INTRODUCTION Working partnership is a team of two or more individuals
Working partnership is a team of two or more individuals, agencies or organisations who come together to work for common goals and are equally responsible for the success or the failure of the common objectives. In the field of health, working partnership ensures that the organization and the people working in the health and social care centre have common goals and they both approach their goals with equal sense of responsibility and determination.
1.1 The philosophy of working in partnership in health and social care is sharing. According to “Scie.org.uk”, the essence of partnership is sharing. It is marked by respect for one another, role divisions, and rights to information, accountability, competence, and value accorded to individual input. In short, each partner is seen having something to contribute, power is shared, decisions are made jointly and roles are not only respected but also backed by legal and moral rights” (citing Jo Tunnard, 1991).
Working in partnership is a key element of practice within health and social care. It is a concept of power sharing, empowerment, consultation and joint ways of working are essential for effective service provision. Health and social care professionals need to understand the importance of promoting autonomy with individuals. They also need to be aware of their own roles and responsibilities and how they relate to others within the sector. Health and social care professionals have an essential role among the partnership workers as each level and different professional group depends on some kind of activity that is related with performance of a group. In order to achieve a co-ordinated service partners need to communicate, co-ordinate and co-operate.
I.2 Good partnership running has to be based on: – open and truthful contact; – Admiration for the understanding and awareness of the human being regarding their circumstances
and likings for care; – selection, equality, frankness, belief and sympathy, – successful and available peer bearing.
Generally speaking, providers of health and social care services should focus on effective delivery of high quality services rather than organizational benefits reaped from working in
partnerships. According to Sullivan, H. and Skelcher, C. (2002): there are a few developments in partnership working in health and social care such as community care act, national health services, children act etc. For example, referred to Emerson et al (2012), in 2012 a young man called Richard with learning disabilities died very suddenly as a result of unmanaged constipation. It is clear that Richard’s death resulted from multiple service failings, a lack of partnership working and information sharing, and a lack of understanding about the need to consider basic health issues. There is too often a diffusion of responsibility, wherein staffs in various roles think ‘physical health’ is someone else’. In my opinion, partnership relations between industry players in health and social care sectors have not been very strong; another example is most elderly people and persons with disabilities have not been able to have adequate access to the services offered by healthcare and social-care service providers. Keith Taylor (2009) also assert that most people who are old as well as persons with disabilities have been discriminated against in certain services; for instance such persons are not given chances to make decisions regarding their health and various forms of treatment that they may receive like surgeries and operations. Keith Taylor (2009) determines that the ability of refugees and asylum seekers to access medical services in public hospitals revealed there are certain bureaucracies that aim at discouraging an admission of such patients into public hospitals.
2.1 There are four main models that are used in partnership working across health and social care sectors, which are:
-The Networking Model is the simplest model of partnership where organisations meet up regularly to share their practice and discuss areas of commonality. “There is no commitment
in going further unless two or more organisations decide to do so. The purpose is for organisations to be able to take up opportunities that may arise, such as funding or delivering specific services to clients, without having to repeat niceties of getting to know each other.”
-The Referral Systems model is a partnership that’s set up for the specific purpose of enabling inter-organisational referrals. “Organisations agree on processes to share information and refer clients to the other agency. There may be a written agreement although it would be more usual to just agree on a procedure and forms to use. The purpose is for the referral of clients to be as smooth as possible and save extra time in repeating the gathering of information.”
-The Consortium Model is a partnership set up for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as jointly bidding for resources or joining forces to act as a pressure group. “There may be a written agreement, such as a financial contract if a funding bid is successful or terms of reference for a pressure group. The purpose is to act together, believing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and will garner more success.”
-The Multi-Agency Working Model is one where two or more organisations share resources to deliver work jointly. Partnerships based on this model need to be clearly planned, and relationships have to be carefully managed to ensure success. “A level of trust needs to be built between individuals in the partner organisations for this to work. Organisations would normally draw up a partnership agreement of some description to clarify the relationship. The purpose is to work together believing that this will achieve more effective results than working separately.”
2.2 The legislations in the health and social care have the set of the rules and regulations that are designed by the government to protect or secure the patient and the employees who are working in the organisation that belong to the health and social care industry. The Health, Social Care and Well-Being Regulations of 2003 also authorize local authorities to formulate and implement various strategies and policies that aim at improving the quality of health and social care services.
The Community Care Act of 1990 and Health Act of 1999 regulate the provision of health and social care services. They advocate for mutual benefit of organizations involved in partnership working in the health and social care sectors.
Equality Act 2010 is the regulation that to put off diverse kinds of favouritism, for example direct and indirect favouritism, ill-treatment and persecution.
Care Standards Act 2000 (CSA) provides for the administration a range of care associations, together with children’s dwellings, self-governing hospitals, and nursing homes and residential care homes. The CSA restores the Registered Homes Act 1984 and parts of the Children Act 1989, which relate to the care or the lodging of kids.
Mental capacity act 2005: empowers those people who are not able to make the plan or take the decision for them and also make the plan on behalf of them to raise the standard of their life. According to the act, everybody has a right to take the decision on their life to stay happy. The professional agencies such as mental health services, local authorities, social services, police and the family members all need to assess the mental capacity of the individual before the decision making of the other party that affects the life of the individual. All associated agencies need to work properly who affect the service user to raise the standard of service user’s life (Community Care, 2010). Subsequent to a government conference exercise, a National Strategic Partnership Forum (NSPF) was formed to evaluate the development of the Strategic contract among the Department of Health, the NHS and the voluntary segment.
2.3 Differences in working practices and policies affect collaborative working. The application by each organization of its own policy in the accomplishment of the common objectives of the partnership can lead to differences in working practices. If at the beginning of partnership the organizations which put themselves or who want to work together did not agree on the common methods to apply, this means that the aim of the partnership has not been clearly agreed and understood by all partners, differences in working practices and policies with times will result in a number of inter-organizational conflicts. The recruitment of new employees can emerge in difference if it has been done in basis of culture and ethics applied in each original organisation without recognition of different organisational cultures within the partnership. That is a serious difference to avoid because differences in employment policies can lead to recruitment of inappropriate staff members and an unclear definition of roles and responsibilities for members of the steering group. Generally, differences not settled between in partners can hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering heath and social care services to the users. As stated earlier, communication is the fundamental platform upon which the partnership interaction takes place. Poor communication has always a negative impact over the functioning of the partnership at various levels: role of each partner is not well identified to others or partners do not feel a supportive working atmosphere, and conflicts addressed.
3.1 These are some possible outcomes of partnership working;
-For Service User: Partnership working ultimately improves the quality of services being provided to local people by improving service delivery through better coordination. Service users recognise that the effectiveness of staff members is enhanced by working in partnership. Working in partnership increased the long term availability to the staff members and hence the quality of the services improved as the workers are well versed with the style of working.
-For Professionals: Working in partnership has a positive effect on professionals by developing strategies that will help them overcome local challenges that may hinder a more collaborative business model and gain a better understanding of different organizational perspectives. As Gilmore et al. (2011) pointed out, communication between professionals will eliminate complex cross-cutting issues and therefore they will be able to do the job much better.
-For organizations: Leathard (2007) also pointed out that different organisations that come together or that seek to work collaboratively must build an approach of mutual altruism, mutual concern, unselfishness and an eagerness to work tirelessly at developing cross-organisational or cross-boundary relationships that are characterised by a strong sense of mutual support, belonging, appreciation and trust.
3.2 There are many barriers faced by organizations working as partners in health and social care sectors include political influence, lack of adequate finances or funding for proper management and coordination of activities, and other organizational specific weaknesses such as rigid or inflexible organizational culture and bureaucracy. In this work I can point out the reluctance to share information and data with others partners or a reduced commitment towards the achievement of set goals and objectives can lead to poor or underperformance; for instance, a social care centre that provides home for elderly people may not fully achieve its goals due to reluctance to admit new elderly people as a result of increased cost of living as well as increasing in number of aging population. Reluctance to share information, ideas, knowledge and skills, as well as other resources that are essential to achieving the goals and objectives, goes against the objectives of an effective partnership. This usually results into poor coordination and cooperation between the organizations. The development of misconceptions and biases against other organizations has been leaded by most organizations in working partnerships that suffered from lack of adequate understanding between partners.
According to Helen Dickinson, Janine O’Flynn (2008) conflicts are likely to occur when partnering organizations do not develop clear organizational boundaries or appropriately assign duties and responsibilities to each other. For instance, conflicts of interest between a private hospital and a non-governmental organization are likely to occur if the partnering organizations do not clearly lay down responsibilities of each partner.
3.3 To improve outcomes for partnership working in health and social care services, successful integration requires leaders to find ways of blurring boundaries between pre-existing organisations. It is wise that providers of health and social care services also pool together their resources and carry out joint trainings for their staff members. That means firstly, continually identifying, communicating and valuing progress towards achieving shared goals (with outcomes particularly focused on patient care, rather than on less inspiring outcomes such as productivity, cost effectiveness and efficiency). Secondly, it is vital that frequent and sustained contact between key individuals and groups from the merging organisations be effective to avoid cross-boundary relationship conflicts because of clashes of values, working methods, identities, territories and inter-group prejudice. It is also essential that frequent and sustained contacts between key individuals and groups in the merged organizations be effective in avoiding cross-border relational conflicts due to conflicts of values, working methods, identities, territories and inter-group bias. Any identified problem must be resolved quickly in a transparent and creative manner in the best interest of patient care and all those involved. Trust between partners is built through authenticity, openness, fairness and commitment in the process of conflict resolution.
Paraphrasing Nicolas Bacon & Peter Samuel (2012) who pointed out that working partner should also lay down clear strategies, procedures, policies, related protocols, and systems for sharing of information, ideas, knowledge, and skills amongst them. It is important that any information that it deems crucial and important for achievement of partnership goals and objectives should not be hide between partners. Another important fact, at least but not the last, is that the different organisations that come together or that seek to work collaboratively must build an approach of mutual altruism, mutual concern, unselfishness and an eagerness to work tirelessly at developing cross-organisational or cross-boundary relationships that are characterised by a strong sense of mutual support, belonging, appreciation and trust: “Good ideas on paper are one thing; the realities of human behaviour are quite another and we can and must adapt our good ideas to take account of