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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

Creating Partnerships Within and Between Extension and Community Organisations.

Name of Leader:

Katie Bowman

Names of Participants:

David J Hickey, Stephanie Andreata, Lynnette Pirie, Warren Vaschina, Trish Cameron, Nigel Gallas, Joy Deguara and Laurie Lumsden.

Main points of discussion

Discussion initially opened with the topic of the processes that exist for managing partnerships. One process mentioned formed a paper at the recent SEGIRA (Sustainable economic growth in regional Australia) conference. This processes involved initially inviting parties to talk about the current situation, followed on by identifying issues relevant to the represented parties. From the issues a vision is created with action planning used to progress the vision.

It was then discussed that the principles raised by Helen Clark and Rick Kowitz in their paper presented at this conference was a valuable and sensible approach, with “attitude” being singled out as very important. This led on to a discussion of examples where linkages between people from similar projects were being developed at a regional level. The regular meetings (rotating locations, held three times a year) provided a flexible means for people to attend (and this comes back to people attitude) and develop relationships based on a common range of issues. This process was effective in building partnerships and understanding between a range of projects and people.

When a relationship exists between two different entities (ie people from one organisation but different teams etc, or two different organisation/associations) the issue of one person leaving was raised as a problem as often the partnership is lost. A few examples were raised. This brought into the discussion several points:

The importance of networks so that if someone leaves the relationship, other relevant people are known and can be brought into the relationship.

Where $$$, timelines etc are at stake then a formal agreement between management may be required that clearly spells out roles and responsibilities.

One interesting point from this discussion was the need to the process of information gathering being more important than the actual knowledge that is held as information is being constantly renewed, through a process. It is the process of information gathering that should be valued more than the knowledge held.

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

Summarised from the discussion, the following are key points (not hard to implement in everyday life) identified as being important to developing partnerships:

  • Defining the roles of individuals within the partnership
  • Getting agreement on the roles and responsibilities of all involved in the partnership based on interest and skills in a way that allows ownership of the process.
  • Clearly defining issues such as who pays for what.
  • Transparency of agendas, abilities (ie what information parties are able to disclose and what they can not), cultures and the rules of the partnership.

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