In the last 35 years, governments around the globe have increasingly contracted with nonprofit and for-profit entities designed to provide a portion of the public sector’s portfolio of goods and services. This trend can be traced to a variety of factors, including perceived or actual economic efficiencies in outsourcing goods and services, values concerning the role and size of government in society, and the financial and organizational constraints of many government entities. In the United States, child welfare services adopted a pro-contracting approach early, and a variety of other human services have followed suit, including mental health care, job training, homeless services and others. Although there is strong evidence to suggest that human service contracting is growing over time, scholarship continues to lag on topics related to human service contract management, policy implementation and innovation, performance-based contracting and evaluation.
This new volume in the Public Solutions Handbook series is the first volume-length treatment of human services contracting issues, integrating both policy and practice, and exploring a broad range of issues that includes the fields of history, growth, innovations, results and outcomes, best practices and the future of government human service contracting. Chapters in this book examine specific human service contracts, both in the U.S. and abroad, geared to practitioners in the public sector—from local government service contractors to municipal employees—as well as MPA students and those enrolled in courses on intergovernmental relations and nonprofit management.