Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Publicly Supported Human Services: A Comparative Review of Systems and Performance in New York City and Other Jurisdictions

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 9:30 AM
Ibis (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

James Krauskopf, Baruch College
Publicly Supported Human Services:  A Comparative Review of Systems and Performance in

New York City and Other Jurisdictions

This paper explores how public human service programs are organized and managed between government and nonprofit organizations in New York City and other jurisdictions.  It examines the relationships between government departments and nonprofits in providing human services to residents in New York City and other localities and states.  When, where, and how do governments utilize nonprofit organizations to deliver human services?  What is the history and extent of these relationships in different jurisdictions?  What mechanisms—grants, contracts, and other vehicles—are employed to establish these relationships?  How are they developed and improved over time?

The research creates a comparative framework for analyzing these relationships, drawing on the contracting literature on government-nonprofit relations.  It utilizes nonprofit, policy, and management books and journals, as well as reports by governments, foundations, and policy research organizations (Urban Institute and others). The paper builds on two previous papers in 2013 and 2014 on contract improvement initiatives in New York City (NYC) human services programs during the administrations of Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, especially transition between them.[1]

New York makes more extensive use of its networks of nonprofit service agencies than do other jurisdictions, partly because it has long had a highly developed social services sector that both presents opportunities for government contracting and is itself a force that influences how public policies are implemented.  NYC government has also addressed as a priority the improvement of contracting and related processes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of this public-nonprofit service delivery system, nevertheless leaving many important issues still to be resolved.

This study draws on research about the patterns of human services delivery in other cities, counties, and states selected to identify other locations where nonprofits are utilized actively and extensively.  How do other jurisdictions compare with New York?  In addition to the questions in the first paragraph above, the paper will identify factors that determine the relationships that have developed, how extensive they are, and what systems have been established for service operations.  Where major improvement strategies have been undertaken to improve government-nonprofit operations of human services, their effectiveness, performance measures, and methods will be noted in particular.  Such improvement strategies include applications of technology to improve selection and management systems for contracting and assessment of program impact.

The paper will summarize factors that influence government utilization of nonprofit service delivery mechanisms and improvement strategies.  An important objective is to determine the portability of successful strategies from one jurisdiction to others—including the extent to which such system improvement transfers have occurred and what the obstacles, if any, have been to doing so more frequently.

[1] Jack Krauskopf, “Sustaining Government/Nonprofit Initiatives: New York City Human Services in Transition from Bloomberg to de Blasio,” ARNOVA, Hartford, November 21-23, 2013,;

and “Government/Nonprofit Initiatives in Transition,” ARNOVA, Denver, November 20-22, 2014

Full Paper: