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Making the leap: A practical guide to inter-agency collaboration

7 February 2018




Government and community-sector agencies have an equal stake in producing better social services. Many novel policy ideas have come to government from the not-for-profit sector, and there is a long record of governments fostering community-sector innovation. Now, there is an increasing understanding that no single agency can address complex social problems on their own. This has brought about a new interest in how agencies can pool their complementary expertise to design and deliver more effective programs and services.

There is a growing literature on collaboration but very little of it serves as a guide for practice. This guide aims to fill this gap by sharing practical insights drawn from interviews with public and community sector managers with recent first-hand experience of inter-agency and cross-sectoral collaboration. It has been produced in the hope that the tips contained here will offer concrete guidance for managers who want to ‘make the leap’ from cooperation to genuine collaboration with like-minded agencies.

An output from the ANZSOG-funded project Building trust, driving innovation: Exploring collaborative commissioning in three cross sectoral partnerships.

Suggested citation

Thornton, D., Bryant, D. and Mallett, S. (2018). Making the leap: A practical guide to inter-agency collaboration. Melbourne: Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZSOG.


Authors: Danielle Thornton, David Bryant and Shelley Mallett
Published Date: 7 February 2018

Case study

Download the case study: bsl-making-the-leap-collaboration-guide (PDF 1 MB)