Collaborative Partnerships

The Collaborative Services Decision Matrix Tool is the second product from the Enhanced Research Partnership.

Decision Making


The Enhanced Partnership represents the joint research efforts of the Alliance for Innovation, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University.

Decision Matrix

The Collaborative Services Decision Matrix Tool is the second product from this new partnership. Each product is designed to be a useful aid for local government officials tackling challenging opportunities.

This report supports The Collaborative Service Delivery Matrix: A Decision Tool to Assist Local Governments. It highlights the results of research, case studies, extensive bibliographic reviews, and interviews used by the Enhanced Research Partnership in the development of the decision matrix.

The Enhanced Partnership chose to invest in this project in order to develop a practical and low-cost decision instrument that local governments can easily employ and implement very quickly with existing staff. The tool helps communities determine whether or not entering into a collaborative service delivery arrangement is likely to result in achieving the jurisdiction’s goals. This is done through an evaluation of 14 characteristics along two dimensions:

 Type of Service  Community Characteristics
 Asset Specificity  Possible Public Partners
 Contract Specification and Monitoring  Possible Private Partners
 Labor Intensity  Possible Nonprofit Partners
 Capital Intensity  Council Orientation/Political Environment
 Costs  Fiscal/Economic Health
 Management Competencies  Unions
 Stability in Administrative Team  Public Interest

Applying a 3-point grade to these 14 characteristics yields two scores that illustrate the likelihood that a successful collaborative arrangement is possible. Jurisdictions decide whether the expected benefits exceed the expected costs in light of their risk tolerance. If the jurisdiction decides to pursue a collaborative arrangement, staff can use the same scores on the14 characteristics. This can determine which form of collaborative arrangement is most likely to succeed regarding the delivery of that particular service in that particular type of community.

This report elaborates on the 14 characteristics and the five (5) basic collaboration structures on which the decision matrix tool is based.

The tool, this report, illustrative case studies, an extensive bibliography of related research, and a series of other resources are available on, the Alliance for Innovation website (, and the ASU Center for Urban Innovation website (

View the resources at the links below

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