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Making Collaboration Work Paul ‘t Hart Australian National University/ANZSOG Utrecht University/Netherlands School of Government.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Collaboration Work Paul ‘t Hart Australian National University/ANZSOG Utrecht University/Netherlands School of Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Collaboration Work Paul ‘t Hart Australian National University/ANZSOG Utrecht University/Netherlands School of Government

2 Collaborative Public Management: Arenas At the ‘front line’: wrapping services around clients Within executive government: ‘joining up’ departmental silos/baronies Between sectors: getting more out of public-private interface Across jurisdictional borders: matching scale of ‘solutions’ to ‘problems’ Government-citizens interface: from ‘consultation’ to ‘empowerment’

3 Collaborative Public Management: An Emergent Ideology? “Holistic” (as opposed to fragmented) “Partnership” (as opposed to hierarchy) “Engagement”/”Consultation” (as opposed to ‘we know best’) “Relational” (as opposed to job-driven) “Transformative” (as opposed to transactional)

4 Collaborative Public Management: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Again)? -Network society scholars/enthusiasts: From ‘government’ to ‘governance’ -Wicked problem sectors: ‘There is No Alternative’ -Non-profit grass roots and peaks: A cry for a ‘New Deal’ -Collaborative Federalism enthusiasts: Moving ‘beyond COAG’

5 Example: Compacts Bilateral relational agreements between govt and not-for-profit sectors Have no statutory or legal force Intended to codify the values, expectations and behavioural/procedural norms expected to prevail between signatories Focus on the characteristics of the relationship between the parties rather than on discrete transactions Source: Butcher, 2010

6 A wave of ‘Compacts’ ACTNSWNTQLD Social Compact (2004) Working Together (2006) Common Cause (2004/05) Q’land Compact (2008) SATASVICWA Stronger Together (2008) Tasmania Together (2006) Partnership Agreement/ MOU Partnership Forum (2010)

7 Collaboration: Rationales Acknowledging one another: empowerment (e.g. offsetting principal-agent perversities of contract-driven approaches; participatory policy-making) Overcoming fragmentation: pooling resources (e.g. complex case management; emergency response/recovery; one-stop shops for citizens) Addressing complex/’wicked’ problems: forging innovation (e.g. area development/regeneration strategies; cross-sectoral challenges)

8 What collaboration does not (necessarily) mean: Doing things (more) efficiently ‘Everybody wins’, all of the time Governing as a ‘love-in’ A panacea for all dilemmas and conflicts

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10 Collaboration: A Public Service Paradigm Shift ‘Genuine collaboration… requires public servants who, with eyes wide open, can exert the qualities of leadership necessary to forsake the simplicity of control for the complexity of influence… [T]hey need to operate outside the traditionally narrow framework of government, which they have for so long worked within’ Peter Shergold (2008: 21):

11 Making collaboration work: Strategies Seduce stakeholders: Forge a sense of interdependence among all actors involved Keeping talking: Orchestrate intensive and sustained communication between participants De-politicize processes: Create ‘off-line’ venues with new interaction rules Develop shared understandings: Align expectations what partnership is for and what constitutes success Build relationships: Don’t be in a hurry, be prepared to earn trust, expect setbacks Maintain momentum: Invest in joint administrative support systems

12 Perverting collaboration Going through the motions Consultation/engagement/partnership as ritual Boxing it in from the outset Restricting mandate, terms, duration etc. Playing small-p politics in the process Leaking, blaming, ducking Breaking commitments Creating ‘surprises’ Under-investing in continuity Impeding capacity-building

13 Organizing for Collaboration: Implications For political and public service leadership Privileging superordinate goals/identities Resisting the tyranny of the short term Sharing responsibility and risk For institutional design of policy/delivery Institutionalizing meaningful interfaces Balancing horizontal (siloed, internal) with vertical (integral, networked) funding and accountability incentives For developing ‘in-between’ competencies Selection/rotation (taking longevity seriously) Boundary spanning skills (‘brokers’, ‘diplomats’, ‘interpreters’) Process management skills (as distinct from project management)


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