Developing services in partnership with other agencies
The new National Strategy for Carers (England Department of Health 2008) identifies that it is highly likely that providing care and support will be the responsibility of a number of agencies from both the statutory and independent sectors.
For example, health services will be involved in the healthcare needs of both the carer and the person they support, while the housing department may be involved where adaptations are needed to the home and social services could be involved for a range of other support services.
The starting point for partnership working is the multi-agency carers strategy, which every local authority should have in place and which should link strongly with all formal partnerships and recognise the place of informal partnerships.
Developing services for carers' informal networks is one of the best places to start; getting to know the key players in the area and building from there, is a very effective approach to joint working.
Formal partnerships have also have a key role to play, as they allow for a shared vision, monitoring and evaluation which are critical to continuous improvement.
Key principles: setting up structures that work well
- Agree a shared, clear vision that defines the purpose of the partnership
- Define the roles and responsibilities of each partner, bearing in mind that not all partners are equal
- Acknowledge the mix of different individual and organisational cultures
- Set up a structure for communication within and outside the partnership
- Obtain the appropriate level of support and commitment from each partner
- Determine what resources each partner has available for the partnership
- Design a monitoring plan
Scotland has the Concordant and Single Outcome Agreements, which mark a sizeable shift from national decision making to local decision-making.