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PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE What makes them work? Lesley Cook Manager Research & Business Development Wesley Community Services ACWA.

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Presentation on theme: "PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE What makes them work? Lesley Cook Manager Research & Business Development Wesley Community Services ACWA."— Presentation transcript:

1 PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICE What makes them work? Lesley Cook Manager Research & Business Development Wesley Community Services ACWA Conference August 2006

2 Introduction Wesley Dalmar Partnerships for Early Intervention Programs:  Blacktown Baulkham Hills EIP Pilot  Nepean, Cumberland and Blacktown Family Choices EIP Consortia  Partner agencies include 1 Large Agency, 3 Local Governments, more than 30 Local Community Agencies and child care services Bridging the Gap; South Penrith Youth & Neighbourhood Service; Nepean Youth Accommodation Service; Werrington Community Project; Hawkesbury Right Connections; Blue Mountains Consortium; St Michael’s; Pendle Hill Crisis Centre; Parramatta Mission; Burnside; Spasifik; Junaya for Families

3 The Research Programme What: A descriptive study of 30 partnerships and partnership facilitators in the UK, US and Canada Questions: What makes partnership successful and when they are needed? A Broader View of Partnership We use the term partnership to encompass all of the types of collaboration that bring people and organizations together (Weiss et al, 2002)

4 1. Is Partnership the right approach for Early Intervention? 2. How do we manage for best outcomes in Partnership… and what would success look like? 3. Is Partnership going to work for small and local community organisations? Today’s Questions

5 Is Partnership the Right Approach for Early Intervention? “The acid test of joined up working has to be its impact on service-users; does it improve processes and outcomes for them?” (Research in Practice)

6 Rochester Early Enhancement Program Twelve health, education and community service agencies share expertise and administration and offer a single comprehensive, integrated, and intensive educational program delivered through in-home visits and at neighborhood centers and schools. Head Start A low - income targeted program that provides health and nutrition screening, education and intervention in the context of pre-school and child care. ‘High end’ partnership between HS and child care; blending funding sources, service delivery and standards compliance to increase capacity to provide comprehensive services to families Coram Family The Coram Community Campus is a partnership between the local authority, the health authority and six voluntary organisations providing a ‘one stop shop’ for families. Includes Adoption, Housing and Support Services, Parents Centre, Family Support Service, Disability services and Behaviour Management Examples that Work

7 A Conspiracy of Excellence Shared Information Systems change Creative Problem solving New initiatives and partnerships Capacity building Increased information & learning Leverage Political voice

8 Focus on Change  “The purpose of alliance is creative problem solving” (Collaboration Roundtable)  “Partnership challenges our ideas and fosters innovation”. (Coram Family Campus)  “Change doesn’t happen without struggle” (Head Start)  “Creative thinking generates change which will reshape partnership, therefore partnership is a continuous process of change and growth”  “Learning how to change has become a ‘core capacity’ of successful cross-sector collaboration”. (SCDC).

9 Enabling people to develop collective solutions to shared problems (Gilchrist, 2006) “A skilled and strategic way of working that helps people to work together to achieve change. Key tasks for community development work are to find connections, encourage positive interaction andovercome the obstacles that get in the way of collective and partnership working”. Extract from the UK Community Development Foundation’s policy statement ‘Community Cohesion and Community Community Development

10 Developing Partnership in Context There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach Partnership is an approach to be selected carefully for specific communities and issues.

11 Partnership in Context Time: Partnership takes longer than everyone thinks – even those who say it takes time! (NCVO) How long? 6–12 mths 3 years 10 years or more for planning to see results for community development Social Context: “A history of partnership working, a stablepolitical context, good geographical fit and good working relationships with partners”  Low level of resident mobility  Sense of community  Long term agency presence  Low staff turnover in all partner agencies

12  Choose a broad array of organisations with complimentary knowledge and skills.  “The only partnerships that were successful were those in which the partners were not in competition ”. (Collaboration Roundtable)  “The most effective partnership work happens in practice with service users” (Frost, 2005) Selecting the Right Partners

13 Funding & Partnership “We were all fine and dandy; we were friends and had relationships until you threw in the money” (Center for Collaborative Planning) Consortia are an emerging response to reduced and targeted funding. (NAVO) “Partnerships formed solely to secure funding tend to be poor in quality with a high probability of failure. (NCVO).

14 How do we manage for best outcomes? Balancing Business Efficiency and Participatory Community Development

15 “Managing life’s imperfections” (NAVO) Effective partnership requires the ability to chart a pathway between:  Shared vision and competing agendas  Risk management and high risk innovation  Trusting relationships and enduring conflict  Long term projects and short term gains  Informal communication and formal procedures  Cooperation and competition  Sharing information and individual confidentiality  Selectivity in engaging partners and inclusive community engagement

16 Activities in PartnershipActivities in Partnership  Planning  Policy and strategy development  Negotiation and liaison with partners and stakeholders  Project development  Evaluation  Performance management  Financial management  Data collection  Monitoring and evaluation  Learning  Data analysis  Communication and public engagement  Negotiation with stakeholders

