Comparing to Improve – Examining the Impact of Collaboration

27 Sep 2021 | Published by James Downe, Benedetta Bellò, Peter Triantafillou & Lukas Thiele

Collaboration continues to be a popular way of designing policies and delivering public services. By working together, organisations aim to maximise public value and capture economies of scale, but there is a lack of evidence about collaboration’s impact on efficiency and legitimacy. A team from Cardiff, Roskilde and Potsdam Universities have designed a Collaboration Monitor to try and remedy this problem by providing insights on the effects of collaborations on efficiency and legitimacy.

The Collaboration Monitor is a new online self-assessment tool which enables practitioners to compare their collaborative practices on key characteristics of efficiency (costs, service quality, policy effectiveness) and legitimacy (the legal, political and social acceptance) through accessible infographics. Its aim is to help organisations engaged in collaborations to reflect on their performance and compare the results with others across Europe (by level of government, policy area and country).

The Collaboration Monitor will be useful for a wide range of collaborations engaged in policy design or public service delivery. They may operate at the local, regional or national level, may be formalized or informal, and cover a broad range of policy areas including employment services, social services, waste management amongst many others.

By providing a systematic assessment of the efficiency and legitimacy of the collaboration, the Monitor will provide guidance on how to identify where changes could be made to the collaboration to enhance its performance. Improvements could include:

  • Enhancing the support or involvement of politicians or private stakeholders.
  • Getting new innovative ideas by expanding the participation of groups affected by the collaboration’s decisions.
  • Increasing the transparency and accountability of decisions by developing guidelines and explicit processes for accountability.
  • Finding an appropriate level of monitoring to improve outputs.
  • Considering whether service quality has improved.
  • Ensuring that policies are meeting their goals.
  • Making sure that the output of the collaboration reaches the right target groups.
  • Considering whether increased expenditure in the short-term could have greater benefits in the longer-term.
  • Reflecting on whether ICT systems are supporting the collaboration’s work.

The Monitor is part of the TROPICO project (funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme) which investigates how public administrations are transformed into open, innovative and collaborative governments

We would welcome your participation. The survey will be conducted anonymously. You will be able to access your own results and the (anonymised) average results from other collaborations. The data collected will be stored in a safe server at University of Potsdam in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Monitor can be completed here: