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Features of effective partnership working across agencies and ways to overcome barriers


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2023 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to describe the features of effective partnership working that help to minimise barriers and lead to successful collaboration.


First and foremost, for integrated care to work, all stakeholders must share common goals. – very often, this will be to achieve the best possible outcomes for the service user. They must also share similar values.

Strong communication skills are essential and this will sometimes mean being able to negotiate, compromise and resolve conflicts. It is important to actively listen to, respect and value the views of other stakeholders to promote the sharing of ideas, knowledge and expertise.


Partnerships should be formalised with a documented memorandum of understanding, which describes what each party will give and receive to/from the alliance, as well as protocols for communication and sharing information. As an example, the Care Quality Commission provide information about its own joint working agreements.

It is useful to understand some of the barriers to partnership-working so that you can prevent or overcome them. Professor Sir Chris Ham highlighted a few of these potential barriers in an article published by the King’s Fund.


In addition, lack of clarity relating to roles, responsibilities and accountabilities can cause partnership working to fail. Therefore, it is important that all parties are clear about what is expected from themselves and others. Breakdowns in communication and stakeholder’s not valuing each other’s opinions may also lead to failures as can a lack of trust or respect between professionals.

Technical barriers include the incompatibility of different IT systems and databases and can lead to information not being shared quickly enough (or at all). There may also be a reluctance from some agencies to share their knowledge. Therefore, it is crucial to have communication and information-sharing agreements and protocols established from the outset.



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