The effectiveness of inter-agency task forces : a California state government case study

Increasingly, the state of California has taken to forming task forces in order to tackle new, wide reaching problems such as climate change. These problems often cut across many different agency jurisdictions; and as no one agency is big enough to address them, calling for collaboration between relevant agencies and a redirecting of existing resources to face these new problems has become common place. The purpose of this thesis is to ascertain whether or not task forces composed of multiple public sector entities should be considered effective tools for policy enactment in the state. My exploratory study draws upon existing academic literature on what makes task forces effective to create an interview procedure that was utilized to speak with 6 public officials currently or having previously served on task forces. I then compared how the interviewees felt about what benefited and impeded their task force’s ability to perform with what the literature said drove task force effectiveness and gave each task force a passing or failing grade based on whether or not a task force had more positive or negative factors respectfully. My results show that all task forces in my case selection are vi considered effective by the interviewees who served on them and based on what the reviewed literature suggests would make an effective task force. I conclude that task forces as they are now are indeed effective tools for solving far reaching problems, and any inefficiencies they face are endemic in the public sector itself.