Procurement; social enterprises; co-operatives & public service: the United Kingdom's 'Big Society' reforms and Australian business law

Floyd, Louise (2012) Procurement; social enterprises; co-operatives & public service: the United Kingdom's 'Big Society' reforms and Australian business law. Australian Business Law Review, 40 (4). pp. 280-302.

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Abstract

The United Kingdom's Cameron Government embraces "The Big Society" – a legal strategy that reduces provision of services by the public sector (what Prime Minister David Cameron calls "Big Government") and seeks to have services (ranging from education through to health care) delivered at a localised level. Such localised service provision places greater importance on the role of procurement policies and the operation of co-operatives and social enterprises. The idea is a dramatic expansion of the notion of choice and competition of the former Blair Government. Significantly for Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP (without using the British term "Big Society") has flagged similar changes for this country (should he win office). But the fact choice and competition in some form has been embraced by successive British Governments means these issues have legal significance for Australia beyond the political cycle. This article examines what is "The Big Society"; and argues that should Australia adopt such, we would need to strengthen our procurement laws and policies and better understand the behaviour of co-operatives. The article examines particular difficulties that have arisen in implementing the Big Society in Great Britain, along with recent Australian procurements – the Building the Education Revolution Task Force Report and the pink batts scheme. Through that analysis it is concluded that: Australia needs procurement laws and policies that promote social value; that the government needs to maintain a strong role through a procurement champion or strong public works administration – and that the special public nature of government work must be promoted through the internal governance of co-operatives and through an overarching system of government regulation that makes those co-operatives accountable.

Item ID: 26132
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: business law
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ISSN: 0310-1053
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2013 00:33
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940405 Law Reform @ 100%
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