A lot has been written about the theory of partnership working. However, translating theory into practice is not always easy. Partnerships can be formed between a number of individuals, agencies or organisations with a shared interest. There is usually an overarching purpose for partners to work together and a range of specific objectives. Partnerships are often formed to address specific issues and may be short or long term. In order to achieve a co-ordinated service partners need to: • • •
Communicate Co-ordinate Co-operate
What are the benefits of partnership working? There is emerging evidence about the benefits for both service users and service providers of working in partnership with other services. A partnership approach founded on co-operation and collaboration between all relevant providers will have a number of benefits for service users. These include: • • •
removal of barriers to progressing towards stabilisation / rehabilitation providing more consistent, co-ordinated and comprehensive care access to a range of training, education and employment opportunities
The benefits for service providers of partnership working include the ability to: develop a 'whole person' approach • manage a broader range of services which address the individual's needs • develop a better understanding of others’ skills and develop a wider range of personal skills in dealing with clients • develop a wider skill base for staff to meet more effectively the needs of individuals • recognise and utilise the strengths and areas of expertise of all the partner agencies involved • make the best use of available resources by managing care of more people in a coordinated and cost-effective way - including pooling resources •
Key principles and ingredients of a successful partnership There are a number of key principles of partnership working. These are: • • •
openness, trust and honesty between partners agreed shared goals and values...