In this report I will explore the key arguments and issues associated with partnership working. I will assess the validity of the arguments presented and consider the wider implications of this. I will highlight how this influenced my decision to collect data from a range of sources to increase the verisimilitude of the process. The small scale evaluation will focus on understanding why BeSD students fail to make the required levels of progress, even when receiving targeted support. I will try to ascertain the attitudes/values and beliefs of the outside agencies involved with the Academy and identify ways to move forward. Finally I will delineate how this activity has impacted on my current thinking and as a result how this will change my future practice.
Key Arguments & Issues
The original concept of partnership working came about as a direct result of Victoria Climbie’s death in 2000. Lord Laming (2003) conducted an independent inquiry and found the agencies involved to be grossly negligent, which is reinforced by Frost (2005). This led to the formation of the initiative ‘Every Child Matters’ and the Children’s Act of 2004, which outlined how all agencies involved in working with children, should have a shared responsibility to improve health and wellbeing; by leading community partnerships, delivering on national priorities/targets and commissioning/delivering services. The main aim was to protect children of all ages in the UK. MacAuslan (2006) outlines what the benefits are to partnership working; enhanced wellbeing of children and parents, plus an increased accuracy of needs assessment carried out by professionals. Tunnard (1991) defined Partnership working as;
‘The essence of partnership is sharing. It is marked by respect for one another, role divisions, rights to information, accountability, competence, and value accorded to individual input. In short, each partner is seen as having something to contribute, power is shared, decisions are made jointly and roles are not only respected but are also backed by legal and moral rights.’
However, current research suggests that partnership working is fraught with difficulties and even the term ‘Partnership Working’ is considered a contested concept. Burton et al (2009) & JIT (2009) amongst a whole plethora of authors, outline what these potential barriers could be; • Clarity of roles and accountability
• Behaviour and power relationships
• Varying degrees of skills & knowledge
• Structure and the environment
• Available resources
• External & cultural influences
JIT (2009) usefully explores these above barriers in more depth, using an Ishikawa Fishbone diagram, to ascertain the root cause of these issues;
Glenny (2005) suggests that it will be impossible to control the ‘system’ as outlined in the above diagram (partnership work), but that it may be possible to formulate good practice through the management of communication, in creating an environment of trust. Frost & Lloyd (2006), Pinkus (2005), MacAuslan...