“The do’s and don’ts of working in partnership” Third Sector

Author's position
RVA Advice Worker
Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Due to limited funding, many organisations within the voluntary and community sector are now working in partnership with one another to deliver services. Yes this could be a challenge, but how can we as a sector rise to this challenge and continue to flourish in these uncertain post-Brexit times?

Benefits of partnership working:

There can be a sharing of skill sets, resources and networks, and of course bringing together organisations who have a common purpose.

Tips on getting it right in practice:

Start off on the right foot by giving some detailed thought to how you will work together.

Be very clear about roles and responsibilities, even if you think it’s pretty obvious, try to spell it out. Many problems arise from simple misunderstandings or misinterpretations from a conversation or email. Here are some typical things to think about (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • What is the service you are delivering and who will deliver what
  • How will this be supported
  • What administration is needed and by whom, what exactly falls within ‘administration’
  • How will you communicate any changes or updates with each other, is there a person who can act as the first point of contact
  • Have you prepared a budget and is this agreed
  • What monitoring reports are needed and when, how will you gather this information
  • …and of course the finer points about payment! When this will happen and is it dependent upon any conditions.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to think about all of this in advance and even have it drawn up in a Memorandum of Understanding or a more formal Partnership Agreement – documents that you can then refer to in the future in case there is any doubt. You can also include a clause allowing for variations by consent and how to deal with disputes should they arise. Remember, you may be working together for a number of years!

Advice from the Third Sector on the subject…

In a recent article by the Third Sector, 4 key ingredients were identified as key to long-term collaboration:

  1. Clarity about the agreement’s purpose from the outset
  2. The agreement should recognise everyone’s responsibilities.
  3. A recognition that fostering strong personal relationships between people in partner organisations is crucial to building understanding, communication and trust between the different parties.
  4. Each organisation must keep their specific mission in mind when developing collaboration.

You can read the full article Here – Third Sector (you will need to register to access the article)

If you are thinking of working with another organisation to deliver a service and want some advice on preparing a Memorandum of Understanding for working together, RVA can offer advice and assistance with drafting, so do get in touch.

Herjeet Randhawa
RVA Advice Worker