Productivity Commission Inquiry Into Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Submission in response to issues paper

The Human Services Inquiry is ‘examining policy options in the human services sector that incorporate the principles of competition, contestability and informed user choice’. This submission puts the case that such policies have the potential to improve quality, equity, efficiency, and accountability and responsiveness in school education through expanding competition,

contestability and informed user choice.

A policy that meets these criteria is the establishment of charter schools or free schools ― public schools that are managed by private organisations. Charter and free schools differ from traditional public schools (TPS) in that they are able to operate with more autonomy and are schools of choice (they do not have enrolment zones). Charter and free schools differ from non-government schools

because they are fully publicly funded and cannot charge tuition fees.

There are also policy options that can be implemented to achieve improvements in the specified policy outcomes within the existing school sector structures. Reforms to improve sector-neutral school funding and school zoning can drive greater competition, and a concerted effort to open up delivery of non-government and government school services drives greater contestability.