Interagency Collaboration & Its Impact on School Policy

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson provides you with a description of interagency collaboration programs and their general purpose. Also, this lesson gives you an analysis of the impact a collaboration agreement can have on school policy.

Interagency Collaboration: Definition and Purpose

To begin, interagency collaboration can occur in any sector. Here, we focus on the education sector.

The most basic definition of interagency collaboration is a system that facilitates program development through a partnership agreement, which can include public organizations, private sector businesses, nonprofits, and any other organization willing to work as part of the agreement.

Regarding the purposes of interagency collaboration, the main one is to accomplish a goal that all parties pursue. Based on this premise, interagency collaboration also has the purpose to find the most convenient way to do the work, which leads to a specific goal.

Both definition and purpose are easier to understand through a practical example.

What does interagency collaboration look like?

Imagine the school where you work has a program to educate teenagers to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The school's goal is to considerably reduce, if not eliminate, unwanted pregnancies because teenagers in this situation usually drop out of school and work low-paying jobs. The school's resources to accomplish this goal, however, are limited.

Now, imagine there is a nonprofit in the area. The nonprofit's mission is to educate both parents and teenagers about the life impact of an unwanted pregnancy. The nonprofit has a very sophisticated software program that simulates unwanted pregnancy situations. The software is a practical tool to educate the community about the consequences of such situations.

In addition, there is a private business in the community. The business dedicates part of its yearly earnings to printing free brochures about unwanted pregnancies and their impact on individuals, families, and the community. The business has the financial resources to print brochures and to pay professional speakers with knowledge on the impact of unwanted pregnancies.

Rather than each organization working alone, if the three organizations partner in order to accomplish their common goal, their individual programs will have a stronger impact. You can see the benefit of this interagency collaboration.

Implications for School Policy

When several organizations or agencies agree to work in a collaborative manner, they must establish clear rules so that everyone knows what to expect. Therefore, interagency collaboration has an impact on school policy because the collaboration agreement becomes part of the school policy. It is important to clarify, however, that an interagency collaboration agreement cannot change the existing school policy. Instead, the interagency collaboration agreement must follow the guidelines in the existing policy and cannot contradict the already existing laws or organizational policies that are in place.

There are essential aspects, however, that add to the existing school policy when an interagency collaboration agreement is in place. Those aspects are as follows.

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