Dr John Butcher is an ANU visitor with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government based within the School of Politics and International Relations. While at the ANU his work is focussed on gaining practical insights into the working relationships between government entities and non-state actors, principally in the not-for-profit sector. This work is an extension of his PhD dissertation (ANU 2014) which examines Australian and international experience of formal cross-sector framework agreements between governments and the not-for-profit or ‘Third’ sector. In 2015 Dr Butcher co-convened, in partnership with Prof David Gilchrist, Director of the Curtin Not-for-profit initiative, a one-day workshop entitled ‘Cross-Sector Working for Complex Problems: Beyond the rhetoric’. The workshop brought together policy researchers, makers and practitioners from academia, government and the not-for-profit sector to address challenges in policy and public administration emerging at the interface between government, the not-for-profit sector and business. The collected papers from the workshop have been curated into a book ‘The Three Sector Solution: Delivering public policy in collaboration with not-for-profits and business’ published in 2016 by the ANU Press. From 2016 through 2018 Dr Butcher will lead a research project investigating the determinants for success when working across sector boundaries. Funded by ANZSOG and the Curtin Not-for-profit initiative, the research will entail comparative case studies of existing cross-sector initiatives in Australia and New Zealand with a view to extracting lessons about best practice and potential pitfalls.
John’s research is principally concerned with the relationship between the state and civil society, in particular the emergence of policy settings favouring the outsourcing of service delivery to external not-for-profit service providers. John is interested in both the political framing of policy in this space and the operational dimensions of policy implementation. He is also interested in addressing practical issues of organisational and cultural adaptations necessary in the public and the not-for-profit sectors to accommodate the new modus operandi of service delivery as well as the challenges posed by new funding modalities such as person-centred funding and strategies for mobilising private sector investment in social outcomes such as social benefit bonds. John also has a keen interest in Australian politics and has written occasional opinion pieces for the Canberra Times.