POLS 2250 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Confederation Bridge, Collaborative Partnerships, Petro-Canada

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9 Aug 2016
Week #7
Chapter #8: Alternative Service Delivery – page #127-139:
Alternative service delivery (ASD) – the trend in recent years for governments to search for
more innovative and efficient ways to deliver services than through traditional departments
and agencies
Three dimensions along which alternative service delivery may develop:
1. Along one dimension, services are moving away from relying on the public sector and
toward an acceptance that the private sector is capable of offering public services to
citizens. Government may contract with private firms to offer a service or establish a
public/private partnership with a non-profit organization for the purpose of operating a
2. A second dimension measures the extent of federal government control of the delivery
mechanism. The newer approaches to service delivery does not require that government
control delivery completely. Government may set up special agencies that involve a
relaxation of normal ministerial oversight or exploit new technologies that permit services
to be offered outside traditional organizational structures.
3. A third dimension illustrated in the figure concerns the level of commercialization. This
refers to the extent to which the organization makes a profit or generates revenue by
selling its goods or services at the point of purchase. One of the changes we have seen
in recent years is that users now pay directly for more services which government
traditionally provided free of charge
An organizational option or response to the challenge of improving the capacity of
governments to manage change, promote innovation, and meet their infrastructure and
service delivery obligation more efficiently and effectively
oThe federal government sees ASD as consisting of two related parts, both if
which serve to improve performance of organizations
Alternative service delivery is a creative dynamic process of public sector restructuring that
improves the delivery of services to clients by sharing governance functions with individuals,
community groups, and other government entities. ASD approaches provide a toolbox from
which governments can tailor various options to meet their own prevailing needs and
demands. ASD is a dynamic spectrum of delivery options that challenge hierarchical public
service structures and allow public servants the flexibility to adapt to their future environment
oEmphasis on a creative and dynamic process
oSuggests there is no “one best way” of delivering a service
Origins of ASD:
The intellectual origins of ASD lie in the emergence of the new public management and the
belief that “government should concentrate more on developing policy and allow its
implementation…to be taken over by organizations outside government”
The rise of the new public management supplied the intellectual foundation for the argument
in favour of adopting ASD
Citizen-Centred Government:
In the past years, people have lost some confidence in their governments and assumed a
less deferential stance towards public authorities
At the same time, they have demanded government services that are more directly conscious
of the needs of the citizenry and whose implementation may involve those outside the
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Week #7
Consumers of public service insist on “timely service, staff knowledge and competence, staff
going the extra mile, fair treatment and a satisfactory outcome”
Citizens expect the government to improve access to government services and to provide
easy, convenient, connected access to a variety of government services and information in
one place, or through one interaction. Canadians expect the government to organize service
delivery from their perspective as citizens
Reduction in Size and Scope of Government:
It will lower government spending and improve the quality of service delivery
Restructuring within the government to provide the service better at a lower cost
Involves giving the private sector and non-private sector organizations a great role in service
Flexibility in Service Delivery:
Desire to increase the flexibility in the delivery of services
One problem hampering government in service delivery is an excessive emphasis on process
control rather than on achieved results
Rules are important to ensure prudence and probity and to prevent mistakes and
embarrassment, but they can also sometimes get in the way of good service delivery
Governments should be able to adjust their operation and shed unnecessary red tape, but
there are valid reasons why government organizations will always put more emphasis on
process control than smaller, more flexible organizations
It might be useful for other agents for the delivery of certain services
Motivating Employees:
It can be very difficult for governments to move employees around to meet changing
demands or to reward or penalize employees on the basis of their performance
These are valuable safeguards for protecting the rights of employees, but they can also
introduce rigidities that make it difficult to respond to the needs of citizens
Private sector and other nongovernmental organizations usually have the flexibility to
redeploy employees more quickly and to reward employees more directly for a job well done
Many people would prefer to work for these types of organizations – greater sense of
Involvement of Users in Service Delivery:
The traditional governmental approach is based on a concept of ministerial responsibility that
emphasizes top-down, hierarchical decision making, with users on the receiving end of
decisions made in capital cities
ASD mechanisms can bring users directly into the decision making process to ensure that
services are provided in ways that are more directly responsive to their needs
The involvement of users and others can be particularly helpful in dealing with problems
flowing from issues in which goals are either not known or are ambiguous, and in which the
means-ends relationships are uncertain and poorly understood
Nongovernmental organizations have more flexibility to experiment with different approaches
Alternative Service Delivery Mechanisms:
ASD forms and structures can be categorized in many different ways
oUsing the 3 dimensions
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