Chapter 10

Paucity Management in Human Services Delivery in Remote and Rural Communities

Susan Mlcek


The juxtaposition of doing ‘more with less’, and ‘being privileged to be a community welfare worker’ gives some indication of the anomalies present in how human service work is conceived and manifested. The contribution of this chapter is to provide further knowledge and understanding of the nature, level and extent of paucity management models to inform the way community welfare services (human services) are delivered in rural communities. Paucity management relates to the way that managers identify and utilise strategies to counter the anomaly of possessing a deep philosophical underpinning in the value of community work, with the lack of means to meet all the needs and expectations of community members. </p><p> Fifteen managers from the Central West Region of New South Wales in Australia were asked to share work narratives about the way their activities contributed to sustaining their communities (Mlcek, 2008). The research confirmed yet again that community services are delivered strategically in spite of, or because of, a resource-poor environment that is mainly punctuated by the non-availability of ever-decreasing funds (Mlcek, 2008). New ways of seeking resources have resulted in managers and workers navigating competing priorities at ground level, with trying to balance the tensions implicit in a directive provider-purchaser work dynamic that has seen the evolvement of the hybrid government organisation. One of several useful considerations addressed in this chapter relates to the ‘look’ of models of paucity management and especially in relation to, how they were utilised to enable useful engagement in an era of hybridisation.

Total Pages: 416-472 (57)

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