n Journal of Public Administration - Contracting-out of public services and its implications for accountability : reflections on the Australian Public Service (APS)

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Contracting-out is one of the alternatives available to the public sector for service delivery. It involves the provision of goods / services by private and / or non-profit organizations, but paid for using public funds. This arrangement raises questions about accountability. In modern democracies, accountability is taken as central to good governance, which includes among others, that public funds be expended for designated purposes, and that government administration be transparent, efficient and in accordance with the law. Two arguments come to light. Firstly, proponents of contracting-out maintain that it improves efficiency and quality by harnessing the virtues of competition, and secondly, legitimate expectations arise that the contracted provider be held publicly accountable. This article seeks to explore this notion of contracting-out of public services in the Australian Public Service and its implications on accountability. The quest to explore the aforesaid notion, two significant reports are referred to. They are and .

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