Drawing on an analysis of 112 watchdog reports that addressed collaboration, this paper concludes that governance issues make up a large proportion of all issues identified. Less commonly found were specific references to capacity and information management as important elements for effective collaboration. The evidence from watchdog reports confirms that collaboration remains very problematic for the public sector. Moreover, it is not evident that the wider public sector is drawing on this evidence extensively to learn and improve. © 2017 CIPFA.