Postprint of: Keast, RL & Brown, KA 2002, 'The Government Service Delivery Project: a case study of the push and pull of central government coordination', Public Management Review, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 439-459.
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Fragmentation and the lack of appropriately coordinated government services are widely considered to be costly problems impeding effective and efficient government service provision. Moreover, there is a growing realization that many modern social issues have developed into meta-problems that cannot be resolved by the traditional single agency approach. Coordination of services through more cooperative and collaborative networks of relationships between government agencies has become a preferred strategy for many public administrators. This article gives an account of a public sector initiative aimed at enhancing service provision through the formation and management of interdepartmental networks of coordinative and cooperative action. It concludes that although networks are a useful mechanism of social coordination, their inherent benefits may be jeopardized when network management issues make them vulnerable to pressures from the centre.