Research Briefing, March 2018

blogimage_researchbriefingEach month, there is new, fascinating research emerging that provides practical insight into how the government, business, and non-profit sectors partner to address society’s most pressing problems. To keep our readers up to date on this work, which comes from a variety of academic and non-academic sources, we compile a monthly briefing and publish it on our blog — for researchers who want to stay up to date on progress in the field of cross-sector collaboration and practitioners who are interested in how this research may be applicable to their work.

This month’s briefing includes articles about:

  • the history of PPPs and PPP success,
  • collaborative innovation in the public sector,
  • a cross-sector approach to food and nutrition strategy in Ontario,
  • value for money in design-build versus public-private partnership projects,
  • why city governments should work with data intermediaries,
  • the effects of risk, beliefs, and trust on education policy networks, and
  • a CDC partnership that brings together public health and health care purchasers, payers, and providers.

Do PPP’s work? What and how have we been learning so far?,” Public Management Review, Graeme Hodge, Carsten Greve, and Mhamed Bigautane

Abstract: “Both the public and private sectors have long histories, and governments have been mixing efforts with private businesses for thousands of years. So, despite our modern enthusiasm for private finance and partnerships, historians were right when they said, ‘there is nothing new about the mixing of public-private endeavors’. But if this is so, then why all the fuss from public management researchers such as ourselves, and why the clear global popularity of the public–private partnership (PPP) phrase nowadays? Just where does the modern story of PPP begin, and what is historically new? And ultimately, do PPPs work? There have been changes in linguistics and changes in terms of public policy, and both have shaped our assumptions on how to get the most from each sector. Each of these elements provides a context for today’s PPP research and both are central to ongoing debates about PPP success.”

Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector: The Argument,” Public Management Review, Jacob Torfing

Abstract: “There has been a growing interest in the question of how to spur innovation in the public sector, and recent research points to multi-actor collaboration as a superior innovation driver. This article explains why and how multi-actor collaboration may spur public innovation. It also discusses why we should expect different public and private actors to engage in demanding processes of collaborative interaction in order to produce risk-filled public innovations. Finally, it reflects on how it is possible to overcome the barriers to collaborative innovation through a combination of institutional design and the exercise of leadership and management.”

The Development of a Provincial Food and Nutrition Strategy through Cross-Sector Collaboration,” Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, Lynn Roblin, Rebecca Truscott, and Meaghan R. Boddy

Abstract: “A whole-system perspective is critical in efforts to create a healthy population and a productive, equitable, and sustainable food system. In 2009, the Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity undertook a bold initiative to develop a comprehensive provincial strategy encompassing the entire food system. The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy was shaped through extensive consultation with diverse stakeholders. This strategy identified strategic directions and priority actions for productive, equitable, and sustainable food systems intended to promote the health and well-being of all Ontarians. Paramount to the strategy is a collaborative governance mechanism allowing for a cross-government, multistakeholder coordinated approach to food policy development. Key actors participated in a collective impact process to develop a theory of change and potential governance model. Different models for collaborative work were examined and a governance model for a multistakeholder coordinated provincial mechanism was proposed. Lessons learned from this process will inform others involved in food systems work at the provincial, regional, or local level and may pave the way towards successful inter-sectoral action on priority recommendations geared towards improved nutrition-related and food systems outcomes.

Quantifying Mega-Project Value for Money: Design-Build Versus Public Private Partnership Delivery Methods,” Transportation Research Board, Phil Barutha and Douglas Gransberg

Abstract: “Public agencies must justify the decisions they make to their constituents by demonstrating each project delivery decision’s value for money (VfM). In the traditional low bid procurement VfM is assured to the public via free and open competition to obtain the best price. Public private partnership (P3) project delivery challenges the idea that value is totally defined by minimizing project capital cost and permits public agencies to extend the value calculus beyond construction completion to the development, design, operations and maintenance phases of a project. P3 also furnishes access to private financing, which decreases the burden to the taxpayer and serves to cover current public funding shortfalls. This study compares the VfM of a P3 mega-project in Pennsylvania to that of a comparable design-build (DB) mega-project in Missouri. The paper seeks to determine the change in VfM when private financing and post-construction maintenance are added to the equation. The paper finds that additional VfM is realized through P3 delivery due to being able to build the infrastructure earlier because of the availability of private financing. The paper also finds putting the concessionaire at risk for maintenance costs influenced the concessionaire to implement higher standard design criteria as measured by an increased bridge design life to minimize life cycle cost risk. The paper’s primary contribution is the development of an approach to quantify VfM using comparative value analysis.”

