- Is Regionalization Right for You?
- Kinds of Regionalized Services
- Regionalization General Best Practices
- Helpful Resources
Municipal leaders are looking for quality goods and services and the best price. Vendors seek to compete effectively, generate customer satisfaction and build loyalty. Regionalizing goods and services procurements can provide “economies of scales” for the communities. When such procurements are facilitated by an RPA, the RPA can also provide economies of scale for vendors, who: 1) gain access to several potential customers at once by calling on an RPA; 2) save time and money processing one bid v. multiple individual bids, and 3) provide a higher volume of a good or service. The RPA facilitating the procurement acts as a sales force multiplier.
The role of the RPA is to identify opportunities for municipalities to solicit their goods and services and may benefit from a reduced cost by procuring them collectively. Vendors can reach out to the regional planning agencies to suggest opportunities and in turn the agencies can share those opportunities with the communities as they discuss project identification.
Contact Regional Planning Agencies
The Commonwealth’s 13 regional planning agencies are an invaluable resource of information, often acting as providers of technical assistance and host agencies for member municipalities. As the creators of the website, the RPA staff is well-suited with both the substantive knowledge regarding individual municipal services as well as information related to regional collaboration and shared service projects. Regional planning agency staff includes experts in a broad range of municipal services, including transportation, public health, energy, procurement, public safety, land use, housing, environmental affairs, public works and emergency preparedness.
Among other services, regional planning agencies provide member communities with technical assistance for shared service projects in the following areas: identification of grant opportunities and grant writing, project identification and management, drafting legal documents, and creating governance models and assessment comparisons. Moreover, some RPAs act as host agencies for member municipalities and employ staff with the qualifications to perform certain municipal services for a fee. Local leaders interested in learning more about sharing services should contact their relevant regional planning agency for more information.
Local leaders are often under pressure from various stakeholders – municipal employees, residents, and state government – to quickly produce effective solutions to local problems.
Those leaders who are seeking innovative regional solutions to such problems may find themselves under increased pressure to ensure that any solution involving shared services is particularly effective and, more importantly, favorable to the residents of the municipality. Given Massachusetts’ long tradition of home rule and local control, such leaders often cannot find examples of successful regional solutions and may find themselves creating projects for the first time. Such projects are often under increased scrutiny and serve as “test cases” for future shared services endeavors.
Thus, a critical piece to successfully sharing services is to find and implement the right project at the right time. Many times community leaders come together under a banner of a regional coalition of communities. Coalitions create a forum for ideas to be discussed and debated and create a natural buy in since recommendations come from the communities themselves.