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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Drivers for collaboration

Collaboration is necessary to generate creative solutions to challenges and to share the work of oversight and accountability.[1] The idea of developing and implementing whole-of-government solutions to policy problems has many recognised long-term drivers, across multiple policy areas, both in Australia and overseas.

In 1997 the British New Labour Government gave prominence to the concept of joined up or collaborative government through its modernisation of public administration in the United Kingdom.[2] Since then countries such as Canada, the United States[3] and Ireland, along with other Australian jurisdictions have also moved to more collaborative working arrangements to solve difficult policy issues.

The Tasmanian State Service is facing a range of new pressures requiring it to be more adaptable, innovative and flexible in its approach to solving policy problems. These include:

  • technological advancement, which is creating new opportunities and threats and allowing greater integration across organisational boundaries;
  • increased stakeholder expectations of service delivery including pressure for seamless services that meet the needs of the user, rather than the organisational convenience of service deliverers;
  • an increasing expectation that the public sector will solve intractable issues;
  • far greater pressures for continued improvement, innovation and learning; and
  • the challenge of coping with a more complex political and institutional architecture.[4]

In order for the Tasmanian State Service to continue to deliver high quality advice, programs and services that are tailored to community and political needs, greater reliance on collaborative approaches to problem solving is required. Ministers and Government expect the State Service to work across organisational boundaries to develop well informed, comprehensive policy advice and implement Government policies in an integrated way. [5] This is particularly true when addressing ‘wicked problems’ that are highly resistant to resolution[6], such as: social inclusion; reducing health inequalities; homelessness; workforce participation; climate change and the environment, which require responses that cross organisational and state and local government boundaries, and involve groups outside government.[7]

Annex 2 sets out three existing examples of collaborative Tasmanian Government projects.


[1] Noveck, B S 2009, Wiki Government: How technology can make government better, democracy stronger and citizens more powerful page xii

[2]Victorian State Services Authority 2007, Victorian Approaches to Joined Up Government: An Overview, p3.

[3] National Academy of Public Administration 2009, Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration<http://www.scribd.com/doc/11644716/Enabling-Collaboration-Three-Priorities-for-New-Administration>

[4] Institute of Public Administration Australia, NSW State Conference 15 May 2003, Leadership and Integrated Governance: A Reader, p4.

[5] Australian Public Service Commission, 2004, Connecting Government, p2.

[6] Victorian State Services Authority 2007, Victorian Approaches to Joined Up Government, p3.

[7] Australian Public Service Commission, 2004, Connecting Government, p4.

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