1. Identify the key features of effective partnership working A large body of experience and research provides clear evidence about many of the key determinants of successful partnerships. The focus is to achieve better outcomes through improved service delivery. Partnership working has come a long way in recent years. There is now a consensus that effective partnership working is essential in order to design, develop and deliver personal services for those requiring support and assistance to optimise their independence and happiness. The most important features of an effective partnership are engaging the right people and ensuring they function as a genuine team. To achieve this requires:
➢ A balanced team: Partnerships need to consist of a balanced team involving all relevant bodies. The team needs to have good leaders who can understand the complexities of group working, build up motivation and trust, and resolve conflicts between members when they arise. The team needs to have both senior people, who have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their organisations, and innovative people, who have the experience to develop new solutions to a range of problems. ➢ Trust: Before people are prepared to implement the partnership’s decisions in their own organisations, they need a high level of trust in each other and hence confidence in the collective decisions they take. Both personal and professional trust and mutual respect are factors in inter professional working. ➢ Motivation: To ask people and organisations to work in partnership is to ask them to adopt new ways of working and to accept a degree of collective control over their activities. To do this, people need to be motivated by a common vision in which they all believe and a confidence in their collective ability to achieve it. ➢ Conflict resolution mechanisms: Bringing people together in partnership, often with divergent views on issues, leads to conflicts within the group. These need to be faced by the partnership and overcome through conflict resolution mechanisms. Resolving conflict within the partnership helps build trust and motivation within the team. ➢ Collaboration: The ability to work collaboratively and take collective responsibility for decisions reached is vital for effective partnership working. This requires that everyone’s view is respected, and included in transparent and open discussion. ➢ Clarity of objectives and responsibilities: If the people working in partnership are to be well motivated and able to work well together, they need to be clear about what they are trying to achieve, how they are going to achieve it and where their individual and group accountabilities and responsibilities lie. ➢ Appropriate funding: Funding for partnerships needs to be pursuant to the task. Partnerships need long-term funding in order to deal with long-term issues. Funding for partnerships also needs to be simple to access and, where possible, be delivered by a single strand of government. ➢ Room for manoeuvre: The organisations that make up the partnerships, particularly public sector bodies, need sufficient freedoms and flexibilities, for example in the use of budgets, in order to contribute effectively to the partnership.
The aims of partnership working are to:
➢ facilitate a co-ordinated service;
➢ identify and respond to gaps in provision;
➢ ensure the best use of resources by reducing duplication and achieving greater economies of scale; and ➢ enable service providers to be more responsive to the needs and views of users and their families.
To ensure effective partnership working across agencies I would encourage the staff that I manage to:
➢ Be aware of who the key contacts are within relevant agencies ➢ To develop strong partnership links with relevant agencies and within the community ➢ Be knowledgeable and well informed about the...