Distributed governance – the devolution of public sector responsibilities to organizations with day-to-day independence from core government – is a predominant characteristic of contemporary public administration.
Distributed governance expenditures are a key indicator of the scope of distributed governance activity and account for the greatest portion of public sector spending in Canada.
Evidence suggests that distributed governance mechanisms are most commonly used for service delivery functions, and that increasing use is being made of partnerships with non-government entities.
Distributed governance raises distinctive issues for the public sector, notably with respect to the management of key risks – financial, operational, and reputational, as well as the risk of misalignment with overall government policy.
The devolution of responsibilities and authorities from core government appears to be a permanent feature of public sector governance.