Privatization in Practice: Case Studies of Contracting for TANF Case Management. Division of Responsibilities Between Agency and Contractor

03/01/2003

While public agencies retain ultimate responsibility for supervising the activities of their contractors, service providers in all the sites also keep tabs on their own operations. Contracts in some study sites  Lower Rio Grande Valley, Palm Beach County, and Wisconsin  require service providers to undertake internal monitoring, effectively bundling these functions with service delivery. In other locations, contractors perform internal reviews on their own or in response to increased scrutiny by the public agency. The sophistication and intensity of contractors internal monitoring varies widely across service providers, particularly in sites where these activities are voluntary. Some contractors review their operations continuously, addressing multiple aspects of service delivery and hiring quality assurance staff for this purpose. Many providers, however, do so on an ad hoc and irregular basis.

When contractors take on monitoring responsibilities, the public agencys role sometimes shifts to include technical assistance. Members of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Boards quality assurance staff, for example, consider their primary duty to be guiding contractor staff in performing their own monitoring. Board staff may conduct frequent reviews during the early phases of a new contract, but their aim is to turn this task over to contractors.

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