Assignment Two: Policy Analysis Essay Example

  • Category:
    Sociology
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
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    2670

Policy Analysis-e-services for the Elderly Innovation in Australia

Introduction

Similar to other global nations, the Australian government has developed a number of social human services for its society. In this regard, the human services are aimed at ensuring a better, healthy and coordinated society in the long run period. The execution of these functions in the Australian government is executed by the Department of social services. One of the human social services offered by the department is caring for the elderly. In the recent past, the ministry innovated the e-services for the aged in the society. The innovation includes the use of ICT systems to facilitate and support the provision of the aged care welfare services. The innovation aims at enhancing the services efficiency as well as the overall accountability and transparency of the respective practices. This policy analysis reviews how the application of e-services for caring for the aged have been applied as a means of ensuring the aged in the society are catered for. As such, the critique reviews the nature and extent to which the innovation application has enabled the department meets the aged care policies in Australia.

Overview

E-Service Elderly Welfare Innovation Characteristics

The e-services in the Australian government is characterized by the increasing online presence. The service is that were traditionally offered through physical presence in the office are now offered online through electronic means. One such innovation and service offered is the senior card. In this regard, the card is applied online. Traditionally, the senior citizens were required to visit their respective State and Territory headquarters to apply for the card. In this regard, the process included long journeys as well as long ques and time spending for the elderly in the society. Therefore, this created much inconveniences due to the in availability of the services. Consequently, the government innovated the online card application process to ease the process (Yu & Comensoli, 2012).

In addition, the Australian government innovation on the e-services provision as characterized by the adoption and development of a aged care website. The website serves as a one stop shop for information sharing for the elderly in the society. The website provides information updates on the aged care programs as well as emerging issues and concerns on the elderly care.

The seniors’ car is issued on a State by State basis. In this case, the Australian nation is classified into different territories and States, based on which the senior’s cards are issued. In essence, the senior persons in the respective States apply for the senior cards in their respective States, where they reside only. Moreover, once one has acquired the card in a given State, the benefits of the cards are mainly limited to the boundaries of their residential States. However, if moving to other States, special arrangement are made to allow the card holders enjoy the basic benefits of the card although in limited nature and options as compared to home residential States.

On one hand, for one to be eligible for the seniors card, they should be aged 60 years and above and be national registered residents of their respective States and territories where the card application takes place. In addition, one has to be working for less than 20 hours paid labour on a weekly basis, calculated on annual worked hour’s average. Different people qualify and apply for different senior cards depending on interests such as the senior’s card and the seniors’ business card for the business people respectively (“Australia. Gov.au.”, 2015).

A final element of the innovation is that the card is applied online through the different State Government portals. The online application process is characterized by expanded reach and access by a majority of the senior and aged citizens, who would otherwise face challenges moving to different State main offices and headquarters to apply for the cards.

Reasons for the e-services Innovation Introduction

The innovation on the use of e-services in Australia is as a result of a number of factors. On one hand, the government sought to increase the overall efficiency in the market. In this case, there had emerged challenges in the manner through which the elderly received services and care, as well as the late delivery of information in the market. Therefore, the government had to adopt and select an alternative approach through which to deliver the services more effectively as well as increase information flow across the market for the aged in the society. For instance, through the website platform, it was able to highlight events and other relevant information. Thus, the key necessity of enhancing information flow was the driving motivation for e-services.

In addition, the e-services were geared towards increasing the project sustainability. One such example is the senior business card, which is an online platform through which the business senior citizens are encouraged through discounts ad special concessions. The seniors Card was a joint States invention to cater for the aged in the society. The Australian government, through the respective States and territories, set aside funds for supporting the aged in the society. On one hand, the government sought to ensure cheap access to basic goods and services for all the aged society. In this case, the government aimed at ensuring that the respective senior society members are able to acquire the basic needs with ease and equity. In order to circulate the funds to the relevant senor and aged citizens, the government developed the card to ensure that all the aged members could access affordable service and goods as and when needed (Bigby, 2002, p.237).

