Study on the implication of the reform as proposed by the subvention review to the social welfare services in Hong Kong : a view from the psychiatric residential services

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Study on the implication of the reform as proposed by the subvention review to the social welfare services in Hong Kong : a view from the psychiatric residential services


Author: Ng, Wang-tsang
Title: Study on the implication of the reform as proposed by the subvention review to the social welfare services in Hong Kong : a view from the psychiatric residential services
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1999
Subject: Public welfare -- China -- Hong Kong
Social service -- China -- Hong Kong
Public welfare -- China -- Hong Kong -- Finance
Social service -- China -- Hong Kong -- Finance
Mental health services -- China -- Hong Kong
Associations, institutions, etc. -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Dept. of Management
Pages: ix, 157, [29] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: In March 1995, the Social Welfare Department ( SWD ) commissioned a consultancy review to examine how the current subvention system could be improved. The Subvention Review, so called, is a comprehensive review that covers various aspects of welfare service operation rather than just on subvention. The stated objectives of the Review are to improve and streamline the existing subvention system. Non Governmental Organizations ( NGOs ), formerly known as Voluntary Agencies, will be given more flexibility to provide their services cost effectively. A contracting system will be developed to look at service output and increase the accountability of the NGOs. Also, a series of performance measurement standards will be adopted in order to enhance the quality of welfare services. NGOs generally welcome the Review and agree with the need to reform the existing systems, which have been adopted for decades. Nonetheless, how to achieve the stated objectives, especially in reformulating the funding mode, has been a topic of heated debate. The two proposed funding modes, the Unit Grant Model and Fixed Funding Formula were overwhelmingly turned down by the NGO sector, yet the contracting system ( F&SAs ) and the quality assurance system ( SQSs ) are accepted with doubts. This study adopts the qualitative approach to look at how different players in the welfare field perceive the implications of the Review to the changes in welfare organizations and the services they deliver. In order to narrow down the scope, thirteen practitioners with different roles and backgrounds only in the psychiatric residential services were purposefully selected to give their views in guided interviews. The results reflect a general acceptance of the Review objectives, but the proposed measures, especially the funding systems, arouse much anxiety and concerns over the financing of welfare services. People suspect the Review carries hidden agendas of cutting funds, tightening control and diminishing Government commitment. They also doubt the effectiveness of SQSs and F&SAs in bringing in good quality services. Conspiracy views see the Review is nothing more than a window dressing gesture camouflaging the Government's intention to stop further growth in welfare expenses. No matter people like it or not, the Subvention Review is echoing the Government's endeavor in reforming its services since late 80s when the Report on Public Sector Reform was published. The Review ideas match closely with the doctrines of managerialism and the New Public Management ( NPM ), the reform approach that has been widely adopted in Government reforms all over the world. Though the Review measures have not yet been implemented, the implications of the welfare reform were analyzed against the theoretical framework of the NPM concepts. Discussion on the British and Australian experience in the welfare reform provided a base to look at the possible scenario in the local context. Despite of the criticisms and doubts, positive impacts of the NPM oriented welfare review were highlighted. Though the Government decided not to push hard on the new subvention modes, the SQSs and F&SAs are eventually put in implementation schedules. It is believed that the Government will never give up its plan on funding reforms, and the ideas of output measurement, service quality standard and value for money etc will dominate the new decade to come.

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