Balancing Public Accountability and Nonprofit Autonomy: Milestone Contracting in Oklahoma

Hauser Center for Nonprofit Org. Working Paper No. 6

43 Pages Posted: 14 May 2001

See all articles by Peter Frumkin

Peter Frumkin

University of Texas at Austin - Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Date Written: April 2001

Abstract

As government agencies search for ways to work effectively with nonprofit organizations, there is a growing need for strategies that resolve the long-standing tension between the public sector's need for accountability and the nonprofit sector's desire for autonomy. This article considers the way a state agency in Oklahoma worked toward resolving this tension by restructuring its contracting system with nonprofit organizations. Different from both fee-for-service systems that require heavy auditing and simple outcome funding that can distort the complexity of programs, Oklahoma's "milestone contracting" specifies a series of distinct and critical client achievements and confers payment for this set of collaboratively defined results. This approach to public-nonprofit contracting represents a promising way to achieve public accountability while protecting the autonomy nonprofit organizations need to deliver programs that meet local needs.

Suggested Citation

Frumkin, Peter, Balancing Public Accountability and Nonprofit Autonomy: Milestone Contracting in Oklahoma (April 2001). Hauser Center for Nonprofit Org. Working Paper No. 6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=269361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.269361

Peter Frumkin (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs ( email )

2300 Red River St., Stop E2700
PO Box Y
Austin, TX 78713
United States

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