By Ros Harrison, Geoffrey Mann, Michael Murphy, Alan Taylor and Neil Thompson.
Russell House Publishing
With partnership working the basis of much public sector delivery, how refreshing to read a book that goes beyond the rhetoric and addresses some of the problems which can accompany it.
It recognises that partnerships take time, energy and resources to sustain, can be a vehicle for lowest common denominator compromises that avoid difficult decisions, can conceal continuing competitiveness and defensiveness, and can be dominated by the culture of the largest agency.
This collaborative work is based on very diverse experiences. It practises what it preaches in using the diversity as a strength with case studies from different contexts. It recognises, too, the importance of ritual in celebrating the engagement of the partners, the successes of the partnership, and of appropriate endings.
Whether working in a partnership under the Health Act 1999, representing an agency on a Sure Start or neighbourhood renewal partnership, or putting together a network, this book will be of practical help. Best of all it will help partners to work out what they want to achieve from a partnership and how best to overcome obstacles. More can be achieved by working together than by working alone.
Terry Bamford is a member of the General Social Care Council.