual plans, and newsletters.
This thesis finds that local governments in Tasmania are still preoccupied with inputs
and processes regardless of whether services are delivered by internal or external
providers. The purchaser-provider split has been found to be unrelated to service
category-level spending. The introduction of the model has not led to reductions in
total municipal service spending but has decreased employment. The impact of the
split on quality of services is unknown. Concern with outputs is evident although this
has a weak relation to outcomes. The purchaser's attention has been drawn more to
achieving outputs than outcomes, even though both are supposedly its responsibility.
This evidence, although mixed, does serve to qualify earlier research results which
posited improvements in delivery outcome through the split for some services.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Abdulai, KM
Keywords: Hobart (Tas.). Council, Sorell (Tas.). Council, Local government, Municipal government
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2007 the Author

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2008. Includes bibliographical references. Introduction -- Ch. 1. Public sector reform -- Ch. 2. Ideas and theories underpinning public sector reform -- Ch. 3. The purchaser-provider split -- Ch. 4. Local government reform in Australia -- Ch. 5. The modernisation of local government in Tasmania -- Ch. 6. Reform in Hobart and Sorell councils -- Ch. 7. Institutional changes in Hobart and Sorell councils -- Ch. 8. Purchaser-provider split: theory and evidence from Hobart and Sorell councils -- Conclusion

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