3 Things You Need to Achieve Successful Collaborative Governance.


Are you working with a group of services where together you could achieve greater outcomes? Collaborative governance could be a solution to greater cooperation between providers and greater community success. 

In this evolving era of healthcare where a person-centred approach is expected to improve health outcomes for individuals, how do different service providers establish a working arrangement that is integrated and mutually advantageous?

What are the elements to consider in establishing a collaborative governance model to address cooperative activities?

In this post we share our experience in developing a collaborative governance model based on a philosophy of patient centred, integrated healthcare.

What is Collaborative Governance?

Collaborative governance is a collective decision-making process that is formal, consensus-oriented, and deliberative. It aims to generate desired outcomes together, that could not be accomplished separately. Collaborative governance is based on three key interactive components of which lead to collaborative actions to implement a shared purpose.

  1. Principled engagement
  2. Shared motivation, and
  3. Capacity for joint action

The concept of Collaborative governance was researched by Ansell and Nash in 2008. They examined the cross-boundary arrangements, between public agencies and levels of government, when they engaged with non-state stakeholders in collective decision-making processes that aimed to make changes to public policy or programs.

Why use the collaborative model?

Collaborative governance is becoming attractive as the new paradigm for governing in democratic systems. It facilitates the engagement of many in cooperative activities to enhance the capacity of individuals and groups to achieve a common purpose.

Collaborative governance principles value Inclusion and diversity as instrumental In giving voice to multiple perspectives and different interests.This allows the development of more thoughtful decisions that take a broader view of who will gain or be harmed by an action.  

The power of the collaborative enables participants to combine their joint determinations for a collective course of action, which is greater than the sum of the individual members.

Australian examples of collaborative governance.

The Australian Professional Health Regulation Authority (APHRA)

AHPRA has implemented a collaborative governance arrangement to address the national law for regulation of health professional across the Australian States and Territories.  This governance process allows APHRA to meet the objectives and guiding principles of the national scheme, and monitor regulatory and entity performance of the different agencies to meet compliance with the national law.

Coalition for Community Energy’s (C4CE)

The development of a National Community Energy Strategy has only been possible as a result of the C4CE utilising this framework. Members from organisations, groups, agencies and projects were brought together. Through principled engagement the ideal conditions this approach created allowed the participation and growth of a vibrant and involved community energy sector.

C4CE members participate in decision-making with other members to meet the purpose of identifying important actions that they can work on together. This assists in creating strategic opportunities, attracting investment and building knowledge for the capacity of the members and sustaining the sector.

Critical Success Factors in a Collaborative Governance Model

Leadership is a critical driver for the success of the collaborative governance approach and should be demonstrated by:

  • Commitment to collaborative problem solving,
  • Willingness to listen to all opinions
  • Not advocating for a particular solution,
  • Behaving impartially with respect to the preferences of participants. 

The level to which the collaborative governance model between members is effective is influenced over time by collaborative dynamics and collaborative actions by the group.

The collaborative model is values based and is dependent on clear articulation of the shared motivation of the group. It is underpinned by four elements:

  • Mutual trust
  • Understanding
  • Internal legitimacy
  • Commitment

Trust is the most critical element between members of the collaborative governance group and determines the shared motivation through a reinforcing cycle consisting of these four elements:

In our experience a Collaborative governance model is an effective model for governance where there is shared accountability and risk between multiple service providers.

This must be underpinned by very clear statements of intent which are shared by all parties.

If you would like to explore how this could help you and or your organisation move forward you can contact us.

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