17 Planning or Relational Organising? “Partnership is the art of managing relationships” (NCVO) “If you want to arrive at solutions that are real and lasting, you need to get there together” (Mattessich, 2003). Protocols should not be seen as a substitute for the effort needed to build trust (ODPM, 2006) “Risk management is destroying the culture of partnership. Partnerships are very risky… To make change requires you to take risks. Too much emphasis on risk management inhibits partnership”. (Collaboration Roundtable)

18 A Non Linear Process Relationship Building Problem Solving Capacity Building: New skills and infrastructure for new situations Implementation New Problem Identification Problem Identification

19 Practices for Success  Clear roles and lines of accountability  One common set of standards  Streamlined simple procedures  Regular cycle of review  Informal, flexible structures for meetings that encourage “constructive conversations”  Rigorous and transparent procedures for performance measurement Key = Revisit and Review

20 Partnerships as learning organisations “A barrier to partnership is that we don’t learn well.” (SCDC) The right first step in partnership: A collaboration which keeps contributing to practical, relevant learning will keep people engaged. The degree of comfort, understanding and ownership of a new project “cannot be instructed or mandated, it has to grow.” (Quality Assist) Moving from instructing people in solution models to facilitating the development of group knowledge and capacity (SCDC)

21 Leadership Leadership a different skill set to service management (Wilder)  Strategic thinking  Strategic planning  Strong relationship skills  Strong entrepreneurial skills  Network brokerage skills  Flexibility  Change management  Motivating  Convening meetings “nurturing, holding the partnership, keeping people focussed on the vision, knitting and repairing relationships (Wilder)

22 Looking for Tools that Work No Magic Formula Generic Tools:  Logic Models  Conflict Resolution  Participatory Planning Specific Partnership Tools  Partnership thinking  Partnership practices  Skills and knowledge for partnership  Partnership Agreements (MOUs)

23 Will it work for Small Agencies?

24 Large Agencies in Partnership “Better and embedded community connections for large organisations”  without having to establish new services  with immediate access to community knowledge and ‘hard to reach’ client groups through existing local services  with access to diverse expertise  making most effective use of the management capacity and infrastructure of the large organisation. (NCVO, 1+1=3 report)

25 Small Agencies in Partnership “Small agencies living at the margins - We are just like our clients, unreasonably pushed and stressed, lacking control but somehow still getting there” (HLG/NAVO) “Smaller organisations have a distinctive contribution to make that can most successfully be made if they are “at the table”. (Family Care in Families and Children’s Forum Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, September 2005) “ Partnering is an equalizing of power” (Center for Collaborative Planning) “Offer more and demand more”.

26 Capacity Building in Partnership Seeking capacity building resources from partners:  Mentoring  Shared ‘back office’ infrastructure  Financial support for participation in partnership management  Access to training and resources Third Party Technical Support an intermediary providing facilitation, mediation, training, capacity building and technical support.

27 Individual Building Blocks Shared Vision Shared Interest Individual Agenda Individual Agenda Individual Agenda There is no buck passing or conspiracy of failure. Identify individual agendas– both personal and organisational. “If this isn’t achieved the focus of partnership will be limited to identifying how existing agencies can fill service gaps without more creative responses to problem solving.”

28 Partnership is not THE answer – it is what happens in the partnership that matters. it is what happens in the partnership that matters. (SCDC) Conclusions

29 Outcomes of Partnership  Enhancing learning; the ability to adapt to change  Enabling agencies to implement ideas that are perceived to be beyond the reach of a single agency  Overcoming isolation, particularly for small agencies  Enabling more informed and contextual decision making by services and funding bodies  Developing integrated systems to improve access to services  Leverage, increasing the reach of projects

30 1.The importance and centrality of relationship building to partnership success 2.Inclusive practices that engage a broad range of partners in all aspects of decision making 3.The development of highly skilled and distinctive leadership and management capabilities 4.Access to skilled technical support from neutral ‘third party’ agencies to facilitate partnership and build capacity particularly for small agencies 5. Structures and practices that are flexible enough to respond and adapt effectively to change A Common Voice

31 ‘a group of interacting and interrelated parts that form a whole’ Relationships SynergyInclusion Leadership Support Neighbourhood Professions Political Organisations Target Groups Communication

32 “In considering whether we want to engage with the high costs and difficulties of partnership we should be clear about the alternative pathways. Not collaborating is fine while you are winning - If you are not winning, if you cannot do it by yourself, then collaboration may be the alternative to failure. Collaboration is not worth the effort for its own sake. It must contribute to desirable outcomes” Malka Kopell The Strategy of Choice?

33 Recommendations 1.Skill Development – building the leadership skills required for collaborative working. 2.On-going technical support – development of technical support services enabling small agencies to fully participate in partnership. 3.Partnership with funding bodies – developing approaches to funding that support the development of successful collaboration 4. Measuring the Outcomes – commitment to developing cycles of documentation and reflection to promote learning during the life of the partnership as well as after the event.

34 ‘Partnerships in Practice’ For a copy of the full report ‘Partnerships in Practice’ or for further information please contact: Lesley Cook Partners in Practice

35 High Performance in Partnership Stretch Trust Discipline Support Through creative problem solving, experimentation & reflective learning Through participation, sharing information, individual honesty, and short term achievement Through partnership agreements, processes, standards, performance measurement and regular meetings Through frequent communication, shared responsibility, capacity building and technical support


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