Personalised care and market-based approaches to public service provision have gained prominence in a range of OECD countries. Australia has recently joined this trend, launching a complex and expansive program of individualised care funding for disability through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Despite the growing dominance of public sector markets and individualised funding, many questions about the role and responsibility of governments in managing and regulating these markets remain unanswered. In Australia, market stewardship has been noted by premier policy advisory bodies as an area that requires significant development. In this paper we use interviews with policymakers charged with designing and implementing the Australian National Insurance Scheme to examine the range of roles and bodies that have been identified as playing a role in market stewardship. We argue that at present there is a lack of clarity around what market stewardship means and who is best placed to carry it out. In response we offer conceptual clarity regarding what market stewardship does and does not include, its governance and the risks that governments can seek to mitigate through such approaches.
Dr Carey is Associate Professor and Research Director of the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales. Prior to this she held posts at UNSW Canberra and the Australian National University. Her research is focused on policy governance and coordination.