These reviews built on trends toward the contracting out of community services that began in earnest in BC in the 1980s. Faced with pressure to do more with less, governments relied more heavily on a model of contracting for community services based on a competitive private sector procurement model. This model may have the unintended consequence of undermining existing community infrastructure through agency closures, poorly planned changes in service provision, and ongoing uncertainty about service delivery and planning.
This study examines the nature and impact of this model, together with a comparative analysis of procurement policies in other jurisdictions, to arrive at recommendations for the BC government that would improve the funding environment for community services and the outcomes that the sector can generate for labour-force, individual and community well-being.
Ultimately, we propose a new model of procuring community services that maximizes benefit to the community and government, creating sustainable outcomes in the community. To do this, we draw from examples from other jurisdictions, many of which direct procurement for community services to community-based organizations, often involving long-term funding models that value stability as well as accountability for outcomes and that recognize the government’s unique relationship with the sector.