E-K of partnerships
This is one section of an A-Z of partnerships that is part of a larger guide
Who could possibly oppose a partnership dedicated to the regeneration of a local area, particularly if it has 'community' and 'Trust' in its title? Plenty of people, and sometime with good reason &endash; at least from their point of view. For example:
These fears can crystalise into powerful antagonisms unless potential enemies as well as allies &endash; all the stakeholders &endash; are involved in the process of creating a Trust. Criticisms and challenges can also be useful spurs to keep revisiting the fundamental question: who is it for?
Partnerships are built as much through the relationships of people as formal structures &endash; and the way to build relationships is by bringing people together. Events are the milestones in the process of creating a partnership &endash; whether formal events like steering group and Board meetings, presentations or launches, or informal events like breakfast briefings, lunches or socials.
See also the Events information sheet
Partnerships are created from interests who may have different styles and expectations, and in the early stages will usually benefit from having a facilitator to break the ice, make sure everyone has a chance to speak, focus discussion and help with problem solving.
It may be necessary to engage a professional facilitator or a trainer with these skills. If the facilitator is someone with specialist knowledge of Development Trusts, make sure he or she is clear at any point which 'hat' they are wearing &endash; specialist adviser or neutral adviser.
One way to plan the start up process for an incorporated partnership like a Development Trust, and resolve many of the issues, is to carry out or commission a formal feasibility study. This may well be appropriate when creation of a Trust depends on making a bid to one or more funders.
Elements of feasibility
The eventual feasibility of a Development Trust depends on a number of key factors which correspond to areas of good practice or competence.
The information sheet on Competence provides more detailed checklists.
Any feasibility work should, therefore, aim to answer the question: How can we create a competent development Trust?
See also Feasibility study information sheet.
One of the key areas of management competence for Development Trusts, involving:
See also Asset base, Business management, Financial sustainability information sheet
Whatever you are planning to do five Ws provide a simple checklist to help you think of the issues:
H stands for How, which you need to consider after running through the Ws.
See also Action plans.
One of the strengths of development trusts &endash; if well conceived &endash; is their ability to raise funds and help in kind from different sources, and 'package' them to maintain the Trust and carry out projects. However, merely forming the Trust will not ensure that the funds flow. There is no special pot of gold for trusts.
In planning any fundraising consider:
See also Bid document information sheet
One of the key areas of competence for a Development Trust, with particular relevance to the Board of directors. Governance covers maintaining a clear set of aims and objectives based on the beneficiaries, monitoring the performance of the Trust, appointing the executive director, and maintaining relationships with other partners.
See also the Governance information sheet.
Early in the formation of a partnership people may be unsure of how to conduct meetings, who is responsible for what, and how to relate to outside bodies. It is usually helpful &endash; perhaps with the aid of a facilitator &endash; to draw up a set of basic groundrules.
Setting ground rules
Having clearly set rules of operation will facilitate communication and give members trust in the partnership. It is preferable to put operating procedures in writing and have all members ratify them. Make sure that the rules and procedures developed by the group promote shared ownership in the process and its outcomes. Develop mechanisms that will include all stakeholders, not just recognized leaders.
Discuss and agree upon rules for the following topics:
From The Partnerships Handbook
Development trusts are organisations with a value base &endash; they are based on principles as well as guidelines for good practice. In order to create some 'fixes' in the process of creating a Trust, and to establish some of these values, it is important to define and agree guidelines and principles among the partners. They might include:
Working through the implications of these guidelines and principles will bring out some of the tensions trusts must deal with in being both a business and an agent of social change.
See also the Guidelines information sheet.
Corporate identity is the way everything about an organisation looks and sounds, from the letterhead to the way staff answer the telephone. It is an important issue for a partnership because:
See also the Material information sheet
Partnerships undertaking any significant activities should check their requirements for insurance. For example:
Consult another voluntary organisation or an insurance broker, and assign responsibility for maintaining cover. See the book Voluntary but not Amateur.