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Why collaboration is essential for successful service delivery in the charity sector

27th Jun 2017

Collaboration between private organisations is widespread, yet the same cannot be said for those in the charity sector, despite The Foundation for Social Improvement [1] citing meaningful collaboration as a powerful tool for small charities pursuing growth, sustainability and efficiency.

Lack of proactive relationship building with other charities and statutory organisations is holding the third sector back.  Why wait for a contract to go out to tender to start looking for partnerships, when conversations to explore areas of synergy and potential joint working could be had proactively?  By taking this approach more frequently, our sector would be better equipped to meet the needs of children, young people and families. It will help us to develop new skills, build capacity and reduce duplication; ensuring we improve outcomes for the stakeholders we work with.

NYAS believe collaboration is essential to enable us to develop our expertise, improve our reach and increase our capacity – so we can effectively meet the needs of those who need our services. We recognise the need to share skills, knowledge and expertise to build greater relationships across the sector, particularly in the field of children’s rights.

A partnered approach has led us to work with a specialist provider of adult advocacy services to fulfill an integrated advocacy contract for children and adults in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  This relationship offers additional value as we provide a coordinated and joined up approach to supporting local people – examples including, working together when young people transition into adult services or signposting parents to specialist adult advocacy support.

Another example of needs-led partnerships relates to the growing number of combined services contracts such as Child Sexual Exploitation services and return interviews.  While conducting return interviews and listening to the wishes and feelings of children and young people is one of NYAS’ specialisms, we welcome partners with expertise in working intensively with children at risk of sexual exploitation. As well as enabling us to deliver the contract to a high standard, these partnerships will cultivate strong working relationships between organisations to mutually support vulnerable children, young people and adults.

Effective partnership can also be about finding the capacity to deliver a contract. Our recent relationship with POhWER for the Priory Advocacy contract is testament to this.  By joining forces, we have enabled capacity to deliver across England, Wales and in Scotland. This allows us to offer the best service for Priory Advocacy users while also strengthening our geographic footprint, forging new contacts and developing new skills.

We know first-hand that collaboration helps to make small charities like NYAS stronger: it makes us more efficient, sustainable and relevant; it improves our collective knowledge and insight; it reminds us of our shared values and it puts the spotlight on the work we do – all of which helps to support the continued and successful delivery of services for the benefit of children, young people and families.

So, whether it’s small charities working together to extend their reach through a joint venture or organisations coming together to access specialist expertise in a strategic alliance, it is partnerships that will allow our sector to achieve more than the sum of its parts.

If your charity or statutory organisation is interested in exploring opportunities for joint working please do get in touch.  We are actively looking to extend our links with charities and organisations focused on children’s rights, mental health, advocacy, volunteering, contact centres and supervised contact, across the UK.

For more information please contact Michelle Vaughan, Business Development Manager at NYAS, on 07435 967 406 or email michelle.vaughan@nyas.net

[1] http://www.thefsi.org/policyresearch/index-trends-data/2014/

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