Methods of Collaborative Governance

Methods of Collaborative Governance in stage 4. Picking a researcher

Project Stages:

1. Gather ideas - Completed
2. Select ideas - Completed
3. Council approval - Completed
4. Picking a researcher - Current
5. Committee consideration - Not reached yet
6. Back to the council - Not reached yet
7. Consideration by the full conference - Not reached yet
8. Implementation - Not reached yet
4. Picking a researcher
Status Notes:  
ACUS is in the process of choosing a consultant for this study.


Staff Counsel
Committee Chair
Miriam M. Nisbet
Office of Government Information Services Director

Background Information: One of the Conference’s most important prior achievements was its role in encouraging federal agencies to make use of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). The Conference played a key role in the enactment of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act.* The Conference also issued publications and conducted seminars and training sessions to promote ADR.

Project Details: The Conference is currently planning to study the federal government’s use of “collaborative governance.” Collaborative governance is a generalization of negotiated rulemaking—it encompasses any arrangement whereby public agencies combine with private stakeholders in a collective decision-making process that seeks to achieve consensus. In addition to negotiated rulemaking, examples would include the EPA’s Project XL, which allows innovative environmental permits to issue if supported by stakeholder groups. Proponents of collaborative governance praise its ability to improve outcomes for all; critics suggest that it can skew the playing field in favor of the best funded and organized stakeholders.

The Conference’s study of the uses of collaborative governance in the federal government will attempt to identify examples of collaborative governance, the circumstances under which it works best, technological and other tools that can support it, and practices that might be recommended, discouraged, or improved upon. The study will attempt to assess, at least qualitatively, whether collaborative governance improves outcomes and will provide any appropriate recommendations.


* See Conference Recommendation 86-3, “Agencies’ Use of Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution,” and Conference Recommendations 82-4 and 85-5, “Procedures for Negotiating Proposed Regulations.” The Conference was specifically mentioned in the original ADR Act, see Pub. L. 101-552, § 3(a), and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act, see Pub. L. 101-648, § 3(a).
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