Networked public service delivery requires attention to accountability and implementation in the public interest. Using the case of transitional housing in a western US community, we review the challenges of goal incongruence between network members and the resulting management problems. In addition, this case illustrates the role that local governments may play in promoting the primacy of one network member over others through collaborations, contract arrangements and nonmonetary resources and the resulting political and judicial difficulties. The complexity of networked service delivery is compounded when the individual missions of network members supersede public policy goals. In many communities, FBOs, as critical partners in a social service delivery network, may face great variation in expectations about how their organizational mission/faith relates to policy goals. Effective network coordination demands that each network partner recognizes and adapts, when appropriate, to the differing missions/goals of other network partners. However, when public resources are used to bolster the stability of alternative service providers, especially faith-based providers, governmental partners must maintain adequate oversight, with or without the benefit of specific contract provisions.
Fredericksen, Elizabeth D. and Witt, Stephanie L., "Providing Shelter for the Homeless: Faith-Based Organizations as Instruments of the Public Good" (2011). Research and Reports. Paper 48.