Work with community partners to prevent and minimise AOD-related harms in your local community. Strong partnerships are critical to addressing the complex causes of AOD use.
It is important that your partners have a shared understanding of, and commitment to, community- led action. They may not have experience or understanding of alcohol and other drug issues but they can bring other skills and experience that help you deliver your activity in the local community.
You must be willing to partner with other organisations to form a Local Drug Action Team. We recommend a maximum of 5–7 partners, including the organisations represented in your Local Drug Action Team. Having too many partners can make it difficult to align expectations and contributions.
A list of potential partners is included in Table 1. To identify partners for your project you may find it useful to use the list to brainstorm how your approach (e.g. issue, target audience, activity) might overlap with the interests or focus of others, and how you might harness those opportunities. You may think of other worthwhile contacts to add to this list.
|Young people||• Local high school SRC representatives • TAFE• Universities• Youth workers• School principals• Student services consultants (counsellors)• Community sporting clubs • Youth employment organisations • Community arts organisations (e.g. music, dance, drama)|
|Health||• Primary health networks • Community health, primary care partnership and community agencies• Hep C Council• Aids Council• Drug and alcohol services• Mental health services• Pharmacies• Needle syringe programs• Area Health Services|
|Groups that represent priority target groups||• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and peak bodies • Cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse and Intersex (LGBTI) representative groups • Disability support organisations • Organisations that support regional and remote communities|
|Older people||• Senior Citizens groups • Men’s Shed • Salvation Army • Rotary Club• Lions Club • Neighbourhood Houses/Centres|
|Police||• Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) • Youth Liaison Officer• Community Engagement Officer• Local area commander|
|Corrective Services||• Parole officers • Juvenile Justice• Justice Department|
|Local government||• Mayor • Youth Development Officers• Crime Prevention Officers• Safety Officers• Community Services Officers|
|Other||• Local businesses • Chamber of Commerce• Local church groups• School Parent Associations • Neighbourhood Centres/Houses• Welfare groups|
|Volunteer organisations||• Apex • Youth organisations• Community Housing associations• Salvation Army • Mission Australia|
|Government agencies||• Department of Sport and Recreation • Department of Community Services• Department of Housing• Department of Education• Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR – Liquor Accords)• Centrelink and employment agencies|
Organisations are encouraged to think creatively about partnerships, particularly organisations in regional, rural and remote communities that may have limited options:
Health centres, schools, universities, and local councils are often obvious choices for Local Drug Action Team partnerships but looking beyond the traditional partners is beneficial and allows for a broader cross-section of the community to be represented. For example, the local Chamber of Commerce can provide great insight into employment opportunities in the region to support those at risk of alcohol and other drug-related harms. The Police and Citizen Associations are often well placed to support community minded prevention activities.
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.
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:
Try to keep the administrative, communication and decision-making structure of the partnership as simple as possible.
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.