NNIP Partners and Local Governments Work Together to Tackle Community Challenges,” Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership

Abstract: “Local governments should engage with data intermediary organizations, such as the members of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, to more effectively identify priority issues, find new allies, and devise data-driven policies and programs. In addition to their topical, analytic, and community engagement expertise, these organizations bring an understanding of local context, a reputation for impartial analysis, and a set of relationships that spans sectors. Their services build local capacity, including within governments, to use data for better decisionmaking. All local governments should join with area data intermediaries to raise the whole community’s ability to regularly share and use data to improve decisionmaking, both inside and outside of government. This series includes an overview brief, supported by case studies for three cities, to demonstrate the range of ways that data intermediaries and their services benefit city and county governments.

The Effects of Risk, Beliefs, and Trust in Education Policy Networks: The Case of Autism and Special Education,” Policy Studies Journal, Bryan M. Parsons

Abstract: “There are multiple theoretical accounts of how actors address problems of collective action in policy networks, but the two most prominent hypotheses are the risk and belief homophily hypotheses. The risk hypothesis claims that relational structures (e.g., bridging, bonding) depend on the benefits actors receive from uncooperative behavior, while the belief homophily hypothesis claims that relational ties form around shared policy beliefs. This study incorporates the case of autism and special education policy, a subsystem best characterized by Berardo and Scholz’s (2010) conceptualization of a low-risk environment, to test hypotheses about the influence of risk, policy beliefs, and trust on the formation on relational ties in education policy networks. Utilizing data from a 2016 network survey of public and private special education stakeholders in Virginia, results from exponential random graph models provide support for the effects of bridging structures, beliefs related to the medical model of disability, and social trust on strong (collaboration) and weak (information/advice) relational ties in policy networks. The findings reinforce the importance of using policy networks to understand how actors build connections across multiple jurisdictions and policy sectors to mitigate problems of coordination in policy decision making and implementation.”

CDC’s 6|18 Initiative: A Cross-Sector Approach to Translating Evidence Into Practice,” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, LC Seeff, T McGinnis, and H Heishman

Abstract: “As the U.S. health care system continues to undergo dynamic change, the increased alignment between health care quality and payment has provided new opportunities for public health and health care sectors to work together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 6|18 Initiative accelerates cross-sector collaboration between public health and health care purchasers, payers, and providers and highlights 6 high-burden conditions and 18 associated interventions with evidence of cost reduction/neutrality and improved health outcomes. This evidence can inform payment, utilization, and quality of prevention and control interventions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused initially on public payer health insurance interventions for asthma control, unintended pregnancy prevention, and tobacco cessation. Nine state Medicaid and public health agency teams — in Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and South Carolina — participated in the initiative because they had previously prioritized the health condition(s) and specific intervention(s) and had secured state-level leadership support for state agency collaboration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Center for Health Care Strategies, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and other partners supported state implementation and dissemination of early lessons learned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted exploratory interviews to guide improvement of the 6|18 Initiative and to understand facilitators, barriers, and complementary roles played by each sector. Monthly technical assistance calls conducted with state teams documented collaborative activities between state Medicaid agencies and health departments and state processes to increase coverage and utilization. The 6|18 Initiative is strengthening partnerships between state health departments and Medicaid agencies and contributing to state progress in helping improve Medicaid coverage and utilization of effective prevention and control interventions. This initiative highlights early successes for others interested in strengthening collaboration between state agencies and between public and private sectors to improve payment, utilization, and quality of evidence-based interventions.

Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: