Indiana’s social services system was privatized with the aim of saving taxpayers’ money. A contract was entered by IBM and the State of Indiana in which IBM was responsible for the management of approximately one-third of the states workload, with Mitch Daniels, the governor, promising that the $1.3billion deal would save the taxpayer $1 billion over the next decade (Michener et.al, 2016).
The privatized system meant to improve several areas of operation of the FSSA. The first area was that of human control; by handling about a third of Indiana’s welfare caseload, the replacing of individual case workers for each applicant with the facility of applying from the comfort of one’s home either online or via phone with the call center assistants. The second area was that of physical control. The new system aimed at minimizing or completely avoiding errors that occur in the course of handling real documents containing applicants’ welfare records by storing them electronically and making them available to caseworkers all over the state. The third area of control was that of finances, as the system was implemented with the intention of saving taxpayers approximately $1 billion over the next decade (Michener et.al, 2016).[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The new privatized system brought about some changes that had an effect on the financial, structural and strategic levels of control of the welfare system. Financially, the system was so much focused on saving money that they developed a rushed method of handling services that ended up reducing the quality of services offered. Structural changes were brought about when IBM took over a third of FSSA’s case load, outsourcing the call center activities to Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) (Stake & Mabry, 2013). Changes also happened when IBM replaced individual case workers used by the traditional welfare system with an electronic system. Strategically, the welfare services approach changed from one of the personalized services, by having individual case workers for each household who would follow up on any issues in the access to welfare, to one of the impersonal services as records were stored electronically and accessed by various case workers across the state.
Regarding operations control, IBM and ACS failed to carry out preliminary and screening controls as they hired people from Sprint and TACO Bell to handle client calls (Stake & Mabry, 2013). The training provided was substandard, resulting in a bad work ethic with the sole purpose of the operators at call centers being to get clients off the phone, without actually providing any assistance. They had poor post action control as they had no systems in place for follow-up of applications, resulting in most clients being sent letters claiming they failed to cooperate when in fact they had fulfilled all requirements.
IBM and ACS’ approach to bureaucratic control had no control processes before the start of operations, none of business and none of feedback and assessment of services (Stake & Mabry, 2013). As a result, they hired underqualified employees who did not receive proper training; they underpaid these employees who made them demotivated and affected the quality of their work. Their unavailability for feedback to clients caused inconveniences as many were unable to access Medicare and food stamps because of wrong reasons.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
The privatized social services system proved ineffective because it lacked the characteristics of effective control in an organization. IBM and ACS lacked timeliness, as it took them a long time not only to process applications but also to give feedback to clients on the status of these applications (Stake & Mabry, 2013). The lack of accuracy in their operations was shown when they sent letters claiming lack of cooperation to clients who had fulfilled all necessary requirements. The system lacked acceptability; none of the residents of Indiana accepted this system due to its impersonal and inefficient nature in the handling of urgent matters. None of the employees accepted the system as they were underpaid and highly demotivated. The system also lacked necessary corrective action, despite the fact that most of these notices of lack of cooperation were sent erroneously; they had no systems in place to correct such action and give necessary services to applicants. Finally, the new system lacked the flexibility to applicants’ needs. The operators at call centers were not adequately equipped to handle the various needs of callers and for that reason, focused solely on getting them off the phone, regardless of whether their needs had been met. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In Michener, J. L., In Koo, D., In Castrucci, B. C., & In Sprague, J. B. (2016). The practical playbook: Public health and primary care together.
Stake, R., & Mabry, L. (April 01, 2013). Ethics in program evaluation. Indiana Journal of Social Welfare, 7, 2, 99-109.