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Joining-up across government and communities is a dynamic process which requires versatile systems, structures and processes that can shift over time with changing priorities, situations, and stakeholders.

There is no one-size-fits all approach to joined-up work. It is a long-term endeavour that requires time, patience, and willingness to implement.  Accountability and risk management are central concerns, as are a careful balancing of vertical and horizontal accountabilities.

Joined-up ways of working break down government silos and enable cooperation through the sharing of resources and rewards across departments. They can improve communication and information sharing between departments and community stakeholders and increase flexibility needed to address cross‑cutting issues.  For place-based ways of working, joined-up work encourages innovation, deepens public trust in government, and enables the VPS to be an effective partner to place-based initiatives.

Joined-up work requires effective changes in accountability systems, VPS culture and ethos and structural arrangements; all of which influence how the VPS engages with community and other stakeholders. Effective collaboration (for generating change and community impact) should be built on a sound foundation; and this involves identifying a shared agenda, determining how to effectively work together, and developing a strategy to move from idea to impact.

A series of proposals have been developed as a ‘call to action’ for the VPS designed to address ongoing challenges and capitalise on opportunities, based on research and consultations with key stakeholders.

The effectiveness of joined-up work is dependent on strong leadership commitment, investment in time and resources, individual and organisational flexibility, and openness to creativity and innovation.

A ‘Call to Action’ for the VPS

  1. Dedicated leadership to provide an authorising and enabling environment for joined-up work across the VPS by: 
    • securing cross-government commitment to joined-up ways of working in line with public sector values and First Nations’ principles for self-determination
    • developing strong ‘inter-organisational’ executive leadership to:
      • champion and advocate for place-based efforts
      • build links and networks across VPS
      • set goals for collaboration
      • facilitate consensus and broker resources to achieve collective goals
    • building strong inter-organisational executive capability to lead joined-up and place‑based ways of working.
  2. When working ‘in place’ alongside other departments or agencies, work collaboratively to:
    • identify opportunities to determine shared approaches, objectives, and outcomes
    • share accountability through collaborative governance structures
    • develop joint models or approaches for funding and reporting that support joined-up practices and arrangements (for example, pooled budgets for cross‑cutting issues).
  3. Invest in systems that enable joined-up work by:
    • dedicating resourcing and supportive infrastructure to facilitate better coordination, communication and information sharing across VPS. For instance, improved platforms and processes for locating key contacts or accessing relevant information across government or provide VPS staff with a digital shared space to collaborate
    • developing and agreeing a coordinated approach to streamline the work of departments engaged in place-based work.
  4. Enhancing appropriate VPS skills and capabilities by:
    • dedicating resourcing for skills training in collaborative approaches
    • creating dedicated ‘boundary spanning’ roles at the appropriate VPS levels
    • developing inbound-outbound staff exchange programs to share expertise, foster greater respect and trust and shared perspectives between the public, private and third sectors
    • providing ongoing localised cultural awareness training for cross- portfolio staff
    • creating incentives for VPS staff to work more collaboratively by:
      • embedding collaborative work as a key performance indicator and essential criteria in position descriptions, and
      • setting goals and expectations for collaborative work with other departments and shared outcome targets in staff performance development plans.