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A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance

A Practical Guide to Collaborative GovernanceThis 62-page step-by-step handbook from the Policy Consensus Institute walks readers through the stages of sponsoring,convening, organizing, and participating in a public policy collaborative process. Designed primarily for elected and appointed government officials and civic leaders, the guide also is useful for those who provide leaders with the staff assistance, facilitation services, and support they need to employ these approaches effectively.

The Practical Guide was developed and written by Chris Carlson, founding director of PCI and a leading authority on consensus building in the public sector.

The Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance will help equip more leaders – present and future, in the public, private, and civic sectors – with the information and tools they need to bring about better governance through the use of collaborative practices, with instructions on how to:

  • Understand the spectrum of collaborative processes
  • Identify when collaborative processes will work and when they won’t
  • Sponsor a collaborative process
  • Conduct an assessment
  • Choose and use a neutral forum and facilitator
  • Identify and work with a convener
  • Ensure legitimacy for the process through inclusive participation
  • Plan and organize the process
  • Develop ground rules to guide the process
  • Conduct problem-solving discussions and reach consensus agreements
  • Create Mechanisms for implementation and on-going collaboration

Excerpt: Understanding The Spectrum of Collaborative Governance Processes (58kb PDF)


“PCI’s Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance is indeed practical. It is also succinct, thorough and wise. Municipal officials and other leaders will appreciate the careful outlines of steps and considerations. Especially important are the balanced assessments of what works when and how – and what doesn’t. This is an excellent resource for local leaders.”

Bill Barnes, National League of Cities

“PCI has provided yet another practical publication for legislators and other government officials. The chapter on ‘The Role of the Convener’ gives lawmakers clear examples and tips about how they can lead and promote collaborative problem solving in their communities. The helpful guidelines should greatly assist legislators who want to try on this important convener role.”

Bruce Feustel, National Council of State Legislators

“A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance will undoubtedly prove to be an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to develop a consensus-based solution to a complex or contentious public issue. Whether the goal is conflict resolution or the development of sound public policy that all comers can support, users of theGuide will find helpful process-oriented suggestions based on the real-world experiences of those who have successfully employed collaborative governance techniques in a wide variety of circumstances. The Guide will help lawmakers and other elected officials fulfill their unique potential as “conveners” of collaborative initiatives designed to produce lasting policy results.”

Mike McCabe, Council of State Governments

Resource Link: www.policyconsensus.org/publications/practicalguide/collaborative_governance.html ($15)

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