Cross-sector partnerships in community governance at the district level:A case study of the welfare and healthcare service promotion campaign in Beitou District, Taipei

   This study examines the welfare and healthcare service promotion campaign in Beitou District, Taipei, focusing on participatory networks and cross-sector partnerships in community governance at the district level. There are three emphases in this article: a discussion of theories and practices relevant to community governance; an analysis of interactions in governance networks for communities in Beitou; and an examination of the characteristics and problems of community governance at the district level. Specifically, using welfare and healthcare services as a case study, this study discusses cross-sector partnerships in community governance and addresses topics such as linkages, agreements, interactions and coordination in the realization of goals for collaboration between public and private sectors. This article utilizes Cigler’s (1999) work on the continuum of partnerships, complexity in interorganizational collaboration, intensity of linkages, and the degree of formal agreement between participants as the basis for an analytic framework and categorization. The analysis then proceeds to examine network linkages and partnerships in the Beitou case and describes related governance problems. In addition, drawing on Sullivan’s (2001) analytic framework for community governance, we categorize patterns of community governance in Beitou. We analyze the roles, functions and methods of participation of different actors and offer useful strategies and suggestions for the campaign to promote community governance in Beitou.
   We analyze different actors in the Beitou community social welfare and medical service policy network to clarify their positions and functions, as depicted in figure 1.
Figure 1 Beitou District Flagship Project Policy Network (Resources: the authors)
   As mentioned earlier, Beitou District has particularly emphasized the flagship competition project for communal welfare service; therefore, the welfare and healthcare promotion campaign has important implications for governance studies. The examined case has interesting dimensions, such as the autonomous participation of civil organizations, interactions between different networks, private-public collaborations, flexibility and strategies in response to communal demands, and informal relationships in personal networks. The resources for welfare and healthcare services are provided by several public sector organizations, communal organizations, social welfare groups, professional healthcare providers, academic and educational institutions, local businesses and residents. With the implementation of the flagship competition project for community welfare, cross-sector collaborative governance in Beitou District was initiated via community development organizations that serve as the main actors. Given the objective of building regional healthcare service systems, it is suggested that resource integration in each domain can be broadened and deepened. It is advisable to consider additional integration and collaboration plans between different institutes and organizations to promote human and physical resources and improve the capacity of policy resource networks. With respect to private-public collaboration, to build mutual trust and develop strategies for action on a mutual basis, both the public and private sectors should sidestep hierarchical supervisory relations and view partnership as the basic principle. Better and lasting welfare and healthcare services may be achieved in this way.
   Based on our analysis, as indicated in figure 2, the network for the execution of social welfare and medical services in Beitou differs from the governance network (shown in figure 1) before the policy was implemented. The Beitou Culture Foundation plays the leading role in interactions between social sectors. This foundation is responsible for finances and human resources. Community development associations should have acted as policy executors rather than passive coordinators. Social welfare groups and community organizations have a cooperative relationship with respect to information changes and conducting joint activities. Professional medical organizations have less participation. Problems such as less coordination and overlapping work arise in the public sector. The public and private sectors communicate with each other via the platform created by community work meetings. However, the frequency and productivity of these meetings must still be improved. Overall, most community social welfare and medical services are offered via cross-sector interactions between policy partners.
Figure 2 Beitou Social Welfare and Medical Service Governance Partnership (Resource: the authors)
   Moreover, after analyzing governance actors that participate in the flagship project, we find that different organizations have different ideas, action strategies and resource management approaches. After two years of policy execution, different governance functions and participation problems have been created that affect the development of cross-sector social welfare and medical networks.
   Based on an examination of welfare and healthcare networks in Beitou, Taipei, this study has carefully considered Sullivan’s (2001) and Cigler’s (1999) theoretical discussion of community governance and partnership continuum. In our research, we found that cross-sector partnerships in Taiwan’s community governance have moved from cross-community liaisons, exchanges and negotiations to collaborative networks with the characteristics of resource integration, differentiated actions and coordinated implementation. This phenomenon shows that the long-term development of local self-governance and democratic participation in community governance has led to major breakthroughs and improvements in governance networks for welfare and healthcare services.
Zeng, R. and Chao, Y. (2017). Governance Capacity, Policy Network and Communal Participation. Taipei: National Taiwan University Press.
Ruei-jia Zeng
Master of Political Science, National Taiwan University
Yung-mau Chao
Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University