Local Governments and Social Enterprise: Meeting Community Challenges Together?

  • Catherine Hastings
  • John Weate


Even though the role of local government was established in Australia in the early nineteenth century as a mechanism for tailored local service delivery provision within a narrow range of administrative functions, since World War II, local government’s roles have expanded to include town-planning and a range of welfare and leisure services that have continued to diversify to the present day. Expansion in function has not been matched by expansion in funding, with this being a particular issue in rural and regional councils. A result of these pressures has been increased interest in new models of networked governance, involving more players in the process of service delivery so that local governments are not required to ‘go it alone’. Social enterprises have increasingly been included as one of these other players, but there has been limited discussion in the literature about the roles social enterprises are playing for councils. This chapter situates an analysis of local government-social enterprise relationships within the theoretical frameworks of network governance and public value, with reference to examples of such relationships in regional New South Wales (NSW). It aims to stimulate discussion about the possibilities for local government-social enterprise relationships to deliver positive social and economic outcomes within regional Australia.


Local government Network governance Public value Social enterprise Place-shaping Regional Australia Social procurement 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Hastings
    • 1
  • John Weate
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Community ResourcesTuncurryAustralia

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