Interagency Collaborative Arrangements and Activities: Types, Rationales, Considerations [May 31, 2011]   [open pdf - 351KB]

"Interagency coordinative arrangements and activities - called for in public laws, executive orders, and administrative directives - appear to be growing in number, prominence, and proposals throughout virtually all individual policy areas and across-the-board. Underlying this growth are several developments: the increase in governmental responsibilities, cross-cutting programs, and their complexity; the inadequate preparation for and response to severe crises (in particular, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes); and heightened pressure to reduce or consolidate federal programs and expenditures. This report examines formal interagency collaborative arrangements and activities, which are intended to enhance joint efforts and cooperation among independent federal agencies with shared responsibilities and overlapping jurisdictions. The study examines the following: 1) various types and understandings of collaborative activities and arrangements, as well as related concepts of interagency coordination, integration, mergers and reorganizations, networking, and partnerships; 2) background of relevant efforts; 3) rationales for interagency collaboration and the problems these are designed to address; 4) concerns and questions about the rationales; 5) difficulties in assessing interagency collaboration success or failure; and 6) factors affecting the adoption, evolution, and impact of collaborative activities and arrangements. This Congressional Research Service (CRS) study builds on and supplements an extensive collection of materials, covering various aspects of interagency collaboration, current and past, which are cited in the bibliography at the end of the report. That compilation identifies analyses of different subject and policy areas as well as different types of arrangements used among agencies. The relevant studies - both current and historical - come from congressional committees, CRS, executive branch entities, Government Accountability Office (GAO), governmental commissions, professional associations, and scholars."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41803
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