Achieving government transformation through cross-jurisdiction collaboration

Learn five strategies for unlocking government productivity through cross-jurisdiction collaboration.


Government agencies striving to deliver public service for the future have found that cross-jurisdiction collaboration can unlock new opportunities for government transformation and productivity. However, the conversation to collaborate this way is often prompted by a political act requiring trust, and leadership is essential to see the collaboration through successfully to achieve government transformation.

This new, sustainable model of efficiency is becoming increasingly popular prompting governmental entities and their partners to work across traditional boundaries to provide current or new services to constituents in a more efficient and effective manner.

Although many governments today are already achieving government transformation by doing more with fewer resources, they can simply do more with the help of cross-jurisdiction collaboration.

By following the five strategies for success outlined in this paper, agencies can realize government transformation by boosting efficiency and effectiveness while also reducing costs. Government administration will ultimately be better positioned for delivering public service for the future regardless of the fiscal climate.


Cross-jurisdiction collaboration is a fresh example of government transformation which can successfully support agencies in their mission to deliver public service for the future.

By creating renewed models of efficiency that are intended to drive cost savings and increase productivity, governments can effectively move beyond the traditional small, incremental changes and instead, achieve sustainable government transformation.

There are four, major models of cross-jurisdiction collaboration to consider for government transformation:

  1. Coordinating. By coordinating services, collaborating entities share power and responsibility to provide services through coordinated government transformation processes. This does not necessarily involve the formation of a separate entity—the collaborating entities maintain their own unique identities.

  2. Merging. A single entity or functional unit takes responsibility for providing services to all entities.

  3. Contracting. Services are contracted out to either an existing local government entity or a third-party provider (a public or private entity).

  4. New entity. In some cases, it is appropriate to form a new government entity dedicated to providing certain services on a regional level.


Cross-jurisdiction collaboration is proving to be an effective method for government transformation. Following are just some of the states achieving success:

Thirty-nine counties in California came together and created the Consortium IV (C-IV) organization to provide a single integrated information system supporting complex human services programs.

Twelve counties in southeast Minnesota were conducting an extensive study to form a new organization to provide a full range of human services at lower cost and higher quality than any of the counties could accomplish separately.

The project steering committee hired a third-party facilitator to assist in a series of workshops to develop an acceptable governance model. The resulting model has served as the basis for ongoing discussions of the overall design of the new organization.

The State of Ohio was creating a statewide shared services organization to provide administrative, finance, HR and IT services to all departments of state government from a single organization. The State reached out to its unions for input and participation in the design and implementation of the new organization.

The union president realized that being a highly visible and influential champion of the project was a good opportunity for her membership, and the public. She often made appearances in support of the project, and became a major reason the organization has adapted and been accepted as smoothly as possible.


We recommend five strategies to achieve government transformation through a successful, sustainable cross-jurisdiction collaboration model:

  1. Engage leadership. Leadership is essential to move cross-jurisdiction collaboration from an idea to a reality. All participants must feel their views, interests and desires will be considered.

  2. Outline goals and common purposes. The interests of each participating entity must be reconciled for effective cross-jurisdiction collaboration in order to achieve government transformation, with a clear statement of priorities to guide the collaboration.

  3. Conduct due diligence information-gathering, analysis and evaluation. Careful and precise information-gathering of comparable data from jurisdiction to jurisdiction is necessary to achieve accurate analysis and evaluation of the costs and benefits of cross-jurisdiction collaboration.

  4. Establish a governance structure. By being invested in the government transformation effort, participants expect to have the opportunity for their thoughts, ideas and input to be recognized and considered.

  5. Communicate with stakeholder, appointed/elected decision-makers and other interested parties. Communicating with key stakeholders is vital for any successful cross-jurisdiction collaboration effort to achieve government transformation. This includes those in a position to affect or be affected by the actions of the cross-jurisdiction collaboration, like citizens, persons served, employees, unions and advocacy groups.