Partnerships and networks in work with young people
Partnerships and networks in work with young people

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Partnerships and networks in work with young people

2.5 The benefits of working in partnership

A photograph of four people sitting round a table in a meeting room.
Figure 4

Partnership working is based on an assumption that ‘there are situations in which working alone is not sufficient to achieve the desired ends’ (Huxham, 1996, p. 3). We have already touched on some of the benefits that can come from working in partnership. We will now explore in a little more detail the benefits for organisations, for practitioners and for young people.

Activity 5: Thinking about the benefits of working together

Allow approximately 1 hour

Think about a partnership initiative that you have been involved in or are familiar with. In a table like Table 2 below, make notes in the right-hand column about the extent to which the potential benefits listed in the left-hand columns were achieved.

Table 2: Potential benefits of partnership

Potential benefit Was it achieved?
A spirit of competition was replaced by a spirit of cooperation.
It released synergy and provided ‘added value’ – achieving more than either party could have achieved alone or working separately.
It involved exchanging information and ideas, leading to improved decision making. It also helped to develop the knowledge and skills of different partners.
It allowed for efficient use of resources.
It provided a more holistic approach – partners were more able to provide support for the ‘whole young person’ rather than individual services addressing needs separately.
It helped to ‘build capacity’ in the community by involving young people in partnership decision making.

Finally, what other benefits do you think there might be from working with other people rather than on your own?

You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

Some partnerships are inevitably more successful than others. However, it is useful to recognise the benefits that do come from working with others, and perhaps reviewing your successes will have reminded you of what you have achieved.

In thinking about the other benefits of partnership working, you may also have identified the potential financial incentives to working in partnership with other organisations. You might have found that it helped you to bid for and to secure joint funding – demonstrating an ability to work in partnership is often one of the criteria for the allocation of funding.

At its best, partnership working can provide practitioners with new opportunities for learning, as they develop their understanding of the way in which different agencies and professionals work, the skills that each can offer and the different perspectives that they bring. It is not just about sharing knowledge and experience, but also about bouncing ideas off each other, which can help to spark new ideas.

In order to realise these benefits, though, Chauhan (2007) reminds us that:

… such an approach requires the strengths of individual agencies to be drawn upon, an expectation that there will be mutual respect among key partners and an acknowledgement that what is at stake is local democracy not just the financial interests of individual organisations.

(Chauhan, 2007, p. 241)

We have spent some time examining the benefits that come from working in partnership. We will now look at some of the challenges and dilemmas it can present.

E218_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus