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Partnerships and collaboration

The nature and type of partnership working in community action projects is wide-ranging: no single approach is appropriate for all.

However, there are some guiding principles and issues to consider when planning new initiatives:

  • Be open to exploring new partnerships, particularly with community and voluntary sector organisations, as well as statutory/public sector partners.
  • Invest time in building these partnerships and testing joint working opportunities before launching into larger-scale projects.
  • Ensure appropriate due diligence is carried out in line with the scale of the project and the risk (seek advice from your council's finance/legal experts or use tools such as those published by the Charity Commission).
  • Use community action investment to stimulate new partnerships and collaboration within the market – this is likely to lead to longer-term and more sustainable solutions.  
  • Ensure that partners are actively engaged in the governance, planning and monitoring arrangements and are able to take accountability for delivery.

Questions for developing strong partnerships and collaborative working

  1. Which external partners need to be engaged?
  2. What role do these other stakeholders have in the project – for example joint funding, commissioning or delivery, or monitoring and evaluation?
  3. Will the partners form part of the governance arrangements? If so, how?
  4. How will the partners be engaged in the project on a day-to-day basis – communication channels, formal groups, workshops?
  5. How regularly do discussions with partners need to take place?
  6. Does the partnership align clearly with the vision and objectives of the council?

Resources and links