Contracting-out for human services has become preferred public policy at all levels of government. This service delivery policy choice has important implications for accountability and for the ability of contracting nonprofit organizations to be flexible and innovative. Although the use of contracting has expanded dramatically in the human services since the 1970s, many important public management policy questions remain unasked and unanswered. This article raises and discusses nine largely unanswered questions that are central to the reasons why government continues to expand its dependence on contracted human services. These questions address key elements of a larger policy-of-public-management question: “Is it possible to achieve accountability and flexibility when government contracts-out for the provision of publicly funded human services?” By addressing these nine questions, we seek to determine what is known and not known about the key accountability issues in contracted public human services. We also attempt to highlight the importance of these questions and issues for public management policy, inter-sectorial organization theory, the practice of nonprofit and public organization management, and thus for research and theory development.
Ott, J.S. and Dieke, L.A. (2000), "Important but largely unanswered questions about accountability in contracted public human services", International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, Vol. 3 No. 3/4, pp. 283-317. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOTB-03-03-04-2000-B003
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Copyright © 2000 by Marcel Dekker, Inc.