1: Decide purpose: all partners need to know what the vision, aims, purpose of the partnership will be. This should not be assumed, but made explicit
2: Decide roles and responsibilities: each partner needs to know what is expected of them, and what they can expect of other partners. This includes resources, including staff time. The use of the RACI model can be helpful here (for details of the RACI Model, leave a request plus contact details in the comment box below)
3: Identify constraints: what is going to get in the way of the partnership – or any of its partners – working effectively together? Be realistic, and identify ways in which you can overcome these constraints
4: Type of partnership: decide on the type of partnership you want to have – this can range from a fully formal arrangement, to one that is much looser. Do all partners have an equal footing?
5: Governance: you will need to clarify governance arrangements, especially in a more formal arrangement. Who is specifically responsible and accountable for what, legally – especially if the partnership runs into any difficulty, or needs to be wound up
6: Key processes: it will be helpful to agree some key processes, such as decision making and dispute resolution. These should be agreed at an early stage, before the need for such processes arises
7: Shared values: partnerships work best when there are not only common goals, but common values. These should not be imposed on the partnership by any one partner, but rather agreed at an early meeting, from a blank sheet of paper
8: Success factors: the partnership should establish, at an early stage, what is going to constitute success, and how ‘success’ will be measured
9: Ensure internal obstacles are cleared: oten difficulties occur not within the partnership, but within the host organisation. The partner member is willing to attend, for example, but their host organisation won’t release them due to commitments/priorities ‘back at base’. All host organisations need to be fully committed to prioritising the release of their partnership representatives
10: Early wins: partnerships can add costs, rather than add value. To convince people that it is worth these additional costs, some early wins are vital. Plan for these.
A fuller version of these notes is available, on request. If you’d like a copy, please leave a note in the box below, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org