Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

Transforming Government Through Collaborative Innovation

Source: Satish Nambisan, IBM Center for the Business of Government, Innovation Series, 2008

This report offers a network-based, collaborative innovation framework to explain how government agencies (federal, state, and local) can partner with varied external networks and communities — including citizen networks, nonprofit organizations, and private corporations — and play different types of problem-solving roles to find innovative solutions that drive transformational change in the business of government” (p. 6). This report contains the following sections: executive summary; introduction; network-based collaborative approaches in government; government as innovation integrator; government as innovation seeker; government as innovation champion; government as innovation catalyst; four success factors in collaborative innovation; and implementing collaborative innovation and problem solving.

Financing Transportation in the 21st Century – An Intergovernmental Perspective

Source: Intergovernmental Forum on Transportation Finance, January 2008

From the press release:
WASHINGTON, March 12 —
The gap between America’s surface transportation needs and the financial resources required to bridge them is large, immediate and long-term, according to a report released by state and local government groups. All levels of government must work together to set system-performance goals and provide the financial means to meet those goals, the report concluded.

DHS releases REAL ID grant guidance and application kits

Source: Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security released grant guidance and application kits for two grant programs totaling more than $35 million to help states prepare to implement REAL ID provisions that require a standard format for state-issued driver’s licenses. The REAL ID Demonstration Grant Program will provide $31.3 million in grants to the states to check motor vehicle records in other states to ensure drivers don’t have multiple licenses, and to verify immigration status against federal records. It will help standardize methods by which states may seamlessly verify an applicant’s information with another state and deploy verification capabilities that can be used by all states, while protecting personal identification information.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 REAL ID Vital Events Verification State Project Grant Verification

Alternative Service Delivery: Shared Services

Source: Government Finance Officers Association, Best Practice, Approved by GFOA’s Executive Board: October 2007

Background:
Governments continue to address funding issues related to their budgets often resulting in the reduction of programs and services. In addition, governments often face an increase in service responsibilities. At the same time, residents are demanding that governments demonstrate improved efficiencies and even offer new or improved services without new taxes.

To meet these challenges, governments are becoming more and more interdependent, including cooperating to deliver services. The services most often provided collaboratively include health and human services, transit systems, airports, sewage collection, disposal of hazardous wastes, libraries, tax assessing, and title records.

Informal (handshake agreements) may include such items as sharing information or equipment, coordination of individual efforts, or joint promotion. More complex or formal agreements might include contracting with another government for service, sharing facilities, purchasing/insurance pools, merged departments, special districts, or regional planning. Shared services that might be the most difficult to achieve include mergers, annexation, or service provision transfers, especially where political support is required. Formal intergovernmental cooperation often includes written agreements among governments and may require a division of labor and/or transfer of funds.

Suburbs may be more likely to enter into shared services agreements due to the greater density of governments in a metropolitan area, proximity, and similar levels of service. Rural communities might consider shared services due to their smaller size and lack of resources. Rural areas may have more cooperative agreements between different types of governments.

In all cases, alternative service delivery that involves shared services requires governments working together to achieve shared policy objectives. Governments are encouraged to cooperate to provide their residents services they could not provide on their own or to provide their residents lower cost and/or higher quality services…..

Connecting State and Local Government: Collaboration through Trust and Leadership

Source: National Association of State Chief Information Officers

Citizen demand for efficient government often drives state agencies to seek out opportunities to deliver traditional services in non-traditional ways. Engaging in cross-boundary collaboration can be a way for states to leverage costs while providing citizens with streamlined services. Such collaboration is inevitable for state CIOs and this brief (PDF; 211 KB), a product of NASCIO’s Cross-Boundary Collaboration Committee, explores the unique challenges and opportunities of cross-boundary collaboration between state and local government entities. Highlighting successful examples of state-local collaborations already underway, this brief features the governance and financial models that were utilized for these collaborations. In addition, this brief examines the unique challenges facing state-local challenges and explores the ways in which states and localities can work together to achieve success and to lay the groundwork for future collaborative efforts.

Our Fractured Fiscal System

Source: Carl Tubbesing and Vic Miller, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
(subscription required)

Fiscal relations between the states and federal government may be at an all-time low.

For two decades, unfunded federal mandates have symbolized the growing fracture in state-federal fiscal relations. Most legislators can readily name the current offenders—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, No Child Left Behind, the Help America Vote Act and homeland security. And they are girding for the possibility of the next huge one, the Real ID act. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that the federal government has shifted $100 billion in costs to states over the past four fiscal years—not including the $11 billion that Real ID could cost states over the next five years

Conclusion: Parallel Play, Not Collaboration: Missing Questions, Missing Connections

Source: Lisa Blomgren Bingham and Rosemary O’Leary, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

In their coda to this special issue of PAR, Lisa Blomgren Bingham and Rosemary O’Leary employ an intriguing scholarly lens to analyze gaps in current collaborative management research based on the findings of scholarly papers in this symposium. While pointing out the tremendous intellectual progress that is apparent in these investigations of this seminal topic, the authors conclude that there is a missing synthesis between work on collaborative public management, civic engagement, and public participation and work on negotiation, conflict resolution, dispute system design, and consensus building. The authors challenge the field to end the practice of intellectual “parallel play.”

Inside Collaborative Networks: Ten Lessons for Public Managers

Source: Robert Agranoff, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Based on extensive empirical research with federal, state and local government managers who work within intergovernmental collaborative networks, this article suggests new ways in which public agencies can overcome nettlesome policy conundrums while advancing the public interest. Although networks may differ significantly from organization to organization, the author emphasizes that the “era of networks” is a modern-day administrative reality that requires effective management, much like any other organizational structure.

This paper offers practical insights for public managers as they work within interorganizational networks. It is based on the author’s empirical study of 14 networks involving federal, state, and local government managers working with nongovernmental organizations. The findings suggest that networks are hardly crowding out the role of public agencies; though they are limited in their decision scope, they can add collaborative public value when approaching nettlesome policy and program problems.