Coordination and Integration of Welfare and Workforce Development Systems. What is meant by service coordination and integration?

03/20/2000

Over the years, the terms "coordination" and "integration" as well as "collaboration" and "linkages" have often been used interchangeably and with varying connotations and meanings. More recent studies have reached some consensus and define coordination as situations where two or more organizations work together, through a formal or informal arrangement, to meet one or more goals such as improving the effectiveness and/or cost-effectiveness of programs, avoiding the unnecessary duplication of services, and improving performance (Trutko, et al., 1991; Holcomb et al., 1993). While many of the terms are interchangeable, there is generally a distinction between service integration  which implies logistic and physical proximity  and coordination  which refers to agencies' efforts to work together to achieve specified goals. Clearly, coordination can occur without operational integration, and physical integration does not necessarily improve system or program coordination. Based on this distinction, most of the studies in this area have focused on coordination rather than service integration.