Implementation Process

The innovation of the e-services for the elderly care is an implementation process has been a major partnership approach. On one hand, the different States government works jointly in partnership. As already discussed, each State has its own aged population scheme. However, the reality is that the senior citizens often move from one State to the other for different reasons. Consequently, the innovation implementation process has been based on interstate partnership to facilitate the information quality. In this case, the platform is based on a State by State approach, where the platform offers information and service care providers as well as benefits the senior citizens enjoy in every State. Moreover, the technology relation and synchronisation with the physical services has mainly relied on the different States willingness to offer and share information with the national government. For instance, in the case of the electronic seniors’ card, a majority of the stress offering goods and services in the States are privately owned. As such, the State government established partnerships with the private sector through which all the concessions and discounts agreed upon are repaid back by the State government to allow for the private sector profitability and sustainability. Thus, the above analysis indicates that the implementation of the senior card innovation has fundamentally been based on Inter-State and public-private partnership approach.

Critique

Contribution to Current Policy Development

The invention of the e-services approaches to offering care to the aged in Australia has immense contributions to the existing and potential future policies.. In this case, the innovation serves as a supplement of a number of policies in the nation execution. On one hand, the innovation supports the government policy of initiating technology based operational systems. In this case, as Davison, Wagner and Ma (2005) Stated, the Australian government initiated the policy on eradicating the traditionally manual systems, to automated e-services. As such, the elderly care services fall under the government responsibilities. Therefore, as the government automated its operations, creating e-services for the senior citizens was a similar approach to realising its policy objectives.

On the other hand, the innovation has supported the Aged Citizens Club (Subsidies) 1963. Through the Act, the Australian parliament empowered the Minister in charge to offer and allocate resources to councils that support the physical wellbeing of the aged population in Australia (Pratt, 1974, p.110).

In this case, the Act, as an aged citizen’s management policy was geared towards empowering public services provision to the aged in the society. As such, the parliament envisioned a scenario where the public sector would have to provide physical and mental support to the aged at reasonable or no costs at all. In this regard, the innovation of the senior card serves as a development on this legislation. In this context, rather than just relying on the public sector to provide such reasonable services, the innovation incorporates the private sector. Therefore, the analysis indicates that the innovation will support future policy developments in the market. In particular, the Australian government is bound to develop policies on private-public partnerships. In this case, as the role of private sector increases, the government will support the implementation of its programs through the private sector. Thus, in this scenario, the innovation serves as a template illustrating that partnerships between the government and the private sector serve as ideal tools for ensuring that the aged in the society are catered for sustainably.

However, although the innovation implementation has numerous merits and policy implications, it has a share of its limitations. On one hand, the innovation is managed on a State by State basis. As such, it implies that the aged in the society face a limited nature and amount of information. In this case, the e-services offered lack a uniform approach as they rely on the respective States. For instance, the aged cannot enjoy free public transportation in other non-resident States. Thus, the application of the innovation contradicts the equality and non-discrimination policies in the Australian nation. In this case, the Australian government is based on the provision of equal services to all its citizens, irrespective of their State origin against all discrimination.

Link to Politics for Innovation

Although the e-services provision is mainly an innovation geared towards the development and empowerment of the aged citizens, in Australia, it is equally political in nature. One of the political aspects of the political aspects in the innovation is in the development of the public-private partnerships. In this case, for any seller stores for both goods and services to be an approved outlet for the card use, it has to be approved by the respective State governments. Thus, this includes lobbying and collusion as a means of acquiring the approvals. To the business community, such approvals create a positive business image as well as an increased customer base.

For instance, if one clothing retail outlets acquired the approval for offering the senior citizens card discounts, and recovering the difference from the government, it products would subsequently be lowly priced as compared to its peers for the aged and senior citizens. As a result, this has the lasting effect of creating a positive brand image as well as increased aged customers, a move that allows for increased productivity. Therefore, based on this understanding, this analysis argues that although the innovation especially the public-private partnership was aimed at empowering the aged in the society it was also political (Flinders, 2005, p.217). In this case, the analysis establishes that the political role of the State government sin approving different business enterprises to offer trade discounts create a political affiliation merit for the different business entities. However, an evaluation of the program implementation illustrates that the different States government shave efficiently reduced political influence by ensuring a rational, fair and consistent system for approving their public-private partners across the nation.

