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Partnership working and collaborative gain

In many Community Planning Partnership (CPP) areas, the recent introduction of Single Outcomes Agreements(SOAs) has had a positive catalytic effect, providing a new focus and serving to reinvigorate partnership working. A successful Outcomes Focused Partnership should aim to have the following…

  • A clear, shared vision concerning the priority outcomes sought by the partnership
  • Strong and effective leadership
  • A clear understanding of the 'value added' sought through a partnership approach
  • The necessary 'architecture' in place that will provide the right structure and culture for effective partnership working
  • An agreed and achievable action plan, which clarifies responsibility & accountability for delivering the desired outcomes
  • A partnership performance management framework which regularly assesses progress towards the achievement of agreed outcomes

Focusing upon shared priority outcomes, many CPPs are beginning to assess the 'fitness for purpose' of traditional partnership structures. Increasingly, there is recognition of the requirement to focus on customer needs, the ways in which organisations work together, the need for more integrated approaches to achieving outcomes and potential new models of governance, emphasising shared accountability.

This can be characterised by a move from…

Self sufficiency ► Interdependency Fragmented approaches ► Integrated approaches Service focused ► Outcome focused Discrete accountability ► Mutual accountability Agency focused ► Customer focused

Collaborative Gain

'Collaborative Gain' describes a situation where partnership working brings about added value benefits, which could not have been achieved by the individual partner organisations operating on their own. In short, it is about achieving 'more than the sum of the parts'. Collaborative gain can take many forms, for example, an employability service partnering with a local nursery to market its services may increase the number of potential returners to the labour market. For collaborative gain to be effective the following points should be taken into account…

  • Collaborative gain needs to be clear and specific - clarity is required on precisely what gain is desired and how it is likely to come about.
  • Any anticipated 'gain' to be achieved requires to outweigh the costs associated with partnership working (eg. administrative, legal or opportunity costs).
  • Gain rarely happens by chance - it requires to be planned for, designed in and monitored to ensure it is actually being achieved.

On this page you can also access a document on partnership working and collaborative gain authored by the Improvement Service as well as a partnership checklist tool to help objectively determine whether your partnership is fit for purpose.