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Measuring performance in Australia’s Job Network (A) 2007-37.1

19 March 2007



In May 1998, the Liberal-National Coalition Government of Australia introduced “Job Network”, a new way of providing services for unemployed people. Job Network was created using competitive bidding, and hundreds of providers were contracted to deliver employment services on behalf of the Australian Government. Some employment services had already been outsourced under the previous Labor Government’s Working Nation scheme. But Job Network went much further, not only in the range of services contracted out, but also in its greater emphasis on paying providers for employment outcomes for job seekers. Moreover, job seekers would be able to choose among providers, who would therefore be subject to competitive pressure to perform. For the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, who had to manage and monitor the new system, it was clear that a new era in employment services had begun.

This case can be used to discuss performance measurement or policy skills for a new “revolutionary” service, focused on outcomes and offering consumers choice. Part A gives a brief history of unemployment services in Australia before describing Job Network and its functions.

Read more:

  • Part B describes the strengths and challenges found in Job Network’s early model, particularly in giving job seekers adequate information.
  • Part C describes the department’s unique approach to performance measurement: the Star Ratings system.
Authors: Janine O'Flynn
Published Date: 19 March 2007
Author Institution: University of Canberra
Featured Content Length: 6
Content Length: 9
Product Type: Part A, Primary resources