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Justifying Social Services: Partnership and Risk in the Alberta Funding Regime Open Access


Other title
Government of Alberta
Alberta funding
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Tighe, Caitlin A.
Supervisor and department
Haggerty, Kevin (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Northcott, Herbert (Sociology)
Aitken, Rob (Political Science)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This research focuses on the funding relationships between the provincial government and the not-for-profit sector in Alberta. Since funding cuts and risk management accounting techniques were introduced in the 1990s, the funding environment has evolved in the direction of enhanced sophistication of risk management techniques. The current environment is a remnant of the changes in values that took place during this period. Current trends indicate a continuation of these values, repackaged under the guise of community and individual empowerment. Recent policy and legislation such as the Results Based Budgeting Act and the Social Policy Framework are reminiscent of past initiatives designed to enhance fiscal accountability, create efficiencies and generate expectations for the not-for-profit sector to deliver consistent services with fewer resources. Drawing on interview and observational data, this project examines the implications of key neoliberal assumptions and practices as they pertain to the not-for-profit sector in Alberta. In particular, I am interested in the devolution of what were previous state activities onto the not-for-profit sector alongside the notion of equitable partnerships, control at a distance through financial accounting measures, the role of evidence-based ideology and the embrace of risk management techniques. I argue that the actual implementation of these key neoliberal ideas often have detrimental consequences for not-for-profit agencies in terms of their ability to deliver focused programming and their need to dedicate a disproportionate amount of funds to accountability requirements and sustaining programs.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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