A public value approach to collaborative governance implementation in South African municipalities

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International Institute of Administrative Sciences
The form of governance which prevails in the bureaucratic-hierarchical apparatus of South African municipalities, is characterised by fragmented departmentalism (silos), an inflexible administration, fractured relationships with communities and stakeholders, a skew politicaladministrative interface and resistance to systemic transformation. Such governance attributes discourages (i) open dialogue with communities and stakeholders, (ii) bottom-up innovation and (iii) responsiveness to citizens’ needs, demands and expectations. ‘Corporate’, ‘cooperative’ and ‘good’ governance forms struggle to flourish in municipal environments, exuding unique, inwardly focused institutional constraints relative to most needed effective, accountable and inclusive governance practice and policy. This paper proposes an integrated public service system (IPSS) and the generation of public value (PV), as means to achieve effective, accountable and inclusive governance, focussing on (i) community common objectives, i.e. public interest and public purpose, (ii) stakeholder teams and integrative leaders, operating in a defined, distributive (integrated) network and (iii) collaborative governance, which embrace collaboration between stakeholders as a vehicle for integration, systemic transformation and effectiveness in service delivery. Collaborative governance encompasses the structural and functional aspects of effective, accountable and integrated practices, only when contained a nonlinear system (an IPSS), in synchrony with the propagation of inclusiveness, feedback, efficiency, efficacy, equilibrium, equity, viability, legitimacy, adaptation and sustainability. Collaborative governance is appropriate for municipal engagement with stakeholders, given (i) communities and their support stakeholder teams are engaged in locally based programmes and projects, (ii) civic education for community enablement is prioritised as a primary, inclusive and engagement mechanism, (iii) a viable means to assure continuous focus on the satisfaction of community needs, demands and expectations, social progress, quality of livelihood, quality of life standards, liveability (environmental sustainability) is devised and (iv) the delivery of tangible and nontangible goods and services, i.e. PV, by municipalities to communities is generated. The generation of PV, which involves whole communities, compels the utilisation of collaborative governance in assuring the achievement of accountability, oversight, feedback, inclusivity and transparency in measuring performance outputs, outcomes, adaptation to transformative change and sustainability in generating stable communities. This paper will deal with the critical importance of collaborative governance at the municipal level, the theoretical genesis of PV and similarly, the IPSS. In addition, results from a study conducted by the authors, will show a willingness among senior managers (in 15 municipalities in South Africa) to implement collaborative governance as a daily practice.