Establishing the partnership

A range of different partnership types exist, including informal networking and relationship building, and more formal partnerships that are established between organisations.

Children looking into the distance

The first step is to make contact with your proposed partners and understand if there are synergies between your objectives and the work of your partners. This should be a two-way process to establish that the partnership is mutually beneficial and feasible for both parties to enter into. You may decide through initial conversation that the partner isn’t the right one for your Local Drug Action Team. It’s good to identify several partnership options and explore which is best for you.

You can also consider if the partnership is for a defined part of your activity (such as access to your target audience) or for more ongoing aspects of your work. Try to be clear about your expectations so that the partner you approach can assess their capacity to be part of your activity.

Documenting the partnership agreement will formalise the partnership and help to create a positive environment for working together. Partnership agreements often specify the purpose, roles and responsibilities of the partnership, and ensure that everyone has a common understanding.

Partnership agreements can be formalised in different ways. Think about what the best approach is for your Local Drug Action Team.

For example:

  • Email confirmation
  • Letter of Agreement
  • Terms of Reference
  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Contract.

Taking action

Once you have identified your partners and established the partnership you are ready to plan and take action together.

Some partnerships may need structures put in place to support the partnership, such as:

  • Advisory Group
  • Working Group
  • Project team
  • Management team

Try to keep the administrative, communication and decision-making structure of the partnership as simple as possible.

Measuring the success of the partnership

Partnerships are dynamic and should be reviewed periodically to measure their success.

You can measure the success of your partnership in a number of ways, such as conducting a member survey or interviews.

When reflecting on the partnership, consider the outcomes of your collective work. Changes to partners’ confidence, and change within partner organisations, should be considered as a positive outcome.

Useful resources: