Partnering in Anglicare - The Story
In May 2015 AnglicareSA sought to build their internal partnering capability and engaged DIXON Partnering Solutions to implement a Stronger Partners™ Program within their organisation.
At the time AnglicareSA were involved in many types of collaborative and partnering arrangements, however, there was no consistency of approach or a common language internally around partnering. There were also many different types of agreements being developed and generally no clear guidelines on just when to partner, who to partner with and how to go about partnering to achieve the desired impact.
The program was implemented during 2015 and 2016 and resulted in a Partnering Framework being developed for AnglicareSA. Underpinning this framework, is a series of tools, guidelines and partnering skills training for staff that have been rolled out across the organisation and now provides the foundation for how AnglicareSA partners with others.
The process started in May 2015 when a small cross organisation group was formed to look at the different types of partnering that Anglicare was involved in at that time and to develop a vision for partnering within Anglicare.
A large part of these early meetings was spent mapping the existing partnering relationships to determine just what types of partnering were taking place, who was involved and how these could be described. The result was the development of a tailored partnering continuum for AnglicareSA as shown below.
Networking – Sharing and gaining knowledge and information through mutual communication that benefits all parties
Cooperation – Working together on specific projects and activities
Collaboration – There is shared intent to deliver outcomes and to build capacity
Creative Partnering – This is a longer-term relationship based on mutual trust to achieve agreed outcomes through a more integrated approach
This continuum was then tested over several months to check how it worked in practice as a tool for identifying the type of partnering that was needed and what business processes were required to support each type of partnering.
One of the early challenges for the group was to develop some common language around partnering as they found that even with a small group of people involved there was a wide diversity of views and understanding around partnering.
Once there was some agreement with the small group around the continuum and some common language, work commenced on developing a Partnering Framework for the whole organisation which could act as a foundation for how partnering was to be undertaken.
This Partnering Framework includes topics such as:
- Why partner? Our unique value proposition
- Our Partnering Strategy and Objectives
- Who we partner with
- The different ways we partner – The AnglicareSA Partnering Continuum
- How we will go about partnering with others
- The support we will provide to those partnering
- The documentation we need
- Tools & Resources
A key part of this framework was to establish a Partnering Task Group that would meet quarterly to review progress with implementing the Stronger Partners Program.
Embedding the Approach Across AnglicareSA
During the development of the partnering continuum and framework documents many staff were involved beyond the small cross organisation group to test the language and practical application of what was being proposed.
Once the documents were reaching final stages awareness training sessions were held with staff from across the organisation to brief them in the initiative and key elements of the approach.
Following these awareness sessions, we conducted a 2- Day Partnering Essentials™ program to provide a foundation level of partnering skills for key staff. To support staff in their daily work around partnering a number of tools and resources were established on the central online database. These provided guidance in areas such as: Coordination Responsibility; Training, Governance, Evaluation and Documentation.
In addition key staff have also attended a Partnership Brokers Level 1 Training to continue to build some high level internal partnering capability for dealing with extremely complex cross sector partnering initiatives and to support and mentor other staff within AnglicareSA.