Legally, a partnership is an arrangement entered into under the Partnership Act and is heavily regulated as to the responsibilities of partners. The majority of arrangements entered into by the Council are more correctly known as ‘partnering arrangements’. We enter into a partnership when we agree with one or more independent bodies to work collectively to achieve a shared objective. These partner agencies could be anything from a government department to a public, private, community and voluntary sector body. In other words, we may have to enter into partnering arrangements because of legislation or statutory requirements (sometimes with partners picked for us as in the case of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership) or we can have the choice to do so only if we wish and are able to choose who it is best to work with to achieve our priorities.
We do not include in this definition organisations that are providing a service to us as a result of a formal tendering exercise e.g. refuse collection or grounds maintenance contract. Although partnering principles in contracting have shown improvement in service provision in this area, this is a contractor / client relationship. Nor do we include organisations who are grant recipients, or who have been commissioned to deliver services. Though they may also be partners, this is a different relationship.
This flowchart (PDF, 24KB) helps to determine whether a partnership falls within this definition.
The Council monitors and manages those partnerships regarded as significant through the ‘Significant Partnerships Register’. These are the partnerships that we consider key to delivering the Sustainable Community Strategy or Corporate Plan priorities or those we need to engage with to influence national or regional thinking with regard to the way public services are delivered. They may exhibit one or all of the following features:-
- They are engaged in delivering a major service. Our representatives at partnership meetings are at a senior level (e.g. those allocated at Audit and Governance Committee or involving the Leader or Chief Executive);
- We contribute significant funding or other resource;
- Receives an annual grant of £100,000 or more;
- The partnership represents a high risk should it fail (including representational risk to the Council);
- The partnership is a statutory requirement or is needed to discharge a statutory duty e.g. Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.
The register of Significant Partnerships is maintained by the Council’s Partnerships & Area Working team and is reviewed annually. Directors will be responsible for notifying the Partnerships team of existing and new significant partnerships as soon as they are agreed so that the register is up to date. The register should include resources at the disposal of the partnership. A Partnerships Scorecard (PDF, 31KB) collects the information for the register.