Link to Socio-Cultural Changes

The development of the policy is related to the emerging trends and changes in the Australian society. On one hand, the Australian society population structure is changing. In this case, as the Australia bureau of Statistics (2015) stated, and as illustrated in the figure below, there is a rising trend towards an aged population as compared to the young population in the society. In this regard, an ageing population indicates reduced productivity as well as increased dependability rates, which pose a significant burden on the economic development factors. The provision of the e-services provides a platform through which the senior citizens acquire relevant information and services to extend their productivity years. For instance, traditionally, the age of 60 was the retirement age, and those past the age relied on pensions and other retirement benefits.

Assignment Two: Policy AnalysisAssignment Two: Policy Analysis 1

Figure 2: Population Portion by Age (Australia Bureau of Statistics, 2015).

However, as the number and proportion of the aged in the society increases, the need for the government to develop alternative support measures emerged. In this case, the innovation and emergence of the electronic senior business card plays the part. On its part, the card provides a provision for special attention and trade discounts and offers for the aged in the society. This serve as a leveraging point for the aged in the highly competitive business environment. Through the provision of the special trade offers and discounts, the card enables the aged in the society compete on a level ground with others in the market, enabling their business success and independence in the long run period. Thus, the analysis concludes that the innovation of the senior business card was in line with the need to reduce the socio-economic dependency of the increasing proportion of the aged and ageing population in the Australian society. Through the card, the seniors acquire sales discounts on a majority of the basic goods and services that they rely on a daily basis. Hence, the card ensures that the aged society members continue to enjoy their basic need at almost static inflation rates, despite the changing inflation and cost of living in the market. A failure to apply this strategy would have led to increased poverty and ill health among the aged senior society members. Consequently, this would have a negative impact on standards of living, and life expectancy rates in the long run period.

Thus, based on the above analysis, it is evident that the innovation for the senior card and the senior business cards were based on the need to create sustainability for the aged population through increased productivity lifespan, as well as need to ensure retention of the lifestyle and social status upon old age.

Conclusion

In summary, the analysis paper offers a review and analysis of the e-services provision for the elderly in Australia. In this case, the analysis focuses on the recent developments through public-private partnerships where the State governments liaise with the business private sector to allow for discounts and free services for the aged in the society through electronic payment and approvals. Moreover, it evaluated on the process through which a majority of the services offered have been automated such as the online application of the senior card as well as online help centers respectively. As such, the analysis establishes that the system has allowed for a new potential policy development evidence base for the success of public-private partnerships in the aged care provision in the country. However, it reveals that the lack of harmonization of the benefits and gains across the different States creates a challenge on the lack of equal treatment of all senior citizens in the nation. Further, the analysis revels that the innovation is in line to create the system sustainability and reduce government dependency burden as the number and proportion of the aged citizens’ increases.

References

Australia Bureau of Statistics, (2015) Feature Article: Population by Age and Sex, Australia, States and Territories. [Online] Available at: <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/0/1CD2B1952AFC5E7ACA257298000F2E76?OpenDocument> [Accessed: 19 October 201

Australia.gov.au, 2015, Seniors Card. [Online] Available at: < http://www.australia.gov.au/content/seniors-card> [Accessed: 19 October 2015].

Bigby, C. 2002, ‘Ageing people with a lifelong disability: Challenges for the aged care and disability sectors’, Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 231-241.

Davison, R. M., Wagner, C., & Ma, L. C. 2005, ‘From government to e-government: a transition model’, Information Technology & People, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 280-299.

Flinders, M. 2005, ‘The politics of public–private partnerships’, The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, vol. 7, no.2, pp. 215-239.

Yu, P., & Comensoli, N. 2012, ‘An exploration of the barriers to the adoption of information technology in Australian aged care industry.