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The power of partnership in public administration

Public-sector services often link and overlap, as do the factors contributing to the need for them. Consequently, inter-organisational collaboration is key to public-sector management, enabling the departments to communally improve service provision by working together and sharing resources.

Creating a joined-up approach to public-sector strategy

Digital information is just one area within which shared access can be invaluable for public-sector bodies, especially where geographic service remits intersect.

In the UK, Teignbridge District Council has successfully partnered with neighbouring local authorities in Exeter and East Devon to form a collaborative information and communications technology (ICT) service across the three regions1.

With guidance from the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Productivity Experts programme2, the three District Councils were able to merge their existing ICT services into a single shared platform, managing risks, legal requirements, HR issues and procurement throughout the process.

Maximising assets, refining services and reducing spend

Pooling resources across authorities like Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon District Councils has had multiple benefits, not least in terms of cost savings. The combined ICT service is expected to save more than £6m over 10 years for the three councils, plus the considerable long-term financial costs of not implementing the service3.

On top of this, the shared platform will help the three partners to minimise technical and personnel-related risk, create efficiency savings, reduce administrative errors and meet government-set guidelines for digital transformation, as well as serving as a solid framework for subsequent collaborative projects.

Recommended read: Experiences in public administration around the world

Forging and maintaining effective public-sector partnerships

While beneficial, establishing partnerships across public-sector bodies isn’t always easy:

Entering into shared services is a complex and multi-faceted initiative⁴” (Local Government Association, 2015).

It’s important that public-sector managers gain the skills they need to successfully capitalise on collaborative opportunities. They should recognise the value public-sector partnerships can generate, be ready to identify the opportunities and challenges involved in their implementation, and monitor the impact of these strategies over time.

With a focus on partnerships and collaboration, the 100% Online Masters of Public Administration can help develop these critical approaches, plus many more needed for a career in contemporary public-sector management. To find out more, please download a brochure today.


1 3 4 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION. (2015) Council Looks to Local Authority Partnerships to Deliver Improvements and Reduce Spend [online] Available at: <https://www.local.gov.uk/council-looks-local-authority-partnerships-deliver-improvements-and-reduce-spend> [Accessed 12.06.2019]

2 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION. (2019) Productivity Experts Programme [online] Available at: <https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/efficiency-and-income-generation/productivity-experts-programme> [Accessed 12.06.2019]

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