As local governments work to navigate fiscal constraints and growing or changing service demands, collaboration among cities, counties, and school districts is an option to explore.
Those cities that have implemented collaborative efforts know this is hard work that can take significant political will and perseverance, and success is not always easy to demonstrate. There are also risks to be considered as formal agreements are drawn up.
So why do so many cities embark on intergovernmental collaborations? Because such cooperative efforts hold the potential for improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
Research on intergovernmental collaboration
The League has conducted research into intergovernmental collaboration for a number of years—original research as well as contributions to the Best Practices work of the Minnesota Office of the State Auditor.
As part of the 2004 and 2008 State of the Cities project, the League asked member cities to identify cooperative arrangements in which they participated with other public or private entities in service delivery. League staff also document collaborative examples covered in media stories or mentioned by city officials on listservs and at LMC events.
Collaboration Lookup tool
The League has developed the City Collaboration Lookup, an interactive tool that will allow users to search for examples of collaboration by service category and by city name.
Articles about collaboration initiatives
Office of the State Auditor reports on intergovernmental collaboration
The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) has developed excellent resources on collaboration. In their 2004 Best Practices Review on cooperative efforts, they provide examples of intergovernmental collaborations and also identify the factors that lead to success and sustainability. In 2012, they released a new Best Practices Review: Collaboration Part 1: Initiating, Building, and Maintaining Governmental Relationships.
Learn more and access reports on the OSA website
Assistance with Joint Powers Agreements
LMCIT staff have developed specialized expertise and assistance in the area of joint powers agreements. Cities that are advised to take advantage of our contract review services before a joint powers agreement is finalized.