Key Issues > Collaboration Across Governments, Nonprofits, and the Private Sector
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Collaboration Across Governments, Nonprofits, and the Private Sector

Achieving important national outcomes, such as food safety, local economic development, environmental restoration, and homeland security, requires coordinated and collaborative efforts of a number of programs spread across the federal government, other levels of government, and private and nonprofit sectors. Agencies face a range of challenges and barriers when they attempt to work collaboratively.

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Collaboration can be broadly defined as any joint activity that is intended to produce more public value than could be produced when the organizations act alone. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) establishes a new framework aimed at taking a more crosscutting and integrated approach to focusing on results and improving government performance. For more information see Managing for Results in Government

Agencies can enhance and sustain their collaborative efforts by engaging in key practices, such as defining and articulating a common outcome and agreeing on roles and responsibilities (GAO-06-15). Running throughout these practices are a number of factors such as leadership, trust, and organizational culture that are necessary elements for a collaborative working relationship.

Federal agencies use a variety of mechanisms to implement interagency collaborative efforts, such as establishing interagency groups, for example, in the area of food safety (GAO-11-289). Frequently, agencies use more than one mechanism to address an issue, but they all benefit from certain key features, such as outcomes and accountability. These features raise issues to consider such as: “Have short-term and long-term outcomes been clearly defined?” and  “Is there a way to track and monitor their progress?” (GAO-12-1022). Interagency groups have used a range of implementation approaches to successfully address these  issues. (GAO-14-220).

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Managing for Results:

Implementation Approaches Used to Enhance Collaboration in Interagency Groups
GAO-14-220:
Published: Feb 14, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 2014.

Managing for Results:

Key Considerations for Implementing Interagency Collaborative Mechanisms
GAO-12-1022:
Published: Sep 27, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2012.

Managing for Results:

GAO's Work Related to the Interim Crosscutting Priority Goals under the GPRA Modernization Act
GAO-12-620R:
Published: May 31, 2012. Publicly Released: May 31, 2012.

Government Performance:

Strategies for Building a Results-Oriented and Collaborative Culture in the Federal Government
GAO-09-1011T:
Published: Sep 24, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 2009.

Results-Oriented Government:

Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain Collaboration among Federal Agencies
GAO-06-15:
Published: Oct 21, 2005. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 2005.

More Reports

Managing for Results:

Enhanced Goal Leader Accountability and Collaboration Could Further Improve Agency Performance
GAO-14-639:
Published: Jul 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2014.

Border Security:

Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms along the Southwest Border
GAO-14-494:
Published: Jun 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2014.

Defense Research:

Improved Management of DOD's Technical Corrosion Collaboration Program Needed
GAO-14-437:
Published: May 29, 2014. Publicly Released: May 29, 2014.

Emergency Transportation Relief:

Agencies Could Improve Collaboration Begun during Hurricane Sandy Response
GAO-14-512:
Published: May 28, 2014. Publicly Released: May 28, 2014.

Export Promotion:

Trade Agencies Should Enhance Collaboration with State and Local Partners
GAO-14-393:
Published: May 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 2014.

Education Grants:

Promise Neighborhoods Promotes Collaboration but Needs National Evaluation Plan
GAO-14-432:
Published: May 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 2014.

International Food Aid:

Better Agency Collaboration Needed to Assess and Improve Emergency Food Aid Procurement System
GAO-14-22:
Published: Mar 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2014.

Whistleblower Protection Program:

Opportunities Exist for OSHA and DOT to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms
GAO-14-286:
Published: Mar 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2014.

Electronic Health Records:

Entrepreneurial Assistance:

Opportunities Exist to Improve Collaboration and Performance Management for Financial Assistance Programs
GAO-14-335T:
Published: Feb 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 2014.
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    • J. Christopher Mihm
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