Most state and local officials, perhaps contrary to the usual portrayal of government, constantly push to find better ways to accomplish the public's work at lower costs. In doing so, they often look to consulting groups to produce reports that expertly evaluate performance and recommend strategies for operational advancements. Over the last six months, a team of experts at the Harvard Kennedy School has been collecting and analyzing these reports so that a high-quality review from one jurisdiction can be helpful in another.
While each jurisdiction harbors its own localized nuances, governments face the same trials in modernizing. Many challenges -- such as successfully merging departments, providing effective technology structures and maintaining proper staffing levels -- are universal across governments. A consultant's recommendations to the state of Iowa about emergency service dispatch consolidation might, for instance, convey principles that can be applied to the same service in California.