Collaborative service delivery

man dragging boy in canoe along dirt roadThere are several movements to encourage social purpose organisations to work together to jointly deliver social outcomes to a shared client group, in order to provide one holistic service. A shared case management IT system and data analysis are highly beneficial for achieving this aim.

One example is ‘collaborative impact’[i]. It does not have a consistent definition but, generally, is used to describe the change produced by organisations working together. Another is ‘collective impact’[ii] , which is more tightly defined.

The Foundation Strategy Group, the consultancy driving ‘collective impact’, expresses the five conditions of collective impact success as:

  1. Common Agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions
  2. Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinatedthrough a mutually reinforcing plan of action
  4. Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation
  5. Backbone Organisation: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organisation(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies[iii]

The first four conditions call for the type of performance-management approach described in this paper, whereas condition five shows how a performance management service from one organisation can support services delivered by a range of others.

Patricia Bowie and Moira Inkelas, from the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, work with the Magnolia Community Initiative “a voluntary network of 70 organisations in a five-square mile area near downtown Los Angeles.” They described the way that their performance management system supports improvement,

“The Dashboard displays monthly measurements to track progress in care processes of multiple organisations and sectors. Examples include empathy and linkage. The monthly data come from surveys collected by network partners, including physicians, child care programs, and others… Unlike typical program evaluations that compare performance in two points of time, we provide regular monthly data so partners can iteratively learn and adjust their actions.”[iv]

[i] Skoll World Forum panel session The Power of Many: Collaborative Impact and Measurement.

[ii] FSG What is Collective Impact?

[iii] FSG What is Collective Impact?

[iv] Inkelas, M. & Bowie, P. (2014). The Magnolia Community Initiative: The Importance of Measurement in Improving Community Well-Being. In Community Investments. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 26(1).