In our last blog post, we discussed what collaborative governance is and how it came into being. We know that it includes the public and the private sector, along with the government, so as to allow them to reach a consensus regarding a public policy problem. Also, decision makers in the forums have an actual role to play in taking decisions and their participation is not just restricted to mere consultation. In this blog, we will see what the benefits and the drawbacks of this model of governance are.
Helps the policymakers in identifying and targeting problems.
Makes sure that the stakeholders all agree and accept the decision(s) taken with regards to the problems.
Aims to better the all round process and effectiveness of public administration.
Promotes a better and at the same time, shared understanding of problems which would have been complex otherwise.
All the stakeholders can work together, brainstorm and to a consensus regarding solutions.
Can give rise to better policy solutions with greater impact on the society.
Stakeholders involved in coming up with the solutions are more open to accepting the decisions made or the directions given.
A single problem will generate a number of different perspectives as to the solution. This leads to new opportunities to implement strategies for change.
Lets government take initiatives and lead from the front.
Collaboration allows testing of various ideas and possible solutions and also analyzing responses prior to the solution being implemented.
The inner workings of the government can be better understood by non-government officials who will also have more power in the decision making process.
Can be a driver for organizational change.
Better resource allocation.
People with various different skills can come together to simplify a problem by combining their individual skills.
Leads to mutual learning and building of shared experiences.
Leads to well defined, clear roles and responsibilities.
It also enables specialization in skills.
Markets develop and become more inclusive.
May lead to new organizational and interactive forums.
The process of collaborative governance, though effective, is time consuming.
It is difficult to ensure political or ministerial buy-in to arrangements of additional complexity.
It may be difficult to reach a consensus and even if a solution is agreed upon, the implementation may be tricky.
Certain government officials may show little or no interest when it comes to taking initiatives as this form of governance reduces their overall control over things.
Roles may becomes confusing in case of large and complex organizational structures-people may be working for individual benefit or for a particular organization’s success.
Manipulation by powerful stakeholders may affect the final outcome.
Politicians may believe that collaboration may lead to increased political risks.
Accountability is blurred.
In case of problems between collaborators, the phenomena of “passing the buck” may occur.
Agendas are wide-achieving goals are more difficult.
Stakeholders may get frustrated if their expectations aren’t met with.
Non-government actors have no real accountability for anything which goes wrong.
May lead to instability and inconsistency which may slow down progress rather that enhancing it.
Objectives and incentives of all participants may not be compatible and therefore the collaborative actions may be mutually disruptive.
Collaboration can be used by scheming agencies as a false front to cover up ulterior motives.
Can lead to loss of trust in governmental as well as non governmental agencies if policy solving methodologies fail.
Seemingly, collaborative governance is difficult to achieve, to say the least. However, software tools like VComply make it a whole lot easier by providing a bird’s eye view of everything that is being carried out, therefore making management that much easier.
As we see, this model of governance has its fair share of both pros and cons. However, it depends on the collaborators to make it into something positive or to merely use it as a smokescreen for nefarious activities.
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