Forming, maintaining & evaluating partnerships

Multi-sector partnerships are hard work. One of the key contributions of BPD has been to create the space in which more fruitful negotiations around partner contributions, roles, responsibilities and rewards can take place.


Sadly, many partnerships rush the process of formation. As a result, some of the hard negotiation about what it really means to work in partnership is bypassed. Partners often fail to make a good case internally for the new partnership approach.  Both may lead to problems in the future.


BPD has developed a variety of guidance and advice that can help partners plan and negotiate their partnerships with more rigour, leading to fewer missed opportunities, more flexibility when needed and better structures where it counts. 


As contexts change, partnerships need to change too. We look at practical steps that partners can take to maintain and improve existing partnerships.  Evaluating partnership approaches is far from straightforward and finding a meaningful way to analyse the benefits and drawbacks can be frustrating.  BPD has had some success in helping others in this.  Advice on both arenas can be found below.


Key BPD documents

Flexibility by design: summary | full report 

Six key tenets for building and managing better multi-sector partnerships.

Creating space for innovation: summary full report

Factors that influence the success or failure of partnerships. Includes a useful mapping tool. 

The partnership paperchase: summary full report 

An outline of what you find in truly successful partnership agreements.

Conceiving and managing partnerships

A short overview of the lifecycle of multi-sector partnerships, based on broad experience.

Plotting partnerships 

Partners are often torn between various goals. Tensions exist between delivering services and informing policy; between regulating delivery and stimulating innovation. By plotting their course, partners can focus their energies and maintain a sensible balance.

Partnership accountability

Partners are accountable to each other and the outside world in three main ways.  Find out here what compliance, transparency and responsiveness look through a partnership lens.